• Joanna M. Rankin

      Articles written in Journal of Astrophysics and Astronomy

    • Polarization-mode separation and the emission geometry of pulsar 0823 + 26: A new pattern of pulsar emission?

      Joanna M. Rankin N. Rathnasree

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      We explore the detailed polarization behaviour of pulsar 0823 + 26 using the technique of constructing partial ‘mode-separated’ profiles corresponding to the primary and secondary polarization modes. The characteristics of the two polarization modes in this pulsar are particularly interesting, both because they are anything but orthogonal and because the secondary mode exhibits a structure seen neither in the primary mode nor in the total profile. The new leading and trailing features in the secondary mode, which appear to represent a conal component pair, are interpreted geometrically on the basis of their width and the associated polarization-angle traverse as an outer cone.

      If the secondary-mode features are, indeed, an outer cone, then questions about the significance of the pulsar’s postcursor component become more pressing. It seems that 0823 + 26 has a very nearly equatorial geometry, in that both magnetic poles and the sightline all fall close to the rotational equator of the star. We thus associate the postcursor component with emission along those bundles of field lines which are also equatorial and which continue to have a tangent in the direction of our sight line for a significant portion of the star’s rotation cycle. It seems that in all pulsars with postcursor components, this emission follows the core component, and all may thus have equatorial emission geometries. No pulsars with precursors in this sense — including the Crab pulsar — are known.

      The distribution of power between the primary and secondary modes is very similar at both 430 and 1400 MHz. Our analysis shows that in this pulsar considerable depolarization must be occurring on time scales that are short compared to the time resolution of our observations, which is here some 0.5–1.0 milliseconds. One of the most interesting features of the modeseparated partial profiles is a phase offset between the primary and secondary modes. The secondary-mode ‘main pulse’ arrives some 1.5 ± 0.1‡ before the primary-mode one at 430 MHz and some 1.3 +0.1 ‡ at 21 cm. Given that the polar cap has an angular diameter of 3.36‡, we consider whether this is a geometric effect or an effect of differential propagation of the two modes in the inner magnetosphere of the pulsar.

    • On the polarisation and emission geometry of pulsar 1929+10: Does its emission come from a single pole or two poles?

      Joanna M. Rankin N. Rathnasree

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      Pulsar B1929+10 is remarkable on a number of grounds. Its narrow primary components exhibit virtually complete and highly stable linear polarisation, which can be detected over most of its rotation cycle. Various workers have been lured by the unprecedented range over which its linear polarisation angle can be determined, and more attempts have been made to model its emission geometry than perhaps for any other pulsar. Paradoxically, there is compelling evidence to interpret the pulsar’s emission geometryboth in terms of an aligned configuration whereby its observed radiation comes from a single magnetic-polar emission regionand in terms of a nearly orthogonal configuration in which we receive emission from regions near each of its two poles. Pulsar 1929+10 thus provides a fascinating context in which to probe the conflict between these lines of interpretation in an effort to deepen our understanding of pulsar radio emission.

      Least-squares fits to the polarisation-angle traverse fit poorly near the main pulse and interpulse and have an inflection point far from the centre of the main pulse. This and a number of other circumstances suggest that the position-angle traverse is an unreliable indicator of the geometry in this pulsar, possibly in part because its low level ‘pedestal’ emission makes it impossible to properly calibrate a Polarimeter which correlates orthogonal circular polarisations.

      Taking the interpulse and main-pulse comp. II widths as indicators of the magnetic latitude, it appears that pulsar 1929+10 has anα value near 90‡ and thus has a two-pole interpulse geometry. This line of interpretation leads to interesting and consistent results regarding the geometry of the conal components. Features corresponding to both an inner and outer cone are identified. In addition, it appears that pulsar 1929+10–and a few other stars–have what we are forced to identify as a ‘furtherin’ cone, with a conal emission radius of about2.3‡/P1/2

      Secondarily, 1929+10’s nearly complete linear polarisation provides an ideal opportunity to study how mechanisms of depolarisation function on a pulse-to-pulse basis. Secondary-polarisation-mode emission appears in significant proportion only in some limited ranges of longitude, and the subsequent depolarization is studied using different mode-separation techniques. The characteristics of the two polarisation modes are particularly interesting, both because the primary mode usually dominates the secondary so completely and because the structure seen in the secondary mode appears to bear importantly on the question of the pulsar’s basic emission geometry. New secondary-mode features are detected in the average profile of this pulsar which appear independent of the main-pulse component structure and which apparently constitute displaced modal emission.

      Individual pulses during which the secondary-mode dominates the primary one are found to be considerably more intense than the others and largely depolarised. Monte-Carlo modeling of the mode mixing in this region, near the boundary of comps. II and III, indicates that the incoherent interference of two fully and orthogonally polarised modes can adequately account for the observed depolarisation. The amplitude distributions of the two polarisation modes are both quite steady: the primary polarisation mode is well fitted by a χ2 distribution with about nine degrees of freedom; whereas the secondary mode requires a more intense distribution which is constant, but sporadic.

    • Individual and integrated pulse properties of PSR B0943+10 involved in the mode-changing phenomenon

      Svetlana A. Suleymanova Vera A. Izvekova Joanna M. Rankin N. Rathnasree

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      The characteristics of the “burst” (B) mode and “quiescent” (Q) mode pulse sequences–long known from studies at or below 103 MHz–are identified at 430 MHz for the first time. An 18-minute, Polarimetrie observation begins with a long Bmode sequence, which has a higher average intensity, regular drifting subpulses, and a preponderance of primary polarisationmode radiation. An abrupt transition to a Q-mode sequence is then marked by a) weaker average intensity, but occasional very bright individual subpulses, b) a complete cessation of drifting subpulses, with disorganized subpulses now being emitted over a much wider longitude interval, and c) near parity between the primary and secondary polarisation modes, resulting in pronounced depolarisation, both of individual pulses and the average profile.

      Careful study, however, of profile changes before and after this mode change reveals slower variations which both anticipate the abrupt transition and respond to it. A slow attenuation of the intensity level of the dominant component is observed throughout the duration of the B-mode sequence, which then accelerates with the onset of the Q-mode sequence. This slow variation appears to represent a “preswitching transition” process; and the combination of effects on slow and abrupt time scales are finally responsible for the formation of the characteristic B and Q-mode average profiles.

    • Nulling, Mode-Changing and Drifting Subpulses in the Highly Asymmetric Conal Quadruple Radio Pulsar B2034+19

      Joanna M. Rankin

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      Radio pulsar B2034+19 exhibits all three ‘canonical’ pulse-sequence phenomena—that is, pulse nulling, two distinct profile modes and subpulses with periodic modulation. Indeed, the bursts and nulls in the pulsar are short at several score pulses and quasi-periodic such that about 1/3 of the pulses are nulls. The pulsar’s two modes have very different characteristics, the first shows emission almost completely confined to the leading half of the profile and highly modulated in a 2-period odd–even manner; whereas the second mode illuminates both the leading and trailing parts of the star’s profile about equally with the appearance of drift bands at about a 3-period separation. The second mode occurs much less frequently than the first (about 15% of the time) and thus the leading part of the profile has a much larger average intensity than the trailing part. B2034+19 represents an interesting example of a pulsar with emission primarily in the leading part of its profile window with only occasional illumination in the trailing part. This suggests that there are pulsars that perhaps never emit in a part of their profile window, connecting with earlier work on pulsars with apparent ‘partial cone’ profiles.

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      Posted on January 27, 2016

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