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  1. Abstract

    We use the upgraded Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (uGMRT) to measure scintillation arc properties in six bright canonical pulsars with simultaneous dual-frequency coverage. These observations, at frequencies from 300 to 750 MHz, allowed for detailed analysis of arc evolution across frequency and epoch. We perform more robust determinations of frequency dependence for arc curvature, scintillation bandwidth, and scintillation timescale, and comparison between arc curvature and pseudo-curvature than allowed by single-frequency-band-per-epoch measurements, which we find to agree with theory and previous literature. We find a strong correlation between arc asymmetry and arc curvature, which we have replicated using simulations, and attribute to a bias in the Hough transform approach to scintillation arc analysis. Possible evidence for an approximately week-long timescale over which a given scattering screen dominates signal propagation was found by tracking visible scintillation arcs in each epoch in PSR J1136+1551. The inclusion of a 155-minute observation allowed us to resolve the scale of scintillation variations on short timescales, which we find to be directly tied to the amount of interstellar medium sampled over the observation. Some of our pulsars showed either consistent or emerging asymmetries in arc curvature, indicating instances of refraction across their lines of sight. Significant features in various pulsars, such as multiple scintillation arcs in PSR J1136+1551 and flat arclets in PSR J1509+5531, that have been found in previous works, were also detected. The simultaneous multiple-band observing capability of the upgraded GMRT shows excellent promise for future pulsar scintillation work.

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  2. Abstract

    Although neutron star–black hole binaries have been identified through mergers detected in gravitational waves, a pulsar–black hole binary has yet to be detected. While short-period binaries are detectable due to a clear signal in the pulsar’s timing residuals, effects from a long-period binary could be masked by other timing effects, allowing them to go undetected. In particular, a long-period binary measured over a small subset of its orbital period could manifest via time derivatives of the spin frequency incompatible with isolated pulsar properties. We assess the possibility of pulsars having unknown companions in long-period binaries and put constraints on the range of binary properties that may remain undetected in current data, but that may be detectable with further observations. We find that for 35% of canonical pulsars with published higher-order derivatives, the precision of measurements is not enough to confidently reject binarity (period ≳2 kyr), and that a black hole binary companion could not be ruled out for a sample of pulsars without published constraints if the period is >1 kyr. While we find no convincing cases in the literature, we put more stringent limits on orbital period and longitude of periastron for the few pulsars with published higher-order frequency derivatives (n≥ 3). We discuss the detectability of candidates and find that a sample pulsar in a 100 yr orbit could be detectable within 5–10 yr.

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  3. Abstract

    We present the discovery and timing solutions of four millisecond pulsars (MSPs) discovered in the Arecibo 327 MHz Drift-Scan Pulsar Survey. Three of these pulsars are in binary systems, consisting of a redback (PSR J2055+1545), a black widow (PSR J1630+3550), and a neutron star–white dwarf binary (PSR J2116+1345). The fourth MSP, PSR J2212+2450, is isolated. We present the multiyear timing solutions as well as polarization properties across a range of radio frequencies for each pulsar. We perform a multiwavelength search for emission from these systems and find an optical counterpart for PSR J2055+1545 in Gaia DR3, as well as a gamma-ray counterpart for PSR J2116+1345 with the Fermi-LAT telescope. Despite the close colocation of PSR J2055+1545 with a Fermi source, we are unable to detect gamma-ray pulsations, likely due to the large orbital variability of the system. This work presents the first two binaries found by this survey with orbital periods shorter than a day; we expect to find more in the 40% of the survey data that have yet to be searched.

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  4. Abstract

    We simulate scattering delays from the interstellar medium to examine the effectiveness of three estimators in recovering these delays in pulsar timing data. Two of these estimators use the more traditional process of fitting autocorrelation functions to pulsar dynamic spectra to extract scintillation bandwidths, while the third estimator uses the newer technique of cyclic spectroscopy on baseband pulsar data to recover the interstellar medium’s impulse response function. We find that either fitting a Lorentzian or Gaussian distribution to an autocorrelation function or recovering the impulse response function from the cyclic spectrum are, on average, accurate in recovering scattering delays, although autocorrelation function estimators have a large variance, even at high signal-to-noise ratio (S/N). We find that, given sufficient S/N, cyclic spectroscopy is more accurate than both Gaussian and Lorentzian fitting for recovering scattering delays at specific epochs, suggesting that cyclic spectroscopy is a superior method for scattering estimation in high-quality data.

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  5. Abstract

    Context.By providing information about the location of scattering material along the line of sight (LoS) to pulsars, scintillation arcs are a powerful tool for exploring the distribution of ionized material in the interstellar medium (ISM). Here, we present observations that probe the ionized ISM on scales of ∼0.001–30 au.Aims.We have surveyed pulsars for scintillation arcs in a relatively unbiased sample with DM < 100 pc cm−3. We present multifrequency observations of 22 low to moderate DM pulsars. Many of the 54 observations were also observed at another frequency within a few days.Methods.For all observations, we present dynamic spectra, autocorrelation functions, and secondary spectra. We analyze these data products to obtain scintillation bandwidths, pulse broadening times, and arc curvatures.Results.We detect definite or probable scintillation arcs in 19 of the 22 pulsars and 34 of the 54 observations, showing that scintillation arcs are a prevalent phenomenon. The arcs are better defined in low DM pulsars. We show that well-defined arcs do not directly imply anisotropy of scattering. Only the presence of reverse arclets and a deep valley along the delay axis, which occurs in about 20% of the pulsars in the sample, indicates substantial anisotropy of scattering.Conclusions.The survey demonstrates substantial patchiness of the ionized ISM on both astronomical-unit-size scales transverse to the LoS and on ∼100 pc scales along it. We see little evidence for distributed scattering along most lines of sight in the survey.

