Journal Article

The population of pulsars with interpulses and the implications for beam evolution

Patrick Weltevrede and Simon Johnston

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 387, issue 4, pages 1755-1760
Published in print July 2008 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online July 2008 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.13382.x
The population of pulsars with interpulses and the implications for beam evolution

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The observed fraction of pulsars with interpulses, their period distribution and the observed pulse width versus pulse period correlation are shown to be inconsistent with a model in which the angle α between the magnetic axis and the rotation axis is random. This conclusion appears to be unavoidable, even when non-circular beams are considered. Allowing the magnetic axis to align from a random distribution at birth with a time-scale of ∼7 × 107 yr can, however, explain those observations well. The time-scale derived is consistent with that obtained via independent methods. The probability that a pulsar beam intersects the line of sight is a function of the angle α and therefore beam evolution has important consequences for evolutionary models and for estimations of the total number of neutron stars. The validity of the standard formula for the spin-down rate, which is independent of α, appears to be questionable.

Keywords: stars: neutron; pulsars: general; stars: rotation

Journal Article.  5106 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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