ALFA Pulsar surveys start!

Start of P-ALFA surveys

Thirteen enthusiastic pulsarists packed into the Arecibo control room today for the first observations of the ALFA Pulsar consortium! A pulsar was very quickly discovered!

The PALFA Consortium began its precursor survey on 2004, August 1. In the first hour of our first observing session on the inner Galaxy, we have discovered a 68 ms pulsar with a dispersion measure of about 170 pc/cm**3. It is strong enough to be detected in multiple scans with ALFA and 100 MHz WAPP spectrometers, but it is too weak to have been detected in previous pulsar surveys. The initial set of scans we obtained do not indicate any changes in pulsar period from any orbital Doppler effect, so the pulsar does not appear to be in a compact binary. Over the course of this month we will assess whether this is a young pulsar with high magnetic field or an old, recycled pulsar. The data with degraded time and frequency resolutions were processed in quasi-real time using code by Dunc Lorimer ported to the Arecibo Signal Processor developed at UC Berkeley, UBC and Princeton. Data will be reanalyzed at full resolution.

The Pulsar-ALFA Consortium

Present at observing:

* Fernando Camilo (Columbia),
* David Champion (Jodrell),
* Jim Cordes (Cornell),
* Julia Deneva (Cornell),
* Paulo Freire (NAIC),
* Jason Hessels (McGill),
* Daniel LePage (Cornell),
* Dunc Lorimer (Jodrell),
* David Nice (Princeton),
* Vijal Parikh (Cornell),
* Beth Reid (Princeton),
* Wouter Vlemmings (Cornell)

First new pulsar