Prospects for high-precision pulsar timing with the new Effelsberg PSRIX backend

Lazarus P, Karuppusamy R, Graikou E, Caballero RN, Champion DJ, Lee KJ, Verbiest J, Kramer M (2016)
MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY 458(1): 868-880.

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Abstract
The PSRIX backend is the primary pulsar timing instrument of the Effelsberg 100 m radio telescope since early 2011. This new ROACH-based system enables bandwidths up to 500 MHz to be recorded, significantly more than what was possible with its predecessor, the Effelsberg Berkeley Pulsar Processor (EBPP). We review the first four years of PSRIX timing data for 33 pulsars collected as part of the monthly European Pulsar Timing Array (EPTA) observations. We describe the automated data analysis pipeline, COASTGUARD, that we developed to reduce these observations. We also introduce TOASTER, the EPTA timing data base, used to store timing results, processing information and observation metadata. Using these new tools, we measure the phase-averaged flux densities at 1.4 GHz of all 33 pulsars. For seven of these pulsars, our flux density measurements are the first values ever reported. For the other 26 pulsars, we compare our flux density measurements with previously published values. By comparing PSRIX data with EBPP data, we find an improvement of similar to 2-5 times in signal-to-noise ratio, which translates to an increase of similar to 2-5 times in pulse time-of-arrival (TOA) precision. We show that such an improvement in TOA precision will improve the sensitivity to the stochastic gravitational wave background. Finally, we showcase the flexibility of the new PSRIX backend by observing several millisecond-period pulsars (MSPs) at 5 and 9 GHz. Motivated by our detections, we discuss the potential for complementing existing pulsar timing array data sets with MSP monitoring campaigns at these higher frequencies.
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Lazarus P, Karuppusamy R, Graikou E, et al. Prospects for high-precision pulsar timing with the new Effelsberg PSRIX backend. MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY. 2016;458(1):868-880.
Lazarus, P., Karuppusamy, R., Graikou, E., Caballero, R. N., Champion, D. J., Lee, K. J., Verbiest, J., et al. (2016). Prospects for high-precision pulsar timing with the new Effelsberg PSRIX backend. MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, 458(1), 868-880.
Lazarus, P., Karuppusamy, R., Graikou, E., Caballero, R. N., Champion, D. J., Lee, K. J., Verbiest, J., and Kramer, M. (2016). Prospects for high-precision pulsar timing with the new Effelsberg PSRIX backend. MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY 458, 868-880.
Lazarus, P., et al., 2016. Prospects for high-precision pulsar timing with the new Effelsberg PSRIX backend. MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, 458(1), p 868-880.
P. Lazarus, et al., “Prospects for high-precision pulsar timing with the new Effelsberg PSRIX backend”, MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, vol. 458, 2016, pp. 868-880.
Lazarus, P., Karuppusamy, R., Graikou, E., Caballero, R.N., Champion, D.J., Lee, K.J., Verbiest, J., Kramer, M.: Prospects for high-precision pulsar timing with the new Effelsberg PSRIX backend. MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY. 458, 868-880 (2016).
Lazarus, P., Karuppusamy, R., Graikou, E., Caballero, R. N., Champion, D. J., Lee, K. J., Verbiest, Joris, and Kramer, M. “Prospects for high-precision pulsar timing with the new Effelsberg PSRIX backend”. MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY 458.1 (2016): 868-880.
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