Event Title

Analyzing Nulling Pulsars using Gaussian Mixture Models

Presenter Information

Travis Fichtenbauer

Mentor 1

Joe Swiggum

Location

Union Wisconsin Room

Start Date

27-4-2018 1:00 PM

Description

Pulsars are rapidly rotating neutron stars that emit radiation from their poles. A small portion of the pulsar population is known to occasionally cease radio emission for periods of time; these are called nulling pulsars. The study of nulling pulsars allows us to better understand the emission mechanism of pulsars and how pulsars “die.” Observations for this project were made using two of the world’s largest radio telescopes - the Green Bank Telescope and the Arecibo Observatory. We proposed confirmation observations of 15 nulling pulsar candidates, sources originally discovered in the Green Bank North Celestial Cap (GBNCC) survey, and have so far conducted remote observations for five of them. Until now, techniques used to estimate the the nulling fraction (fraction of time pulsar spends in a null state) were biased, so we employ a new method using Gaussian mixture models to better estimate nulling fractions and characterize the nulling behavior of several recently-discovered pulsars.

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Apr 27th, 1:00 PM

Analyzing Nulling Pulsars using Gaussian Mixture Models

Union Wisconsin Room

Pulsars are rapidly rotating neutron stars that emit radiation from their poles. A small portion of the pulsar population is known to occasionally cease radio emission for periods of time; these are called nulling pulsars. The study of nulling pulsars allows us to better understand the emission mechanism of pulsars and how pulsars “die.” Observations for this project were made using two of the world’s largest radio telescopes - the Green Bank Telescope and the Arecibo Observatory. We proposed confirmation observations of 15 nulling pulsar candidates, sources originally discovered in the Green Bank North Celestial Cap (GBNCC) survey, and have so far conducted remote observations for five of them. Until now, techniques used to estimate the the nulling fraction (fraction of time pulsar spends in a null state) were biased, so we employ a new method using Gaussian mixture models to better estimate nulling fractions and characterize the nulling behavior of several recently-discovered pulsars.