‘Of Multibeams and RRATs’

Part of the Springer Praxis Books book series (PRAXIS)


One of my first memories of pulsar astronomy was a remark made by Dick Manchester from the Australia Telescope National Facility. I asked him what it was about pulsars that could keep a scientist of his calibre interested in the same subject for decades. His response stuck in my mind: ‘I think the thing that makes pulsar astronomy so interesting is that every few years something totally unexpected shows up.’ As we’ve seen, the very discovery of pulsars could be described as serendipitous, but that’s not a satisfactory description of what really takes place in pulsar science. Serendipitous is finding a dollar in the street while you‘re out walking the dog. What happened with the discovery of pulsars was the result of scientists like Antony Hewish creating an extraordinary new telescope, and the diligent and keen attentiveness of Jocelyn Bell to search through so much data looking for something that could easily have been passed over as interference. This is how it’s been throughout the story of pulsar astronomy: curiosity matched with outstanding expertise and sheer hard work have resulted in an amazing array of discoveries of these dead and dying stars.


Neutron Star Radio Emission Radio Telescope Galactic Plane Radio Wavelength 
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© Praxis Publishing Ltd. 2008

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