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  6. Abstract

    The millisecond pulsar J1713+0747 underwent a sudden and significant pulse shape change between 2021 April 16 and 17 (MJDs 59320 and 59321). Subsequently, the pulse shape gradually recovered over the course of several months. We report the results of continued multifrequency radio observations of the pulsar made using the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment and the 100 m Green Bank Telescope in a 3 yr period encompassing the shape change event, between 2020 February and 2023 February. As of 2023 February, the pulse shape had returned to a state similar to that seen before the event, but with measurable changes remaining. The amplitude of the shape change and the accompanying time-of-arrival residuals display a strong nonmonotonic dependence on radio frequency, demonstrating that the event is neither a glitch (the effects of which should be independent of radio frequency,ν) nor a change in dispersion measure alone (which would produce a delay proportional toν−2). However, it does bear some resemblance to the two previous “chromatic timing events” observed in J1713+0747, as well as to a similar event observed in PSR J1643−1224 in 2015.

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  7. Abstract

    With strong evidence of a common-spectrum stochastic process in the most recent data sets from the NANOGrav Collaboration, the European Pulsar Timing Array (PTA), Parkes PTA, and the International PTA, it is crucial to assess the effects of the several astrophysical and cosmological sources that could contribute to the stochastic gravitational wave background (GWB). Using the same data set creation and injection techniques as in Pol et al., we assess the separability of multiple GWBs by creating single and multiple GWB source data sets. We search for these injected sources using Bayesian PTA analysis techniques to assess recovery and separability of multiple astrophysical and cosmological backgrounds. For a GWB due to supermassive black hole binaries and an underlying weaker background due to primordial gravitational waves with a GW energy-density ratio of ΩPGWSMBHB= 0.5, the Bayes’ factor for a second process exceeds unity at 17 yr, and increases with additional data. At 20 yr of data, we are able to constrain the spectral index and amplitude of the weaker GWB at this density ratio to a fractional uncertainty of 64% and 110%, respectively, using current PTA methods and techniques. Using these methods and findings, we outline a basic protocol to search for multiple backgrounds in future PTA data sets.

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  8. Abstract We present an analysis of a densely repeating sample of bursts from the first repeating fast radio burst, FRB 121102. We reanalyzed the data used by Gourdji et al. and detected 93 additional bursts using our single-pulse search pipeline. In total, we detected 133 bursts in three hours of data at a center frequency of 1.4 GHz using the Arecibo telescope, and develop robust modeling strategies to constrain the spectro-temporal properties of all of the bursts in the sample. Most of the burst profiles show a scattering tail, and burst spectra are well modeled by a Gaussian with a median width of 230 MHz. We find a lack of emission below 1300 MHz, consistent with previous studies of FRB 121102. We also find that the peak of the log-normal distribution of wait times decreases from 207 to 75 s using our larger sample of bursts, as compared to that of Gourdji et al. Our observations do not favor either Poissonian or Weibull distributions for the burst rate distribution. We searched for periodicity in the bursts using multiple techniques, but did not detect any significant period. The cumulative burst energy distribution exhibits a broken power-law shape, with the lower- and higher-energy slopes of −0.4 ± 0.1 and −1.8 ± 0.2, with the break at (2.3 ± 0.2) × 10 37 erg. We provide our burst fitting routines as a Python package burstfit 4 4 that can be used to model the spectrogram of any complex fast radio burst or pulsar pulse using robust fitting techniques. All of the other analysis scripts and results are publicly available. 5 5 
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  9. Abstract Using neural networks, we integrate the ability to account for Doppler smearing due to a pulsar’s orbital motion with the pulsar population synthesis package psrpoppy to develop accurate modeling of the observed binary pulsar population. As a first application, we show that binary neutron star systems where the two components have highly unequal mass are, on average, easier to detect than systems that are symmetric in mass. We then investigate the population of ultracompact (1.5 minutes ≤ P b ≤ 15 minutes) neutron star–white dwarf (NS–WD) and double neutron star (DNS) systems, which are promising sources for the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna gravitational-wave detector. Given the nondetection of these systems in radio surveys thus far, we estimate a 95% confidence upper limit of ∼1450 and ∼1100 ultracompact NS–WD and DNS systems in the Milky Way that are beaming toward the Earth, respectively. We also show that using survey integration times in the range 20 s–200 s with time-domain resampling will maximize the signal-to-noise ratio as well as the probability of detection of these ultracompact binary systems. Among all the large-scale radio pulsar surveys, those that are currently being carried out using archival data collected with the Arecibo radio telescope have a ∼50%–80% chance of detecting at least one of these systems using current integration integration times and ∼80%–95% using optimal integration times in the next several years. 
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