Understanding the Galactic population of normal pulsars: A leap forward

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Anirban Chakraborty, Manjari Bagchi

We revisit the population of normal pulsars in the Galactic field in an `evolutionary' approach. By comparing the distributions of various parameters of synthetic pulsars detectable by the Parkes Multibeam Pulsar Survey, the Pulsar Arecibo L-band Feed Array Survey, and two Swinburne Multibeam surveys with those of the real pulsars detected by the same surveys, we find that a good and physically realistic model can be obtained by using a uniform distribution of the braking index in the range of 2.5 to 3.0, a uniform distribution of the cosine of the angle between the spin and the magnetic axis in the range of 0 to 1, a log-normal birth distribution of the surface magnetic field with the mean and the standard deviation as 12.85 and 0.55 respectively while keeping the distributions of other parameters unchanged from the ones most commonly used in the literature. We have also replaced the universal 'death-line' by a `death-condition' specific to each individual pulsar. We find that our model is better than the most popular model. With our improved model, we predict that an all-sky pulsar survey with phase-I SKA-MID will detect about nine thousand normal pulsars in the Galactic field. Among these pulsars, a considerable number will produce continuous gravitational waves in the operational range of the future ground-based gravitational waves detectors like LIGO A+, and in certain cases, the spin-down limit of the gravitational wave strains will be well below the detection sensitivity limit. We also provide a fit for the present-day distributions of the spin periods and 1400 MHz luminosities of the whole normal pulsar population in the Galactic field (which are potentially observable) and those can be used in future population studies under the snapshot approach.


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