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  1. 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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  2. Abstract

    Pulsar timing arrays (PTAs) are Galactic-scale gravitational wave (GW) detectors consisting of precisely timed pulsars distributed across the sky. Within the decade, PTAs are expected to detect nanohertz GWs emitted by close-separation supermassive black hole binaries (SMBHBs), thereby opening up the low-frequency end of the GW spectrum for science. Individual SMBHBs which power active galactic nuclei are also promising multi-messenger sources; they may be identified via theoretically predicted electromagnetic (EM) signatures and be followed up by PTAs for GW observations. In this work, we study the detection and parameter estimation prospects of a PTA which targets EM-selected SMBHBs. Adopting a simulated Galactic millisecond pulsar population, we envisage three different pulsar timing campaigns which observe three mock sources at different sky locations. We find that an all-sky PTA which times the best pulsars is an optimal and feasible approach to observe EM-selected SMBHBs and measure their source parameters to high precision (i.e., comparable to or better than conventional EM measurements). We discuss the implications of our findings in the context of future PTA experiments with the planned Deep Synoptic Array-2000 and the multi-messenger studies of SMBHBs such as the well-known binary candidate OJ 287.

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  3. Abstract

    Single-pulse studies are important to understand the pulsar emission mechanism and the noise floor in precision timing. We study total intensity and polarimetry properties of three bright millisecond pulsars – PSRs J1022+1001, J1713+0747, and B1855+09 – that have detectable single pulses at multiple frequencies. We report for the first time the detection of single pulses from PSRs J1022+1001 and J1713+0747 at 4.5 GHz. In addition, for those two pulsars, the fraction of linear polarization in the average profile is significantly reduced at 4.5 GHz, compared to 1.38 GHz, which could support the expected deviation from a dipolar field closer to the pulsar surface. There is a hint of orthogonal modes in the single pulses of PSR J1713+0747. More sensitive multifrequency observations may be useful to confirm these findings. The jitter noise contributions at 1.38 GHz, scaled to one hour, for PSRs J1022+1001, J1713+0747, and B1855+09 are ≈135, ≈45, and ≈60 ns, respectively and are consistent with previous studies. We also show that selective bright-pulse timing of PSR J1022+1001 yields improved root-mean-square residuals of ≈22 $\mu$s, which is a factor of ≈3 better than timing using single pulses alone.

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  4. Abstract

    The Fourier domain acceleration search (FDAS) is an effective technique for detecting faint binary pulsars in large radio astronomy data sets. This paper quantifies the sensitivity impact of reducing numerical precision in the graphics processing unit (GPU)-accelerated FDAS pipeline of the AstroAccelerate (AA) software package. The prior implementation used IEEE-754 single-precision in the entire binary pulsar detection pipeline, spending a large fraction of the runtime computing GPU-accelerated fast Fourier transforms. AA has been modified to use bfloat16 (and IEEE-754 double-precision to provide a “gold standard” comparison) within the Fourier domain convolution section of the FDAS routine. Approximately 20,000 synthetic pulsar filterbank files representing binary pulsars were generated using SIGPROC with a range of physical parameters. They have been processed using bfloat16, single-precision, and double-precision convolutions. All bfloat16 peaks are within 3% of the predicted signal-to-noise ratio of their corresponding single-precision peaks. Of 14,971 “bright” single-precision fundamental peaks above a power of 44.982 (our experimentally measured highest noise value), 14,602 (97.53%) have a peak in the same acceleration and frequency bin in the bfloat16 output plane, while in the remaining 369 the nearest peak is located in the adjacent acceleration bin. There is no bin drift measured between the single- and double-precision results. The bfloat16 version of FDAS achieves a speedup of approximately 1.6× compared to single-precision. A comparison between AA and the PRESTO software package is presented using observations collected with the GMRT of PSR J1544+4937, a 2.16 ms black widow pulsar in a 2.8 hr compact orbit.

