Relativistic Beaming of Radiation from Pulsars


THE observation that the pulsar CP 0328 radiates single pulses which seem to be basic elements of the total radio radiation, and which are highly polarized1, led at first to the suggestion that the mechanism of radiation was that of synchrotron radiation, forming a beam of radiation which swept across the observer as the source rotated. The shape of the elementary pulse, and the pattern of polarization across the pulse, were seen to be very similar to the angular distribution of radiation from a highly collimated beam of electrons, and it was suggested that the ratio of the pulse duration of the period of the pulsar provided a measure of the beam width of the radiation, and hence a measure of the energy of the electrons. On this hypothesis the width and polarization of the pulse would be expected to change with radio frequency. We have now looked for any such change in the elementary pulses from CP 0328, and we find none.

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  1. 1

    Clark, R. R., and Smith, F. G., Nature, 22l, 724 (1969).

  2. 2

    Gold, T., Nature, 218, 731 (1968).

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SMITH, F. Relativistic Beaming of Radiation from Pulsars. Nature 223, 934–936 (1969).

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