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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 2, 2022
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  3. Abstract We have used X-ray data from the Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) to search for long-timescale temporal correlations (“red noise”) in the pulse times of arrival (TOAs) from the millisecond pulsars PSR J1824−2452A and PSR B1937+21. These data more closely track intrinsic noise because X-rays are unaffected by the radio-frequency-dependent propagation effects of the interstellar medium. Our search yields strong evidence (natural log Bayes factor of 9.634 ± 0.016) for red noise in PSR J1824−2452A, but the search is inconclusive for PSR B1937+21. In the interest of future X-ray missions, we devise and implement a method to simulatemore »longer and higher-precision X-ray data sets to determine the timing baseline necessary to detect red noise. We find that the red noise in PSR B1937+21 can be reliably detected in a 5 yr mission with a TOA error of 2 μ s and an observing cadence of 20 observations per month compared to the 5 μ s TOA error and 11 observations per month that NICER currently achieves in PSR B1937+21. We investigate detecting red noise in PSR B1937+21 with other combinations of observing cadences and TOA errors. We also find that time-correlated red noise commensurate with an injected stochastic gravitational-wave background having an amplitude of A GWB = 2 × 10 −15 and spectral index of timing residuals of γ GWB = 13/3 can be detected in a pulsar with similar TOA precision to PSR B1937+21. This is with no additional red noise in a 10 yr mission that observes the pulsar 15 times per month and has an average TOA error of 1 μ s.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023
  4. Abstract Magnetars, isolated neutron stars with magnetic-field strengths typically ≳10 14 G, exhibit distinctive months-long outburst epochs during which strong evolution of soft X-ray pulse profiles, along with nonthermal magnetospheric emission components, is often observed. Using near-daily NICER observations of the magnetar SGR 1830-0645 during the first 37 days of a recent outburst decay, a pulse peak migration in phase is clearly observed, transforming the pulse shape from an initially triple-peaked to a single-peaked profile. Such peak merging has not been seen before for a magnetar. Our high-resolution phase-resolved spectroscopic analysis reveals no significant evolution of temperature despite the complexmore »initial pulse shape, yet the inferred surface hot spots shrink during peak migration and outburst decay. We suggest two possible origins for this evolution. For internal heating of the surface, tectonic motion of the crust may be its underlying cause. The inferred speed of this crustal motion is ≲100 m day −1 , constraining the density of the driving region to ρ ∼ 10 10 g cm −3 , at a depth of ∼200 m. Alternatively, the hot spots could be heated by particle bombardment from a twisted magnetosphere possessing flux tubes or ropes, somewhat resembling solar coronal loops, that untwist and dissipate on the 30–40 day timescale. The peak migration may then be due to a combination of field-line footpoint motion (necessarily driven by crustal motion) and evolving surface radiation beaming. This novel data set paints a vivid picture of the dynamics associated with magnetar outbursts, yet it also highlights the need for a more generic theoretical picture where magnetosphere and crust are considered in tandem.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
  5. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
  6. Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 20, 2022
  7. Abstract Using Bayesian analyses we study the solar electron density with the NANOGrav 11 yr pulsar timing array (PTA) data set. Our model of the solar wind is incorporated into a global fit starting from pulse times of arrival. We introduce new tools developed for this global fit, including analytic expressions for solar electron column densities and open source models for the solar wind that port into existing PTA software. We perform an ab initio recovery of various solar wind model parameters. We then demonstrate the richness of information about the solar electron density, n E , that can bemore »gleaned from PTA data, including higher order corrections to the simple 1/ r 2 model associated with a free-streaming wind (which are informative probes of coronal acceleration physics), quarterly binned measurements of n E and a continuous time-varying model for n E spanning approximately one solar cycle period. Finally, we discuss the importance of our model for chromatic noise mitigation in gravitational-wave analyses of pulsar timing data and the potential of developing synergies between sophisticated PTA solar electron density models and those developed by the solar physics community.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  8. Abstract We report on NICER X-ray monitoring of the magnetar SGR 1830−0645 covering 223 days following its 2020 October outburst, as well as Chandra and radio observations. We present the most accurate spin ephemerides of the source so far: ν = 0.096008680(2) Hz, ν ̇ = − 6.2 ( 1 ) × 10 − 14 Hz s −1 , and significant second and third frequency derivative terms indicative of nonnegligible timing noise. The phase-averaged 0.8–7 keV spectrum is well fit with a double-blackbody (BB) model throughout the campaign. The BB temperatures remain constant at 0.46 and 1.2 keV. The areasmore »and flux of each component decreased by a factor of 6, initially through a steep decay trend lasting about 46 days, followed by a shallow long-term one. The pulse shape in the same energy range is initially complex, exhibiting three distinct peaks, yet with clear continuous evolution throughout the outburst toward a simpler, single-pulse shape. The rms pulsed fraction is high and increases from about 40% to 50%. We find no dependence of pulse shape or fraction on energy. These results suggest that multiple hot spots, possibly possessing temperature gradients, emerged at outburst onset and shrank as the outburst decayed. We detect 84 faint bursts with NICER, having a strong preference for occurring close to the surface emission pulse maximum—the first time this phenomenon is detected in such a large burst sample. This likely implies a very low altitude for the burst emission region and a triggering mechanism connected to the surface active zone. Finally, our radio observations at several epochs and multiple frequencies reveal no evidence of pulsed or burst-like radio emission.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
  9. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 5, 2022