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Marcus Lower (Swinburne University of Technology)

Marcus Lower Colloquium: Massive scale pulsar timing with the Molonglo Observatory Synthesis Telescope

The Australia Telescope National Facility Colloquium
15:00-16:00 Wed 26 Feb 2020

Marsfield Lecture Theatre


The Molonglo Observatory Synthesis Telescope (MOST) played an integral role in the early years of pulsar astronomy, discovering more than half of all pulsars known at the time. More recently, the telescope underwent a series of upgrades — the UTMOST project — to transform it into a modern, radio transient detecting machine. Its wide field of view, large collecting area and fully autonomous scheduling system has enabled the discovery of more than a dozen fast radio bursts, new pulsar candidates, and monitoring of hundreds of radio pulsars with daily to weekly cadences. High cadence observations of a large sample of pulsars are required to better understand the impact of short-term and transient pulsar phenomenon, such as sudden spin-up events (glitches), profile variations and spin-down state switching on their long-term rotational evolution. This unique capability among Southern Hemisphere telescopes will soon be enhanced through upgrades to the telescope’s currently unused North-South arms as part of the UTMOST-2D project.

In this talk I will describe the telescope’s current status and the motivations behind its large-scale pulsar timing programme. This includes an overview of the early science results to come out of the pulsar search and timing programmes, including a recent study on how rotational irregularities vary across the pulsar population. I will conclude with the current progress of the upgrade to the North-South observing system, and a brief outline potential future upgrades to the telescope.


Andrew Cameron

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