Volume 647, March 2021
|Number of page(s)||14|
|Section||The Sun and the Heliosphere|
|Published online||11 March 2021|
The impact of solar wind variability on pulsar timing
ASTRON – the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, Oude Hoogeveensedijk 4, 7991 PD Dwingeloo, The Netherlands
2 Dipartimento di Fisica “G. Occhialini”, Università di Milano-Bicocca, Piazza della Scienza 3, 20126 Milano, Italy
3 Fakultät für Physik, Universität Bielefeld, Postfach 100131, 33501 Bielefeld, Germany
4 Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, 53121 Bonn, Germany
5 Department of Astrophysics/IMAPP, Radboud University, PO Box 9010 6500 GL Nijmegen, The Netherlands
6 Technische Universität Berlin, Institut für Geodäsie und Geoinformationstechnik, Fakultät VI, Sekr. H 12, Straße des 17. Juni 135, 10623 Berlin, Germany
7 GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Telegrafenberg, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
8 SKA Organisation, Jodrell Bank, Macclesfield SK11 9FT, UK
9 Gravitational Wave Data Centre, Swinburne University of Technology, PO Box 218 Hawthorn, VIC 3122, Australia
10 Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing, Swinburne University of Technology, PO Box 218 Hawthorn, VIC 3122, Australia
11 LPC2E – Université d’Orléans/CNRS, 45071 Orléans Cedex 2, France
12 Station de Radioastronomie de Nançay, Observatoire de Paris, PSL Research University, CNRS, Univ. Orléans, OSUC, 18330 Nançay, France
13 South African Radio Astronomy Observatory, 2 Fir Street, Black River Park, Observatory 7925, South Africa
14 Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, Cape Town 7535, South Africa
15 Hamburger Sternwarte, University of Hamburg, Gojenbergsweg 112, 21029 Hamburg, Germany
16 Max-Planck-Institut für Astrophysik, Karl-Schwarzschild-Straße 1, 85748 Garching b. München, Germany
17 Ruhr University Bochum, Faculty of Physics and Astronomy, Astronomical Institute, 44780 Bochum, Germany
18 Thüringer Landessternwarte, Sternwarte 5, 07778 Tautenburg, Germany
19 Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
20 Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam (AIP), An der Sternwarte 16, 14482 Potsdam, Germany
Accepted: 21 December 2020
Context. High-precision pulsar timing requires accurate corrections for dispersive delays of radio waves, parametrized by the dispersion measure (DM), particularly if these delays are variable in time. In a previous paper, we studied the solar wind (SW) models used in pulsar timing to mitigate the excess of DM that is annually induced by the SW and found these to be insufficient for high-precision pulsar timing. Here we analyze additional pulsar datasets to further investigate which aspects of the SW models currently used in pulsar timing can be readily improved, and at what levels of timing precision SW mitigation is possible.
Aims. Our goals are to verify: (a) whether the data are better described by a spherical model of the SW with a time-variable amplitude, rather than a time-invariant one as suggested in literature, and (b) whether a temporal trend of such a model’s amplitudes can be detected.
Methods. We use the pulsar timing technique on low-frequency pulsar observations to estimate the DM and quantify how this value changes as the Earth moves around the Sun. Specifically, we monitor the DM in weekly to monthly observations of 14 pulsars taken with parts of the LOw-Frequency ARray (LOFAR) across time spans of up to 6 years. We develop an informed algorithm to separate the interstellar variations in the DM from those caused by the SW and demonstrate the functionality of this algorithm with extensive simulations. Assuming a spherically symmetric model for the SW density, we derive the amplitude of this model for each year of observations.
Results. We show that a spherical model with a time-variable amplitude models the observations better than a spherical model with a constant amplitude, but that both approaches leave significant SW-induced delays uncorrected in a number of pulsars in the sample. The amplitude of the spherical model is found to be variable in time, as opposed to what has been previously suggested.
Key words: pulsars: general / solar wind / ISM: general / gravitational waves
© ESO 2021
Current usage metrics show cumulative count of Article Views (full-text article views including HTML views, PDF and ePub downloads, according to the available data) and Abstracts Views on Vision4Press platform.
Data correspond to usage on the plateform after 2015. The current usage metrics is available 48-96 hours after online publication and is updated daily on week days.
Initial download of the metrics may take a while.