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  1. Context. The PSR J2222−0137 binary system has a set of features that make it a unique laboratory for tests of gravity theories. Aims. To fully exploit the system’s potential for these tests, we aim to improve the measurements of its physical parameters, spin and orbital orientation, and post-Keplerian parameters, which quantify the observed relativistic effects. Methods. We describe an improved analysis of archival very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) data, which uses a coordinate convention in full agreement with that used in timing. We have also obtained much improved polarimetry of the pulsar with the Five hundred meter Aperture Spherical Telescopemore »(FAST). We provide an improved analysis of significantly extended timing datasets taken with the Effelsberg, Nançay, and Lovell radio telescopes; this also includes previous timing data from the Green Bank Telescope. Results. From the VLBI analysis, we have obtained a new estimate of the position angle of the ascending node, Ω = 189 −18 +19 deg (all uncertainties are 68% confidence limits), and a new reference position for the pulsar with an improved and more conservative uncertainty estimate. The FAST polarimetric results, and in particular the detection of an interpulse, yield much improved estimates for the spin geometry of the pulsar, in particular an inclination of the spin axis of the pulsar of ∼84 deg. From the timing, we obtain a new ∼1% test of general relativity (GR) from the agreement of the Shapiro delay parameters and the rate of advance of periastron. Assuming GR in a self-consistent analysis of all effects, we obtain much improved masses: 1.831(10)  M ⊙ for the pulsar and 1.319(4)  M ⊙ for the white dwarf companion; the total mass, 3.150(14)  M ⊙ , confirms this as the most massive double degenerate binary known in the Galaxy. This analysis also yields the orbital orientation; in particular, the orbital inclination is 85.27(4) deg – indicating a close alignment between the spin of the pulsar and the orbital angular momentum – and Ω = 187.7(5.7) deg, which matches our new VLBI estimate. Finally, the timing also yields a precise measurement of the variation in the orbital period, Ṗ b = 0.251(8) × 10 −12 ss −1 ; this is consistent with the expected variation in the Doppler factor plus the orbital decay caused by the emission of gravitational waves predicted by GR. This agreement introduces stringent constraints on the emission of dipolar gravitational waves.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2022
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  3. Abstract We present new discoveries and results from long-term timing of 72 pulsars discovered in the Pulsar Arecibo L -band Feed Array (PALFA) survey, including precise determination of astrometric and spin parameters, and flux density and scatter broadening measurements at 1.4 GHz. Notable discoveries include two young pulsars (characteristic ages ∼30 kyr) with no apparent supernova remnant associations, three mode-changing, 12 nulling and two intermittent pulsars. We detected eight glitches in five pulsars. Among them is PSR J1939+2609, an apparently old pulsar (characteristic age ∼1 Gy), and PSR J1954+2529, which likely belongs to a newly emerging class of binary pulsars.more »The latter is the only pulsar among the 72 that is clearly not isolated: a nonrecycled neutron star with a 931 ms spin period in an eccentric ( e = 0.114) wide ( P b = 82.7 days) orbit with a companion of undetermined nature having a minimum mass of ∼0.6 M ⊙ . Since operations at Arecibo ceased in 2020 August, we give a final tally of PALFA sky coverage, and compare its 207 pulsar discoveries to the known population. On average, they are 50% more distant than other Galactic plane radio pulsars; PALFA millisecond pulsars (MSPs) have twice the dispersion measure per unit spin period than the known population of MSP in the plane. The four intermittent pulsars discovered by PALFA more than double the population of such objects, which should help to improve our understanding of pulsar magnetosphere physics. The statistics for these, rotating radio transients, and nulling pulsars suggest that there are many more of these objects in the Galaxy than was previously thought.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
