A search for neutron star precession and interstellar magnetic field variations via multiepoch pulsar polarimetry

J. M. Weisberg, J. E. Everett, J. M. Cordes, J. J. Morgan, D. G. Brisbin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

In order to study precession and interstellar magnetic field variations, we measured the polarized position angle of 81 pulsars at several-month intervals for four years. We show that the uncertainties in a single-epoch measurement of position angle are usually dominated by random pulse-to-pulse jitter of the polarized subpulses. Even with these uncertainties, we find that the position angle variations in 19 pulsars are significantly better fitted (at the 3σ level) by a sinusoid than by a constant. Such variations could be caused by precession, which would then indicate periods of ∼(200-1300) days and amplitudes of ∼ (1-12) degrees. We narrow this collection to four pulsars that show the most convincing evidence of sinusoidal variation in position angle. Also, in a handful of pulsars, single discrepant position angle measurements are observed which may result from the line of sight passing across a discrete ionized, magnetized structure.We calculate the standard deviation of position angle measurements from the mean for each pulsar and relate these to limits on precession and interstellar magnetic field variations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1044-1055
Number of pages12
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume721
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2010

Keywords

  • ISM: magnetic fields
  • Polarization
  • Pulsars: general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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