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The Parkes Pulsar Timing Array Project

Manchester, R. N. and Hobbs, G. and Bailes, M. and Coles, W. A. and van Straten, W. and Keith, M. J. and Shannon, R. M. and Bhat, N. D. R. and Brown, A. and Burke-Spolaor, S. G. and Champion, D. J. and Chaudhary, A. and Edwards, R. T. and Hampson, G. and Hotan, A. W. and Jameson, A. and Jenet, F. A. and Kesteven, M. J. and Khoo, J. and Kocz, J. and Maciesiak, K. and Osłowski, S. and Ravi, V. and Reynolds, J. R. and Sarkissian, J. M. and Verbiest, J. P. W. and Wen, Z. L. and Wilson, W. E. and Yardley, D. and Yan, W. M. and You, X. P. (2013) The Parkes Pulsar Timing Array Project. Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia, 30 . Art. No. e017. ISSN 1323-3580.

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A "pulsar timing array" (PTA), in which observations of a large sample of pulsars spread across the celestial sphere are combined, allows investigation of "global" phenomena such as a background of gravitational waves or instabilities in atomic timescales that produce correlated timing residuals in the pulsars of the array. The Parkes Pulsar Timing Array (PPTA) is an implementation of the PTA concept based on observations with the Parkes 64-m radio telescope. A sample of 20 millisecond pulsars is being observed at three radio-frequency bands, 50cm (~700 MHz), 20cm (~1400 MHz) and 10cm (~3100 MHz), with observations at intervals of 2 - 3 weeks. Regular observations commenced in early 2005. This paper describes the systems used for the PPTA observations and data processing, including calibration and timing analysis. The strategy behind the choice of pulsars, observing parameters and analysis methods is discussed. Results are presented for PPTA data in the three bands taken between 2005 March and 2011 March. For ten of the 20 pulsars, rms timing residuals are less than 1 microsec for the best band after fitting for pulse frequency and its first time derivative. Significant "red" timing noise is detected in about half of the sample. We discuss the implications of these results on future projects including the International Pulsar Timing Array (IPTA) and a PTA based on the Square Kilometre Array. We also present an "extended PPTA" data set that combines PPTA data with earlier Parkes timing data for these pulsars.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Bailes, M.0000-0003-3294-3081
Brown, A.0000-0003-2631-3905
Burke-Spolaor, S. G.0000-0003-4052-7838
Kocz, J.0000-0003-0249-7586
Osłowski, S.0000-0003-0289-0732
Ravi, V.0000-0002-7252-5485
Additional Information:© 2013 Astronomical Society of Australia. Received June 13, 2012; Accepted October 18, 2012; Online Publication January 24, 2013. The PPTA project was initiated with support from RNM’s Australian Research Council (ARC) Federation Fellowship (FF0348478) and from the CSIRO under this Fellowship program. It has also received support from ARC Discovery Project grant DP0985272. GH is the recipient of an ARC QEII Fellowship (DP0878388) and VR is a recipient of a John Stocker Postgraduate Scholarship from the Science and Industry Endowment Fund. Part of this research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. We acknowledge contributions to the project from L. Kedziora-Chudczer, K. J. Lee, A. N. Lommen, D. Smith, and Ding Chen. The Parkes telescope is part of the Australia Telescope which is funded by the Commonwealth Government for operation as a National Facility managed by CSIRO.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Australian Research CouncilFF0348478
Australian Research CouncilDP0985272
Australian Research CouncilDP0878388
Science and Industry Endowment FundUNSPECIFIED
Commonwealth GovernmentUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:gravitational waves – instrumentation: miscellaneous – methods: observational – pulsars: general
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130214-090233671
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Manchester, R., Hobbs, G., Bailes, M., Coles, W., Van Straten, W., Keith, M., . . . You, X. (2013). The Parkes Pulsar Timing Array Project. Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia, 30, E017. doi:10.1017/pasa.2012.017
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:36912
Deposited By: JoAnn Boyd
Deposited On:20 Feb 2013 20:14
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:18

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