Contact information

Prof. Dr. Bruce Allen
Director
Phone:+49 511 762-17148Fax:+49 511 762-17182

Albert Einstein Institute Hannover

http://www.aei.mpg.de/

Press contact

Dr. Benjamin Knispel
Dr. Benjamin Knispel
Press Officer AEI Hannover
Phone:+49 511 762-19104Fax:+49 511 762-17182

Albert Einstein Institute Hannover

http://www.aei.mpg.de

Further Information

Original publication

1.
H. J. Pletsch et al.
Discovery of Nine Gamma-Ray Pulsars in Fermi-LAT Data Using a New Blind Search Method

Beacons in space - Pulsars are fascinating celestial bodies with an interesting history. Zoom Image
Beacons in space - Pulsars are fascinating celestial bodies with an interesting history.
Nine new Fermi pulsars (magenta) were located in LAT data thanks to new and more efficient analysis methods originally developed to search for gravitational waves. With these new finds, Fermi has detected more than 100 gamma-ray pulsars. Zoom Image
Nine new Fermi pulsars (magenta) were located in LAT data thanks to new and more efficient analysis methods originally developed to search for gravitational waves. With these new finds, Fermi has detected more than 100 gamma-ray pulsars. [less]

This animation illustrates how analysis of Fermi data reveals new pulsars. Fermi's LAT records the precise time and position of the gamma rays it detects, but to identify a pulsar requires additional information -- its position in the sky, its pulse period, and the way the pulse changes over time. Additionally, even Fermi's sensitive LAT detects few gamma rays from these objects -- as few as one photon per 100,000 rotations. The Hannover team used new methods to execute a so-called blind search, using computers to check many different combinations of position and period against the 8,000 photons Fermi's LAT has collected during its three years in orbit. When photons from the pulses align in time, a new gamma-ray pulsar has been discovered.
© AEI/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Pulsar candidates from the blind search were analyzed in detail using the Atlas computing cluster at the Albert Einstein Institute in Hannover, Germany. Atlas is as powerful 3,500 typical desktop computers and brings to bear about a hundred times more computing power than that used in previous blind searches. Zoom Image
Pulsar candidates from the blind search were analyzed in detail using the Atlas computing cluster at the Albert Einstein Institute in Hannover, Germany. Atlas is as powerful 3,500 typical desktop computers and brings to bear about a hundred times more computing power than that used in previous blind searches. [less]
Since 2005, the Einstein@Home distributed computing project has been using downtime on the desktop computers of thousands of volunteers to search for gravitational waves and for pulsars in radio data. In July, Einstein@Home users began receiving "work units" of Fermi LAT to search for gamma-ray pulsars. Zoom Image
Since 2005, the Einstein@Home distributed computing project has been using downtime on the desktop computers of thousands of volunteers to search for gravitational waves and for pulsars in radio data. In July, Einstein@Home users began receiving "work units" of Fermi LAT to search for gamma-ray pulsars. [less]
Panel 9a Zoom Image
Panel 9a
Panel 9b Zoom Image
Panel 9b
Positions of the nine gamma pulsars (Pletsch et al., ApJ), with stellar constellations in the background. Zoom Image
Positions of the nine gamma pulsars (Pletsch et al., ApJ), with stellar constellations in the background.
 
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