RIT scientists develop machine learning techniques to shed new light on pulsars
New machine learning techniques developed by scientists at Rochester Institute of Technology are revealing important information about how pulsars—rapidly rotating neutron stars—behave. In a new study published by Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, the researchers outlined their new techniques and how they applied to study Vela, the brightest radio pulsar in the sky.
Pulsars can provide astrophysicists extremely accurate clocks because they emit beams of electromagnetic radiation, often at extraordinarily precise rates. But each pulse is different, and the sheer volume of pulses emitted leaves a lot for scientists to sift through to understand their characteristics. For example, Vela rotates about 11 times per second, providing about 120,000 pulses for scientists to analyze during a three-hour span using radio telescopes in Argentina operated by RIT and the Instituto Argentino de Radioastronomía (IAR).