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F. Camilo (Columbia University), PALFA Collaboration
We, of the pulsar-ALFA (PALFA) consortium, are conducting large-area pulsar surveys at the Arecibo telescope using a new 7-beam receiver operating at 21-cm wavelengths. In this talk I describe a continuing survey of the Galactic plane and initial results.
The first pulsar discovered in the survey is young and energetic, the sort of neutron star that may power detectable sources of high-energy gamma-rays to be studied with the GLAST telescope. Also among the first 20 discoveries is a remarkable youthful relativistic binary pulsar with a compact companion in a 4-hour orbit that will decay on a timescale of ~300\,Myr due to the emission of gravitational waves --- the kind of coalescing binary that may be detectable by gravitational wave observatories such as LIGO or LISA.
Our current survey is concentrating on those regions of the Galactic plane visible from Arecibo, in the ranges 32\circ < l < 77\circ and 158\circ < l < 214\circ. Future observations will target mid-latitude regions as well. With individual integration times of a few minutes, sensitivity to a bandwidth of 100\,MHz centered on 1420\,MHz, and sampling the data every 64\,\mus with 39\,kHz resolution, we can detect millisecond-period pulsars within several kpc of the Sun. Also, we search the data for both dispersed periodic sources and individual dispersed pulses.
In due course we expect to use a spectrometer that will sample 300\,MHz of bandwidth with a consequent increase in sensitivity, and discover many hundreds of pulsars, including rare objects, that will be suitable for probing the interstellar medium and investigating certain aspects of binary evolution, neutron star structure, and gravitational physics, among other uses.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #4
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.