Journal Article

Populating the Galaxy with pulsars – I. Stellar and binary evolution

Paul D. Kiel, Jarrod R. Hurley, Matthew Bailes and James R. Murray

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 388, issue 1, pages 393-415
Published in print July 2008 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online July 2008 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Populating the Galaxy with pulsars – I. Stellar and binary evolution

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The computation of theoretical pulsar populations has been a major component of pulsar studies since the 1970s. However, the majority of pulsar population synthesis has only regarded isolated pulsar evolution. Those that have examined pulsar evolution within binary systems tend to either treat binary evolution poorly or evolve the pulsar population in an ad hoc manner. Thus, no complete and direct comparison with observations of the pulsar population within the Galactic disc has been possible to date. Described here is the first component of what will be a complete synthetic pulsar population survey code. This component is used to evolve both isolated and binary pulsars. Synthetic observational surveys can then be performed on this population for a variety of radio telescopes. The final tool used for completing this work will be a code comprised of three components: stellar/binary evolution, Galactic kinematics and survey selection effects. Results provided here support the need for further (apparent) pulsar magnetic field decay during accretion, while they conversely suggest the need for a re-evaluation of the assumed typical millisecond pulsar formation process. Results also focus on reproducing the observed diagram for Galactic pulsars and how this precludes short time-scales for standard pulsar exponential magnetic field decay. Finally, comparisons of bulk pulsar population characteristics are made to observations displaying the predictive power of this code, while we also show that under standard binary evolutionary assumption binary pulsars may accrete much mass.

Keywords: binaries: close; stars: evolution; stars: neutron; pulsars: general; Galaxy: stellar content

Journal Article.  21636 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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