Journal Article

Phase–resolved Faraday rotation in pulsars

A. Noutsos, A. Karastergiou, M. Kramer, S. Johnston and B. W. Stappers

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 396, issue 3, pages 1559-1572
Published in print July 2009 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online June 2009 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2009.14806.x
Phase–resolved Faraday rotation in pulsars

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We have detected significant rotation measure (RM) variations for nine bright pulsars, as a function of pulse longitude. An additional sample of 10 pulsars showed a rather constant RM with phase, yet a small degree of RM fluctuation is visible in at least three of those cases. In all cases, we have found that the rotation of the polarization position angle across our 1.4 GHz observing band is consistent with the λ2 law of interstellar Faraday rotation. We provide for the first time convincing evidence that RM variations across the pulse are largely due to interstellar scattering, although we cannot exclude that magnetospheric Faraday rotation may still have a minor contribution; alternative explanations of this phenomenon, like erroneous de–dispersion and the presence of non–orthogonal polarization modes, are excluded. If the observed, phase–resolved RM variations are common amongst pulsars, then many of the previously measured pulsar RMs may be in error by as much as a few tens of rad m−2.

Keywords: polarization; scattering; pulsars: general

Journal Article.  7578 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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