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  5. Abstract

    We present timing solutions for 12 pulsars discovered in the Green Bank North Celestial Cap 350 MHz pulsar survey, including six millisecond pulsars (MSPs), a double neutron star (DNS) system, and a pulsar orbiting a massive white dwarf companion. Timing solutions presented here include 350 and 820 MHz Green Bank Telescope data from initial confirmation and follow-up, as well as a dedicated timing campaign spanning 1 ryr PSR J1122−3546 is an isolated MSP, PSRs J1221−0633 and J1317−0157 are MSPs in black widow systems and regularly exhibit eclipses, and PSRs J2022+2534 and J2039−3616 are MSPs that can be timed with high precision and have been included in pulsar timing array experiments seeking to detect low-frequency gravitational waves. PSRs J1221−0633 and J2039−3616 have Fermi Large Area Telescope gamma-ray counterparts and also exhibit significant gamma-ray pulsations. We measure proper motions for three of the MSPs in this sample and estimate their space velocities, which are typical compared to those of other MSPs. We have detected the advance of periastron for PSR J1018−1523 and therefore measure the total mass of the DNS system,mtot= 2.3 ± 0.3M. Long-term pulsar timing with data spanning more than 1 yr is critical for classifying recycled pulsars, carrying out detailed astrometry studies, and shedding light on the wealth of information in these systems post-discovery.

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    Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are millisecond-time-scale radio transients, the origins of which are predominantly extragalactic and likely involve highly magnetized compact objects. FRBs undergo multipath propagation, or scattering, from electron density fluctuations on sub-parsec scales in ionized gas along the line of sight. Scattering observations have located plasma structures within FRB host galaxies, probed Galactic and extragalactic turbulence, and constrained FRB redshifts. Scattering also inhibits FRB detection and biases the observed FRB population. We report the detection of scattering times from the repeating FRB 20190520B that vary by up to a factor of 2 or more on minutes to days-long time-scales. In one notable case, the scattering time varied from 7.9 ± 0.4 ms to less than 3.1 ms ($95{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ confidence) over 2.9 min at 1.45 GHz. The scattering times appear to be uncorrelated between bursts or with dispersion and rotation measure variations. Scattering variations are attributable to dynamic, inhomogeneous plasma in the circumsource medium, and analogous variations have been observed from the Crab pulsar. Under such circumstances, the frequency dependence of scattering can deviate from the typical power law used to measure scattering. Similar variations may therefore be detectable from other FRBs, even those with inconspicuous scattering, providing a unique probe of small-scale processes within FRB environments.

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    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.

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  8. 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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    We present a study of optically selected dual Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) with projected separations of 3–97 kpc. Using multiwavelength (MWL) information (optical, X-ray, mid-IR), we characterized the intrinsic nuclear properties of this sample and compared them with those of isolated systems. Among the 124 X-ray-detected AGN candidates, 52 appear in pairs and 72 as single X-ray sources. Through MWL analysis, we confirmed the presence of the AGN in >80 per cent of the detected targets in pairs (42 out of 52). X-ray spectral analysis confirms the trend of increasing AGN luminosity with decreasing separation, suggesting that mergers may have contributed to triggering more luminous AGN. Through X-ray/mid-IR ratio versus X-ray colours, we estimated a fraction of Compton-thin AGN (with 1022 cm−2 < NH < 1024 cm−2) of about 80 per cent, while about 16 per cent are Compton-thick sources (with NH > 1024 cm−2). These fractions of obscured sources are larger than those found in samples of isolated AGN, confirming that pairs of AGN show higher obscuration. This trend is further confirmed by comparing the de-reddened [O iii] emission with the observed X-ray luminosity. However, the derived fraction of Compton-thick sources in this sample at the early stages of merging is lower than that reported for late-merging dual-AGN samples. Comparing NH from X-rays with that derived from E(B − V) from narrow-line regions, we found that the absorbing material is likely to be associated with the torus or broad-line regions. We also explored the X-ray detection efficiency of dual-AGN candidates, finding that, when observed properly (at on-axis positions and with long exposures), X-ray data represent a powerful way to confirm and investigate dual-AGN systems.

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    We present four new fast radio bursts discovered in a search of the Parkes 70-cm pulsar survey data archive for dispersed single pulses and bursts. We searched dispersion measures (DMs) ranging between 0 and 5000 pc cm−3 with the HEIMDALL and FETCH detection and classification algorithms. All four of the fast radio bursts (FRBs) discovered have significantly larger widths (>50 ms) than almost all of the FRBs detected and catalogued to date. The large pulse widths are not dominated by interstellar scattering or dispersive smearing within channels. One of the FRBs has a DM of 3338 pc cm3, the largest measured for any FRB to date. These are also the first FRBs detected by any radio telescope so far, predating the Lorimer Burst by almost a decade. Our results suggest that pulsar survey archives remain important sources of previously undetected FRBs and that searches for FRBs on time-scales extending beyond ∼100 ms may reveal the presence of a larger population of wide-pulse FRBs.

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