  4. ABSTRACT We searched for an isotropic stochastic gravitational wave background in the second data release of the International Pulsar Timing Array, a global collaboration synthesizing decadal-length pulsar-timing campaigns in North America, Europe, and Australia. In our reference search for a power-law strain spectrum of the form $h_c = A(f/1\, \mathrm{yr}^{-1})^{\alpha }$, we found strong evidence for a spectrally similar low-frequency stochastic process of amplitude $A = 3.8^{+6.3}_{-2.5}\times 10^{-15}$ and spectral index α = −0.5 ± 0.5, where the uncertainties represent 95 per cent credible regions, using information from the auto- and cross-correlation terms between the pulsars in the array. For a spectral index of α =more »−2/3, as expected from a population of inspiralling supermassive black hole binaries, the recovered amplitude is $A = 2.8^{+1.2}_{-0.8}\times 10^{-15}$. None the less, no significant evidence of the Hellings–Downs correlations that would indicate a gravitational-wave origin was found. We also analysed the constituent data from the individual pulsar timing arrays in a consistent way, and clearly demonstrate that the combined international data set is more sensitive. Furthermore, we demonstrate that this combined data set produces comparable constraints to recent single-array data sets which have more data than the constituent parts of the combination. Future international data releases will deliver increased sensitivity to gravitational wave radiation, and significantly increase the detection probability.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 19, 2023
  5. Abstract Isolated neutron stars that are asymmetric with respect to their spin axis are possible sources of detectable continuous gravitational waves. This paper presents a fully coherent search for such signals from eighteen pulsars in data from LIGO and Virgo’s third observing run (O3). For known pulsars, efficient and sensitive matched-filter searches can be carried out if one assumes the gravitational radiation is phase-locked to the electromagnetic emission. In the search presented here, we relax this assumption and allow both the frequency and the time derivative of the frequency of the gravitational waves to vary in a small range aroundmore »those inferred from electromagnetic observations. We find no evidence for continuous gravitational waves, and set upper limits on the strain amplitude for each target. These limits are more constraining for seven of the targets than the spin-down limit defined by ascribing all rotational energy loss to gravitational radiation. In an additional search, we look in O3 data for long-duration (hours–months) transient gravitational waves in the aftermath of pulsar glitches for six targets with a total of nine glitches. We report two marginal outliers from this search, but find no clear evidence for such emission either. The resulting duration-dependent strain upper limits do not surpass indirect energy constraints for any of these targets.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  6. Abstract We present a targeted search for continuous gravitational waves (GWs) from 236 pulsars using data from the third observing run of LIGO and Virgo (O3) combined with data from the second observing run (O2). Searches were for emission from the l = m = 2 mass quadrupole mode with a frequency at only twice the pulsar rotation frequency (single harmonic) and the l = 2, m = 1, 2 modes with a frequency of both once and twice the rotation frequency (dual harmonic). No evidence of GWs was found, so we present 95% credible upper limits on the strainmore »amplitudes h 0 for the single-harmonic search along with limits on the pulsars’ mass quadrupole moments Q 22 and ellipticities ε . Of the pulsars studied, 23 have strain amplitudes that are lower than the limits calculated from their electromagnetically measured spin-down rates. These pulsars include the millisecond pulsars J0437−4715 and J0711−6830, which have spin-down ratios of 0.87 and 0.57, respectively. For nine pulsars, their spin-down limits have been surpassed for the first time. For the Crab and Vela pulsars, our limits are factors of ∼100 and ∼20 more constraining than their spin-down limits, respectively. For the dual-harmonic searches, new limits are placed on the strain amplitudes C 21 and C 22 . For 23 pulsars, we also present limits on the emission amplitude assuming dipole radiation as predicted by Brans-Dicke theory.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 25, 2023
  7. ABSTRACT

    In this paper, we describe the International Pulsar Timing Array second data release, which includes recent pulsar timing data obtained by three regional consortia: the European Pulsar Timing Array, the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves, and the Parkes Pulsar Timing Array. We analyse and where possible combine high-precision timing data for 65 millisecond pulsars which are regularly observed by these groups. A basic noise analysis, including the processes which are both correlated and uncorrelated in time, provides noise models and timing ephemerides for the pulsars. We find that the timing precisions of pulsars are generally improved comparedmore »to the previous data release, mainly due to the addition of new data in the combination. The main purpose of this work is to create the most up-to-date IPTA data release. These data are publicly available for searches for low-frequency gravitational waves and other pulsar science.

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