Through an understanding of the Galactic population of radio pulsars summarised in § 3 it is possible to predict the detection statistics of terrestrial gravitational wave detectors to nearby rapidly spinning neutron stars (§ 3.3), as well as coalescing relativistic binaries at cosmic distances (§ 3.4). Continued improvements in gravitational wave detector sensitivities should result in a number of interesting developments and contributions in this area. These developments and contributions might include the detection of presently known radio pulsars, as well as a population of coalescing binary systems which have not yet been detected as radio pulsars. The phenomenal timing stability of radio pulsars leads naturally to a large number of applications, including their use as laboratories for relativistic gravity (§ 4.5) and as natural detectors of gravitational radiation (§ 5). Long-term timing experiments of the present sample of millisecond and binary pulsars currently underway appear to have tremendous potential in these areas and perhaps detect the gravitational wave background (if it exists) within the next decade.
These applications will benefit greatly from the continued discovery of new systems by the present generation of radio pulsar searches which continue to probe new areas of parameter space. Based on the results presented in § 3.3, it is clear that we are aware of only about 1% of the total active pulsar population in our Galaxy. It is therefore likely that we have not seen all of the pulsar zoo. More sensitive surveys are being planned both in the short term (a multibeam system on the Arecibo telescope ) and in the longer term (the Square Kilometer Array ). These should provide a far more complete census of the Galactic pulsar population. Possible discoveries in the future include:
|Binary and Millisecond Pulsars at the New Millennium
Duncan R. Lorimer
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