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A Gaussian Mixture Model for Nulling Pulsars

Kaplan, D. L. and Swiggum, J. K. and Vallisneri, M. (2018) A Gaussian Mixture Model for Nulling Pulsars. Astrophysical Journal, 855 (1). Art. No. 14. ISSN 1538-4357. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/aaab62.

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The phenomenon of pulsar nulling—where pulsars occasionally turn off for one or more pulses—provides insight into pulsar-emission mechanisms and the processes by which pulsars turn off when they cross the "death line." However, while ever more pulsars are found that exhibit nulling behavior, the statistical techniques used to measure nulling are biased, with limited utility and precision. In this paper, we introduce an improved algorithm, based on Gaussian mixture models, for measuring pulsar nulling behavior. We demonstrate this algorithm on a number of pulsars observed as part of a larger sample of nulling pulsars, and show that it performs considerably better than existing techniques, yielding better precision and no bias. We further validate our algorithm on simulated data. Our algorithm is widely applicable to a large number of pulsars even if they do not show obvious nulls. Moreover, it can be used to derive nulling probabilities of nulling for individual pulses, which can be used for in-depth studies.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Kaplan, D. L.0000-0001-6295-2881
Swiggum, J. K.0000-0002-1075-3837
Vallisneri, M.0000-0002-4162-0033
Additional Information:© 2018 American Astronomical Society. Received 2018 January 4. Accepted 2018 January 26. Published 2018 February 28. We thank S. McSweeney for helpful comments. We thank the anonymous referee and the AAS journals statistics editor for their suggestions. The Green Bank Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc. Support was provided by the NANOGrav NSF Physics Frontiers Center award number 1430284. M.V. acknowledges support from the JPL RTD program. Portions of this research were carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
JPL Research and Technology Development FundUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:methods: data analysis; methods: statistical; pulsars: general
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20180228-093052525
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Official Citation:D. L. Kaplan et al 2018 ApJ 855 14
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:84994
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:28 Feb 2018 17:49
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 20:24

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