Long-term rotational and emission variability of 17 radio pulsars

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • External authors:
  • Benjamin Shaw
  • Paul R. Brook
  • Aris Karastergiou
  • Christine Jordan
  • Michael Kramer
  • Andrew Lyne


With the ever-increasing sensitivity and timing baselines of modern radio telescopes, a growing number of pulsars are being shown to exhibit transitions in their rotational and radio emission properties. In many of these cases, the two are correlated with pulsars assuming a unique spin-down rate ($\dot{\nu}$) for each of their specific emission states. In this work we revisit 17 radio pulsars previously shown to exhibit spin-down rate variations. Using a Gaussian process regression (GPR) method to model the timing residuals and the evolution of the profile shape, we confirm the transitions already observed and reveal new transitions in 8 years of extended monitoring with greater time resolution and enhanced observing bandwidth. We confirm that 7 of these sources show emission-correlated $\dot{\nu}$ transitions ($\Delta \dot{\nu}$) and we characterise this correlation for one additional pulsar, PSR B1642$-$03. We demonstrate that GPR is able to reveal extremely subtle profile variations given sufficient data quality. We also corroborate the dependence of $\Delta \dot{\nu}$ amplitude on $\dot{\nu}$ and pulsar characteristic age. Linking $\Delta \dot{\nu}$ to changes in the global magnetospheric charge density $\Delta \rho$, we speculate that $\dot{\nu}$ transitions associated with large $\Delta \rho$ values may be exhibiting detectable profile changes with improved data quality, in cases where they have not previously been observed.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5861–5880
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2022