skip to main content

Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "Theureau, G."

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.


    With unparalleled rotational stability, millisecond pulsars (MSPs) serve as ideal laboratories for numerous astrophysical studies, many of which require precise knowledge of the distance and/or velocity of the MSP. Here, we present the astrometric results for 18 MSPs of the ‘MSPSR$\pi$’ project focusing exclusively on astrometry of MSPs, which includes the re-analysis of three previously published sources. On top of a standardized data reduction protocol, more complex strategies (i.e. normal and inverse-referenced 1D interpolation) were employed where possible to further improve astrometric precision. We derived astrometric parameters using sterne, a new Bayesian astrometry inference package that allows the incorporation of prior information based on pulsar timing where applicable. We measured significant (${>}3\, \sigma$) parallax-based distances for 15 MSPs, including 0.81 ± 0.02 kpc for PSR J1518+4904 – the most significant model-independent distance ever measured for a double neutron star system. For each MSP with a well-constrained distance, we estimated its transverse space velocity and radial acceleration. Among the estimated radial accelerations, the updated ones of PSR J1012+5307 and PSR J1738+0333 impose new constraints on dipole gravitational radiation and the time derivative of Newton’s gravitational constant. Additionally, significant angular broadening was detected for PSR J1643−1224, which offers an independent check of the postulated association between the HII region Sh 2-27 and the main scattering screen of PSR J1643−1224. Finally, the upper limit of the death line of γ-ray-emitting pulsars is refined with the new radial acceleration of the hitherto least energetic γ-ray pulsar PSR J1730−2304.

    more » « less

    We present the first 2.5 yr of data from the MeerKAT Pulsar Timing Array (MPTA), part of MeerTime, a MeerKAT Large Survey Project. The MPTA aims to precisely measure pulse arrival times from an ensemble of 88 pulsars visible from the Southern hemisphere, with the goal of contributing to the search, detection, and study of nanohertz-frequency gravitational waves as part of the International Pulsar Timing Array. This project makes use of the MeerKAT telescope and operates with a typical observing cadence of 2 weeks using the L-band receiver that records data from 856 to 1712 MHz. We provide a comprehensive description of the observing system, software, and pipelines used and developed for the MeerTime project. The data products made available as part of this data release are from the 78 pulsars that had at least 30 observations between the start of the MeerTime programme in February 2019 and October 2021. These include both sub-banded and band-averaged arrival times and the initial timing ephemerides, noise models, and the frequency-dependent standard templates (portraits) used to derive pulse arrival times. After accounting for detected noise processes in the data, the frequency-averaged residuals of 67 of the pulsars achieved a root-mean-square residual precision of $\lt 1 \, \mu \rm {s}$. We also present a novel recovery of the clock correction waveform solely from pulsar timing residuals and an exploration into preliminary findings of interest to the international pulsar timing community. The arrival times, standards, and full Stokes parameter-calibrated pulsar timing archives are publicly available.

    more » « less
  3. Abstract Reliable neutron star mass measurements are key to determining the equation of state of cold nuclear matter, but such measurements are rare. Black widows and redbacks are compact binaries consisting of millisecond pulsars and semi-degenerate companion stars. Spectroscopy of the optically bright companions can determine their radial velocities, providing inclination-dependent pulsar mass estimates. Although inclinations can be inferred from subtle features in optical light curves, such estimates may be systematically biased due to incomplete heating models and poorly understood variability. Using data from the Fermi Large Area Telescope, we have searched for gamma-ray eclipses from 49 spider systems, discovering significant eclipses in 7 systems, including the prototypical black widow PSR B1957+20. Gamma-ray eclipses require direct occultation of the pulsar by the companion, and so the detection, or significant exclusion, of a gamma-ray eclipse strictly limits the binary inclination angle, providing new robust, model-independent pulsar mass constraints. For PSR B1957+20, the eclipse implies a much lighter pulsar (1.81 ± 0.07 solar masses) than inferred from optical light curve modelling. 
    more » « less
  4. 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 Telescope (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. 
    more » « less

    The International Pulsar Timing Array 2nd data release is the combination of data sets from worldwide collaborations. In this study, we search for continuous waves: gravitational wave signals produced by individual supermassive black hole binaries in the local universe. We consider binaries on circular orbits and neglect the evolution of orbital frequency over the observational span. We find no evidence for such signals and set sky averaged 95 per cent upper limits on their amplitude h95. The most sensitive frequency is 10 nHz with h95 = 9.1 × 10−15. We achieved the best upper limit to date at low and high frequencies of the PTA band thanks to improved effective cadence of observations. In our analysis, we have taken into account the recently discovered common red noise process, which has an impact at low frequencies. We also find that the peculiar noise features present in some pulsars data must be taken into account to reduce the false alarm. We show that using custom noise models is essential in searching for continuous gravitational wave signals and setting the upper limit.

    more » « less

    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 = −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.

    more » « less
  7. null (Ed.)
  8. 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 around 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. 
    more » « less