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- Populating the galaxy with pulsars
- Kiel, Paul D.
- Prior to this thesis no serious attempt has been made within binary system population synthesis research to model the selection effects of observational surveys. Conversely, many pulsar population models have accounted for radio survey selection effects but not detailed binary evolution. Such modelling becomes especially important when comparing theory directly to observations. In examining the factors that influence pulsar evolution, both in binary systems and as single stellar objects, we have bridged this existing gap between these two research fields. This thesis populates a model Galaxy with binary systems and evolves the population forward in time. A prediction of the Galactic pulsar population characteristics is produced, at the assumed age of the Galaxy, after we have accounted for detailed changes in stellar and binary evolution and Galactic kinematics. Synthetic observational surveys mimicking a variety of radio pulsar surveys are then performed on this population. The population synthesis synthetic survey (PS3) package is comprised of three components: stellar/binary evolution (binpop), Galactic kinematics (binkin), and survey selection effects (binsfx). The resultant pulsar populations, assuming the magnetic-dipole decay and accretion induced magnetic decay models, can compare well to many of the detected pulsar population characteristics. The comparisons between models and observations have lead to the conclusions described below. The models exclude short (∼ 5 Myr) timescales for standard pulsar exponential field decay and find that ablation of low-mass millisecond pulsar companions can redress both the lack of synthetic isolated pulsars and their excessive distances in height from the Galactic plane. Coalescing double neutron star and collapsar Galactic populations, evolved owing to standard binary evolutionary assumptions, are too centrally concentrated owing to the typical merger timescale of double neutron stars being a few million years. Dwarf galaxy models of coalescing double neutron stars and collapsars produce equally good agreement with long gamma-ray burst projected distances. Therefore our models cannot provide any distinction between which of these populations (coalescing double neutron stars or collapsars) are the progenitor of long gamma-ray bursts. The Galactic birth rate of double neutron star binaries in our model is 8.2 Myr−1 and the merger rate is 6.8 Myr−1. Scintillation is found to be an important aspect in the detection of low flux density pulsars. The assumed pulsar luminosity law is found to require an inverse trend with spin period and our favoured models suggest that there are one million radio active pulsars within the Galaxy.
- Publication type
- Thesis (PhD)
- Research centre
- Swinburne University of Technology. Faculty of Information and Communication Technologies. Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing
- Publication year
- Binaries; Double stars; Galaxies; Neutron stars; Pulsars; Stellar evolution
- Australasian Digital Theses collection
- Publisher URL
- Copyright © 2009 Paul Douglas Kiel.
- Thesis Supervisor
- [Jarrod R. Hurley]
- Thesis Note
- [A dissertation presented in fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Swinburne University of Technology, 2009.]
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