A polarised view of the pulses of radio pulsars

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Physics and Astronomy


The defining characteristic of radio pulsars is their periodic pulses which can be detected by radio telescopes. The stars that generate these radio pulses are neutron stars, super dense stars with a mass of ~1.5 solar masses and a radius of only ~10 km. The radio waves are thought to be generated under extreme conditions in the magnetosphere above the magnetic poles of the star, making the star act as a "light house". In this project you will analyse the polarization properties of both younger and older pulsars observed by the Parkes telescope in Austrialia and the Lovell telescope in Jodrell Bank. The polarization information can be used to derive geometrical information about these pulsars, such as the inclination angle of the radio beam with respect to the magnetic axis and the orientation of the line of sight. Recent analysis by a Manchester student revealed tensions between the derived inclination angle distribution and well established models which are used to explain the observed gamma-rays for the young and energetic pulsars. You will explore these tensions further by considering the population of older pulsars and investigating alternative beam-shape models. Although the analysis of the radio data will be done mainly with existing software, programming skills are required to automate the processing of large data-sets and test statistical models.


10 25 50

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ST/N504178/1 01/10/2015 31/03/2021
1963541 Studentship ST/N504178/1 05/09/2017 31/03/2021 Crispin Agar
ST/R504956/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2021
1963541 Studentship ST/R504956/1 05/09/2017 31/03/2021 Crispin Agar
Description Collaboration with the NAOC/FAST team 
Organisation National Astronomical Observatories of China
Country China 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Assisted in the analysis of pulsar observations made with the five-hundred-metre spherical telescope (FAST) during its commissioning phase.
Collaborator Contribution Analysis of pulsar observations made with the five-hundred-metre spherical telescope (FAST) during its commissioning phase.
Impact Paper: PSR J1926-0652: A Pulsar with Interesting Emission Properties Discovered at FAST (https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/1538-4357/ab1849)
Start Year 2018