Statistical Investigation of the Distribution of Pulsars in Space


FIFTY pulsars are now known and the distribution of angular coordinates in the sky, in relation to the galactic plane, can be used to infer information about the distribution in distance. The fundamental assumption that is made is that pulsars are distributed randomly in planes parallel to the plane of the Galaxy but that the mean density diminishes in the perpendicular direction in the same manner that the density of stellar and interstellar material is known to diminish with respect to the density in the plane. The distribution of ρ(z)/ρ(0), where ρ(z) is the mean density of stars and interstellar matter at a distance z above the galactic plane, was taken from Allen1. If pulsars are assumed to be of equal intrinsic intensity, then the observed distribution in galactic latitude would be an indication of their distribution in distance.

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GOLD, T., NEWMAN, H. Statistical Investigation of the Distribution of Pulsars in Space. Nature 227, 151–152 (1970).

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