2 An Introduction to Pulsar 1 Preamble1 Preamble

1.1 What's new in this review?

Since the first version of this article was written back in 1997/8 [128] a number of pulsar surveys using the Parkes radio telescope [157] have discovered almost 700 pulsars. As a result, the sample size is now double what it was in 1997. Many of the exciting new discoveries from these searches are discussed in this review. Up-to-date tables of parameters of binary and millisecond pulsars are included as an appendix. Several new sections/figures have been added and existing sections reworked and modularized to make the review more self-contained and (hopefully!) easier to read in an html setting. We begin in §  2 with an overview of the pulsar phenomenon, the key observed population properties, the origin and evolution of pulsars and an introduction to pulsar search techniques. In §  3, we review present understanding in pulsar demography, discussing selection effects and the techniques used to correct for them in the observed sample. This leads to robust estimates of the total number of normal and millisecond pulsars (§  3.3) and relativistic binaries (§  3.4) in the Galaxy and has implications for the detection of gravitational radiation from these systems. We discuss pulsar timing in §  4 . One application of these exceptional clocks, a sensitive detector of long-period gravitational waves, is discussed in §  5 . We conclude with a brief outlook to the future in §  6 .

2 An Introduction to Pulsar 1 Preamble1 Preamble

image Binary and Millisecond Pulsars at the New Millennium
Duncan R. Lorimer
http://www.livingreviews.org/lrr-2001-5
© Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. ISSN 1433-8351
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