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We present the third data release from the Parkes Pulsar Timing Array (PPTA) project. The release contains observations of 32 pulsars obtained using the 64-m Parkes ‘Murriyang’ radio telescope. The data span is up to 18 yr with a typical cadence of 3 weeks. This data release is formed by combining an updated version of our second data release with $\sim$3 yr of more recent data primarily obtained using an ultra-wide-bandwidth receiver system that operates between 704 and 4032 MHz. We provide calibrated pulse profiles, flux density dynamic spectra, pulse times of arrival, and initial pulsar timing models. We describe methods for processing such wide-bandwidth observations and compare this data release with our previous release.
We describe 14 yr of public data from the Parkes Pulsar Timing Array (PPTA), an ongoing project that is producing precise measurements of pulse times of arrival from 26 millisecond pulsars using the 64-m Parkes radio telescope with a cadence of approximately 3 weeks in three observing bands. A comprehensive description of the pulsar observing systems employed at the telescope since 2004 is provided, including the calibration methodology and an analysis of the stability of system components. We attempt to provide full accounting of the reduction from the raw measured Stokes parameters to pulse times of arrival to aid third parties in reproducing our results. This conversion is encapsulated in a processing pipeline designed to track provenance. Our data products include pulse times of arrival for each of the pulsars along with an initial set of pulsar parameters and noise models. The calibrated pulse profiles and timing template profiles are also available. These data represent almost 21 000 h of recorded data spanning over 14 yr. After accounting for processes that induce time-correlated noise, 22 of the pulsars have weighted root-mean-square timing residuals of
in at least one radio band. The data should allow end users to quickly undertake their own gravitational wave analyses, for example, without having to understand the intricacies of pulsar polarisation calibration or attain a mastery of radio frequency interference mitigation as is required when analysing raw data files.
We observed single pulses from PSR J0034-0721 (B0031-07) simultaneously at the MWA (185 MHz) and the GMRT (610 MHz). Correlation analyses reveal that the phase difference of the average profiles at the two frequencies differs from the phase difference observed between individual subpulses, indicating that the individual emission columns above the pulsar’s rotating carousel of sparks do not evolve in frequency in the same way that the global magnetosphere does. This hints at a possible departure from the dipolar field geometry in this pulsar’s emission region. Moreover, the discrepancy depends on the drift mode, suggestive of a way to constrain the emission heights associated with each drift mode.
Low-frequency pulsar observations are well suited for studying propagation effects caused by the interstellar medium (ISM). This is particularly important for millisecond pulsars (MSPs) that are part of high-precision timing applications such as pulsar timing arrays (PTA), which aim to detect nanoHertz gravitational waves. MSPs in the southern hemisphere will also be the prime targets for PTAs with the South African MeerKAT, and eventually with the SKA. The development of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) and the Engineering Development Array (EDA) brings excellent opportunities for low-frequency studies of MSPs in the southern hemisphere. They enable observations at frequencies from 50 MHz to 300 MHz, and can be exploited for a wide range of studies relating to pulsar emission physics and probing the ISM.
Studying the polarised properties of pulsars has a rich history giving unique geometric information about pulsars as well as testing the theories of pulsar emission physics. Performing such studies with the MWA has the attraction that the percentage of linear polarisation of many pulsars increases as the observing frequency decreases. Here we discuss the strategies being employed to verify the polarimetric response of the MWA’s high time resolution data.
The frequency dependence of normal pulsar radio emission is typically observed to be a power law, with some indications of a flattening or turnover at low frequencies (≲ 100 MHz). The spectrum of the Crab pulsar’s giant pulse emission has not been examined as closely. We conducted simultaneous wideband observations of the Crab pulsar, with the Parkes radio telescope and the Murchison Widefield Array, to study the spectral behaviour of its giant pulses. Our analysis shows that the mean spectral index of Crab giant pulses flattens at low frequencies, from −2.6 ± 0.5 between the Parkes bands, to −0.7 ± 1.4 between the lowest MWA subbands.
Results from new observations of pulsars using the Ooty Radio Telescope (ORT) are used for investigating the structure of the Local Interstellar Medium (LISM). The observations show anomalous scintillation effects towards several nearby pulsars, and these are modeled in terms of large-scale spatial inhomogeneities in the distribution of plasma density fluctuations in the LISM. A 3-component model, where the Solar neighbourhood is surrounded by a shell of enhanced plasma turbulence, is proposed for the LISM. The inferred scattering structure is strikingly similar to the Local Bubble. Further, analysis based on recent scintillation measurements show evidence for enhanced scattering towards pulsars located in the general direction of the Loop I Superbubble. The model for the LISM has been further extended by incorporating the scattering due to turbulent plasma associated with Loop I.
Refractive Interstellar Scintillation (RISS) effects on pulsar signals are powerful techniques for discriminating between different models that have been proposed for the power spectrum of plasma density fluctuations in the Interstellar Medium (ISM; e.g. Rickett 1990). The nature of the spectrum is considered to be a major input for understanding the underlying mechanism of interstellar plasma turbulence. Data from our long-term pulsar scintillation observations using the Ooty Radio Telescope (ORT) at 327 MHz are used to investigate the nature of the spectrum in the Local Interstellar Medium (LISM; region within ∼ 1 kpc of the Sun). Dynamic scintillation spectra were obtained for 18 pulsars in the DM range 3–35 pc cm−3 at ∼10–100 epochs spanning ∼100–1000 days during 1993–1995 (Bhat et al. 1999). From these observations, various scintillation properties and the ISM parameters are estimated with accuracies much better than that which has been possible from most earlier data. The time series of parameters, viz., decorrelation bandwidth (vd), scintillation time scale (τd) and the drift slope of intensity scintillation patterns, and pulsar flux density are used to study various observable effects of Interstellar Scintillation, based on which the spectral form is inferred over the spatial scale range ∼ 107 m to ∼ 1013 m.
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