Volume 492, Number 3, December IV 2008
|Page(s)||923 - 931|
|Published online||27 October 2008|
Pulsar timing for the Fermi gamma-ray space telescope *
Université de Bordeaux, Centre d'études nucléaires de Bordeaux Gradignan, UMR 5797, 33175 Gradignan, France e-mail: email@example.com
2 CNRS/IN2P3, Centre d'études nucléaires de Bordeaux Gradignan, UMR 5797, 33175 Gradignan, France
3 Columbia Astrophysics Laboratory, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, USA
4 Laboratoire de Physique et Chimie de l'Environnement, LPCE UMR 6115, CNRS/INSU, 45071 Orléans, France
5 Station de radioastronomie de Nançay, Observatoire de Paris, CNRS/INSU, 18330 Nançay, France
6 University of Manchester, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Macclesfield, Cheshire SK11 9DL, UK
7 Arecibo Observatory, HC 3 Box 53995, Arecibo, Puerto Rico 00612, USA
8 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
9 Australia Telescope National Facility, CSIRO, PO Box 76, Epping NSW 1710, Australia
10 McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
11 West Virginia University, Department of Physics, PO Box 6315, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA
12 National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Charlottesville, VA 22903, USA
13 Eureka Scientific, Inc., 2452 Delmer Street Suite 100, Oakland, CA 94602-3017, USA
14 Department of Physics, Stanford University, California, USA
15 GEPI, Observatoire de Paris, CNRS, Université Paris Diderot, Place Jules Janssen 92190 Meudon, France
16 Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA
17 National Astronomical Observatories-CAS, 40-5 South Beijing Road, Urumqi 830011, PR China
Accepted: 19 October 2008
We describe a comprehensive pulsar monitoring campaign for the Large Area Telescope (LAT) on the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope (formerly GLAST). The detection and study of pulsars in gamma rays give insights into the populations of neutron stars and supernova rates in the Galaxy, into particle acceleration mechanisms in neutron star magnetospheres, and into the “engines” driving pulsar wind nebulae. LAT's unprecedented sensitivity between 20 MeV and 300 GeV together with its 2.4 sr field-of-view makes detection of many gamma-ray pulsars likely, justifying the monitoring of over two hundred pulsars with large spin-down powers. To search for gamma-ray pulsations from most of these pulsars requires a set of phase-connected timing solutions spanning a year or more to properly align the sparse photon arrival times. We describe the choice of pulsars and the instruments involved in the campaign. Attention is paid to verifications of the LAT pulsar software, using for example giant radio pulses from the Crab and from PSR B1937+21 recorded at Nançay, and using X-ray data on PSR J0218+4232 from XMM-Newton. We demonstrate accuracy of the pulsar phase calculations at the microsecond level.
Key words: space vehicles: instruments / stars: pulsars: general / gamma-rays: observations / ephemerides
© ESO, 2008
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