Searching for Pulsars using LOFAR

UoM administered thesis: Master of Science by Research

  • Authors:
  • Don Abeyratne

Abstract

Within this dissertation, information regarding the LOw Frequency ARray (LOFAR) Tied Array All Sky (LOTAAS) survey and its observations are used to provide an idea of its sensitivity. LOTAAS is a pilot survey for the LOFAR telescope, aiming to observe and thoroughly study the sky for pulsars and other radio transients at frequencies below 300MHz - a region very poorly understood so far.A foundation of pulsar knowledge is provided including their formation and the various families of pulsars known. The dissertation outlines the fundamentals of pulsar searching describing the challenges faced and the techniques used to overcome them. It also includes brief history of radio astronomy, and an introduction to interferometry and the methods used by LOFAR.In determining the sensitivity of LOTAAS, an initial analysis of the methods used for candidate selection was performed. Diagnostic tests were performed on the scripts used to filter out unwanted signals from pulsar signals, to ensure their functionality. Comparisons are then made with alternative processing methods. The data produced from the LOTAAS survey is compared to other surveys operating at similar frequencies, comparing the flux densities and spectral indices against the significance of the detections made. This was used to provide an understanding of the sensitivity at these low frequencies.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Benjamin Stappers (Supervisor)
Award date1 Aug 2013