Date of Award
Bachelor of Science
Physics and Astronomy
time, region, myr
Neutron stars are the remnants of massive stars after their deaths in supernova explosions. Some neutron stars, called pulsars, are detected as periodic emitters of radio waves at very precise intervals. Pulsars typically have higher velocities than their progenitor stellar population due to either kicks from supernova asymmetries or from remnant velocities of compact binaries after they are disrupted by explosions. Their velocities are large enough that pulsars will typically move large distances from their birth sites. By determining a pulsar's present day location and velocity, we project back to twice the pulsar's characteristic age to constrain the location of the progenitor star within the uncertainty of the unknown line-of-sight velocity component. Previous research by Hoogerwerf et al. (2001), Vlemmings et al. (2004), and Kirsten et al. (2015) has traced back two pairs of objects, the pulsars B2020+28 and B2021+51, and the pulsar and runaway star B1929 + 10 and ζ-Ophiuchi to determine their birth locations and found each pair was associated in some way. Using a Python implementation with the Galpy package, we replicate the results from this previous research and then project a new sample of 60 pulsars from the recent PSRPI survey back to determine their birth locations. The potential birth regions are a sample of 36 OB star associations selected from Tetzlaff et al. (2010). We also use this implementation to determine if there are any birth associations between two pulsars in our sample within the same region. We find that we can successfully model a pulsar's trajectory and determine a likely birth OB region for a pulsar with our model.
Shapiro-Albert, Brent, "Modeling Pulsar Trajectories Through a Galatic Potential to Determine Birth Locations" (2016). Honors Theses and Student Projects. 210.