UTMOST reaches its 100th pulsar

The UTMOST project reached a milestone in August 2015, timing its 100th pulsar, one with the not very exciting name of J1720-2933. (Pulsars are named for their coordinates on the sky, so end up having IDs like telephone numbers).

Screenshot - 060815 - 17:16:16
The pulse from J1720-2933, the 100th pulsar timed at UTMOST.

As the upgrade to the telescope has progressed, the number of pulsars the system can reach in a typical 10 minute observation has increased, slowly at first, but dramatically through the winter of 2015.

The radio signal from the 100th pulsar is quite weak: there are a few hundred other such pulsars available in catalogs, so that several hundred are now accessible at UTMOST.

The final aim of the fully upgraded instrument is to time as many as 500  pulsars on a daily to weekly cadence — in a project called TIME. Pulsar timing is part of the PhD project of student Fabian Jankowski, who has been closely involved in the telescope upgrade, implementing automated observing with the telescope, and building ephemerides for the pulsars as they have come within reach of the instrument and are timed.

Congrats to the UTMOST team for this significant milestone in the project!


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