Two long-term intermittent pulsars discovered in the PALFA Survey

A. G. Lyne, B. W. Stappers, P. C. C. Freire, J. W. T. Hessels, V. M. Kaspi, B. Allen, S. Bogdanov, A. Brazier, F. Camilo, F. Cardoso, S. Chatterjee, J. M. Cordes, F. Crawford, J. S. Deneva, R. D. Ferdman, F. A. Jenet, B. Knispel, P. Lazarus, J. van Leeuwen, R. LynchE. Madsen, M. A. McLaughlin, E. Parent, C. Patel, S. M. Ransom, P. Scholz, A. Seymour, X. Siemens, L. G. Spitler, I. H. Stairs, K. Stovall, J. Swiggum, R. S. Wharton, W. W. Zhu

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32 Citations (Scopus)
We report the discovery of two long-term intermittent radio pulsars in the ongoing Pulsar Arecibo L-Band Feed Array survey. Following discovery with the Arecibo Telescope, extended observations of these pulsars over several years at Jodrell Bank Observatory have revealed the details of their rotation and radiation properties. PSRs J1910+0517 and J1929+1357 show long-term extreme bimodal intermittency, switching between active (ON) and inactive (OFF) emission states and indicating the presence of a large, hitherto unrecognized underlying population of such objects. For PSR J1929+1357, the initial duty cycle was fON = 0.008, but two years later, this changed quite abruptly to fON = 0.16. This is the first time that a significant evolution in the activity of an intermittent pulsar has been seen, and we show that the spin-down rate of the pulsar is proportional to the activity. The spin-down rate of PSR J1929+1357 is increased by a factor of 1.8 when it is in active mode, similar to the increase seen in the other three known long-term intermittent pulsars. These discoveries increase the number of known pulsars displaying long-term intermittency to five. These five objects display a remarkably narrow range of spin-down power ($\dot{E}\,\sim \,{10}^{32}\,\mathrm{erg}\,{{\rm{s}}}^{-1}$) and accelerating potential above their polar caps. If confirmed by further discoveries, this trend might be important for understanding the physical mechanisms that cause intermittency.