Pulsars - Celestial Clocks

Manchester, Richard; Guo, L.; Hobbs, G.; Coles, W.A.; Kerr, M.

R. N. Manchester1,


Pulsars are rotating neutron stars that we detect as pulsed emission as their co-rotating emission beam sweeps across the Earth. More than 2500 pulsars are now known, almost all of them in our Galaxy. Millisecond pulsars (MSPs) form a distinct group with a different evolutionary history to that of normal pulsars. Probably as a consequence of their relatively weak magnetic fields, they have extremely stable pulse periods. Precision timing of MSPs is a wonderful tool for a variety of applications, including tests of theories of relativistic gravitation, detection of low-frequency gravitational waves and establishment of a pulsar-based timescale. Recent progress on these topics will be discussed.

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