‘Two by Two’

Part of the Springer Praxis Books book series (PRAXIS)


In the early 1970s, Dick Manchester was in the United States sharing an office with Joe Taylor at the University of Massachusetts. It was the beginning of a long professional relationship that survives to this day. While they collaborated on many projects, there was one that Taylor initiated that Manchester didn’t take part in. Taylor proposed to use the largest radio telescope in the world, the Arecibo radio telescope on the island of Puerto Rico, which borders the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. In order to gain time on any professional astronomical instrument, astronomers need to submit a proposal outlining what they hope to achieve, hopefully justifying in the eyes of the telescope’s managers1 why valuable telescope time should be given to the astronomer submitting the proposal. The goal of Taylor’s project was much the same as other pioneering pulsar surveys: push the limits of sensitivity and build up a statistical sample of pulsars in the Galaxy that would help astronomers understand them.


Neutron Star Gravitational Wave Soccer Ball Binary Pulsar Crab Pulsar 
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  1. 1.
    Specifically, a ‘time allocation committee’ that determines who gets to use the telescope, for how long. Sometimes optical astronomers find this frustrating since their allocated observing time is determined often months in advance. If it happens to be clouded on the evening of their observations, too bad.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    A ‘normal’ star of this mass would have been torn to shreds by the forces experienced in this system.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    The following explanation of gravitational waves was published in Ripples on a Cosmic Sea by David Blair and Geoff McNamara (Allen & Unwin, 1997).Google Scholar

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© Praxis Publishing Ltd. 2008

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