Published February 21, 2024 | Version v1
Poster Open

Doubling the pulsar population in the Small Magellanic Cloud with MeerKAT

  • 1. Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics
  • 2. ROR icon University of Manchester


The Large Survey Project TRAPUM (TRAnsients and PUlsars with MeerKAT) has surveyed the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) to search for very rare extragalactic pulsars. Using powerful backends to exploit MeerKAT’s groundbreaking sensitivity and implement innovative observing and processing techniques, the survey has doubled the population of pulsars in the SMC and increased the total extragalactic population by 25%. 

The discoveries include a young, fast pulsar association in the Pulsar Wind Nebula of one of our targeted sources, the Supernova Remnant DEM S5. Moreover, we discovered another young energetic pulsar and its Pulsar Wind Nebula. Since only a handful of these exotic pulsar environments are known outside our galaxy, this discovery provides a unique opportunity to better understand them. These pulsars have both already exhibited one of the largest known Vela-like "glitches'' -- extreme starquake events. We have observed a third glitch in another, somewhat older discovery, meaning that nearly half of our pulsar discoveries are young and glitching. 

Our discoveries can reveal valuable information on neutron star formation, gravitational wave sources and Fast Radio Bursts, by allowing us to examine the effects of another galaxy's properties onto a neutron star population. 



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