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A Quest for Pulsars
An In-depth Analysis of Radio Astronomy
Team Disney
Alan Booth, Susan Chen, Blake Delle Fave, Madison Doehler, Yekaterina Gilbo
40 Ft. Telescope Results
Mission Statement
Analysis Cont.
To gain proficiency in the analysis of radio
datasets, in order to identify pulsar candidates
for the study of gravitational waves.
Example of RFI (from PSC Database)
Radio astronomy is the study of electromagnetic
emissions from celestial bodies. To collect data,
researchers aim radio telescopes at various
locations in space , known as pointings, to search
for signals. However, man-made objects, such as
telephone lines, also produce electromagnetic
waves which interfere with the frequency of the
waves. As such, researchers must sort through
pointings and eliminate radio frequency interference
and noise from the results to find pulsars, a type of
rapidly rotating neutron star.
Completed Prerequisites
 Understand the concept of radio astronomy using
a 40ft telescope
•Analyze the signal of Galaxy 3C 295
 Brief Intro to Gravitational Waves and
Electromagnetic Waves
500 Jy
~33 Jy
Forty-foot Telescope
Object: Galaxy 3c 295
Distance: 5.6 billion light
years or 1.73 billion pc
RA: 14:09:33
DEC: 52:26:13
*Actual Jansky (brightness) is 23 JY
Looks like a pulsar candidate except for the
frequency graph.
Shows narrowband ‘snake bites’ indicating
a man made object from one source.
*The galaxy appeared earlier than
expected; we were not able to view the
entire galaxy.
GBT Results
Candidates chosen for GBT: 19:21-16:11,
22:43+69:39, 21:07-16:12
 Intro to Stellar Evolution
 Distinguish pulsars from noise and RFI
Review 15 pointings (525 datasets)
Identifying Pulsar Candidates
Examine the characteristics of pulse datasets:
Pulse profile:
periodic and
from noise
Chi squared:
Term used to
probability of
being a pulsar
Must be a
Range for
Our sun
Candidates 19:21-16:11 and 21:07-16:12 were both
observed to be noise. 22:43+69:39 could not be viewed
due to circumstances.
Examples of Noise (from PSC Database)
Despite our best efforts, problems still
occurred. As such, the researchers were
forced to be prepared for any situations It
was extremely important, while examining
data, to be open minded and through in
We believe that for future trials and research,
longer and earlier start times should be used
to attain a better dataset. Also, datasets
should not be dismissed immediately as
noise, as there may be underlying trends.
The students of the Pulsar Search
Collaboratory will continue their analysis of
pointings and datasets, well through the next
Phase vs.
with pulse
Dispersion Measure:
Number of electrons
between earth and the
object; DM peak >0
Known Pulsar J01:08 -14:31
•Pulse profile: No specific and clean pulses.
•Chi squared: Relatively low. X2 <2
•Frequency: Narrowband because there is one
horizontal band of strong signal.
•Dispersion Measure: DM is larger than 0 which is
•Phase vs. Time: Jagged, erratic slope
•Sue Ann Heatherly
•Sean Leake and all student mentors
•Sarah Scoles
•Duncan and Maura
•Ryan Lynch
•The GBT for being the coolest telescope
•NRAO for making this possible and
tolerating us in our wildest moments 