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Applying clock comparison methods to pulsar timing observations

Abstract : Frequency metrology outperforms any other branch of metrology in accuracy (parts in $10^{-16}$) and small fluctuations ($<10^{-17}$). In turn, among celestial bodies, the rotation speed of millisecond pulsars (MSP) is by far the most stable ($<10^{-18}$). Therefore, the precise measurement of the time of arrival (TOA) of pulsar signals is expected to disclose information about cosmological phenomena, and to enlarge our astrophysical knowledge. Related to this topic, Pulsar Timing Array (PTA) projects have been developed and operated for the last decades. The TOAs from a pulsar can be affected by local emission and environmental effects, in the direction of the propagation through the interstellar medium or universally by gravitational waves from super massive black hole binaries. These effects (signals) can manifest as a low-frequency fluctuation over time, phenomenologically similar to a red noise. While the remaining pulsar intrinsic and instrumental background (noise) are white. This article focuses on the frequency metrology of pulsars. From our standpoint, the pulsar is an accurate clock, to be measured simultaneously with several telescopes in order to reject the uncorrelated white noise. We apply the modern statistical methods of time-and-frequency metrology to simulated pulsar data, and we show the detection limit of the correlated red noise signal between telescopes.
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Submitted on : Thursday, April 22, 2021 - 11:04:53 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, May 4, 2021 - 11:53:31 PM


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Siyuan Chen, François Vernotte, Enrico Rubiola. Applying clock comparison methods to pulsar timing observations. Mon.Not.Roy.Astron.Soc., 2021, ⟨10.1093/mnras/stab742⟩. ⟨hal-03022716⟩



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