Joataman Webpages

Pulsar Detection Observations

A System for Observing Pulsar Emissions


Introduction

The detection of pulsars is viewed as a major achievement by many in Amateur Radio Astronomy circles.  It would not be a stretch too far to say it is something of a minor 'Holy Grail'.  The difficulty of this activity has produced some dubious claims in the past - but fortunately there are many contemporary examples of successful pulsar detections by amateurs which comply with the scientific method and, as such, are good sources of information.

As a self-confessed 'pulsar-phile', I am the creator and administrator of the Neutron Star Group website, a listing of all known such scientifically-verified amateur attempts at pulsar detection and an overview of those attempts.

After many years of trying (more than four years starting from the end of 2012) I am happy to be counted as one of that successful group as of 1st May, 2017.

Structure of These Pages

Use the tabs at the top and bottom of the pages to navigate the project website - in particular the...

Background

The target pulsar was selected as B0833-45 (J0835-4510) as it is the strongest pulsar (5 Jy @ 400 MHz) and also happens to pass almost directly overhead at this location (34°S). Use the 'Vela' tab to view more details about Vela.

Initially attempts were made using spectral analysis to extract the pulsed signal, but this latest successful attempt utilises 'epoch folding'.

The antenna and low noise amplifiers are commercial products and data acquisition is achieved via a relatively inexpensive USB SDR - the RTL-SDR dongle.

The analysis software was written specifically for the NRARAO hardware setup.


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