Five years of pulsar flux density monitoring: refractive scintillation and the interstellar medium.
STINEBRING D.R., SMIRNOVA T.V., HANKINS T.H., HOVIS J.S., KASPI V.M., KEMPNER J.C., MYERS E. and NICE D.J.
Abstract (from CDS):
We have monitored the radio flux density of 21 pulsars on a daily basis for five years. The 610 MHz flux density time series for these pulsars range from nearly constant for the most distant and heavily scattered pulsars to rapidly varying, saturated time series for more nearby pulsars. The measured stability of the flux density from the most distant pulsars (variations less than 5%) implies that the average radio emission from pulsars, before it has been affected by propagation through the interstellar medium, is constant in strength on timescales of a few hours to several years. The modulation index of the flux density variations never exceeds 0.5, ruling out a density inhomogeneity spectrum with a steep power-law exponent (β>4). The flux density variations for 15 of the pulsars are consistent with a Kolmogorov turbulence spectrum over a range of more than 5 orders of magnitude in scattering strength, with no detectable presence of an inner scale. For these lines of sight we constrain the inhomogeneity slope to be in the range 3.5≤β≤3.7, which brackets the Kolmogorov value of β=3.67. The flux density variations are greater than predicted by this model for six pulsars–including the Crab and Vela–but this group is consistent with a Kolmogorov spectrum and an inner scale of ~1010 cm. The lines of sight to three of the other pulsars in this group pass through H II regions around young, hot stars. For six pulsars we have found a change in the slope of the intensity structure function, which could be connected with a change in the slope of the inhomogeneity power spectrum at a scale of ~1013 cm.
ISM: General - Stars: Pulsars: General - Radio Continuum: General - Scattering - Turbulence