Pulsar Astrometry with the VLBA

Parallax and Proper Motion of B0950+08, compared to HST NICMOS pixel All current pulsar parallaxes are listed here.

We propose a large multi-epoch project for VLBA astrometry on a sample of pulsars, in order to obtain parallaxes and proper motions. This project aims to:

  1. at least double the number of measured pulsar parallaxes;
  2. yield direct transverse velocity measurements of pulsars, which constrain the physics of supernova core-collapse and address the velocity distribution of the pulsar population;
  3. provide essential calibration points for the Galactic electron density model, which improves the distance scale for those pulsars without parallax measurements; and
  4. address other scientific questions, such as reference frame ties, supernova remnant associations, nuclear astrophysics, etc.
Building on our experience with previous pilot projects, we propose preliminary VLBA "finder" observations, followed by eight epochs (4 per year) of dynamically scheduled phase-referenced snapshot observations, with pulsar gating and ionospheric calibration, for a sample of ~30 pulsars.

The current group includes:

At Cornell: S. Chatterjee, J. M. Cordes, W. Vlemmings;
At NRAO: W. Brisken, W. M. Goss, E. B. Fomalont, J. Benson, M. McKinnon;
At UC Santa Cruz: S. E. Thorsett;
At Jodrell Bank: M. Kramer, A. Lyne;
At NRL: T. J. W. Lazio;
At UC Berkeley: D. C. Backer;
At National Univ of Ireland: A. Golden.

Shami Chatterjee
shami at astro.cornell.edu
Last modified: 21 January 2004.
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