6.1 AcknowledgmentsBinary and Millisecond Pulsars at 5.3 Going further

6 Summary and Future Prospects 

The main aim of this article was to review some of the many astrophysical applications provided by the present sample of binary and millisecond radio pulsars. The topics covered here, along with the bibliography and associated tables of observational parameters, should be useful to those wishing to delve deeper into the vast body of literature that exists. We now briefly recap on the main issues.

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 [174]) and in the longer term (the Square Kilometer Array [242]). These should provide a far more complete census of the Galactic pulsar population. Possible discoveries in the future include:

Spurred on by recent discoveries [47Jump To The Next Citation Point In The Article, 154Jump To The Next Citation Point In The Article, 199Jump To The Next Citation Point In The Article, 62Jump To The Next Citation Point In The Article], a number of high-sensitivity searches for pulsars in globular clusters are being conducted. These have tremendous potential for discovering new and exotic binary systems like a millisecond pulsar-black hole binary.

6.1 AcknowledgmentsBinary and Millisecond Pulsars at 5.3 Going further

image Binary and Millisecond Pulsars at the New Millennium
Duncan R. Lorimer
© Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. ISSN 1433-8351
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