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Probing the Local Interstellar Medium with Scintillometry of the Bright Pulsar B1133+16

McKee, James W.; Zhu, Hengrui; Stinebring, Daniel R.; Cordes, James M.


Hengrui Zhu

Daniel R. Stinebring

James M. Cordes


The interstellar medium hosts a population of scattering screens, most of unknown origin. Scintillation studies of pulsars provide a sensitive tool for resolving these scattering screens and a means of measuring their properties. In this paper, we report our analysis of 34 yr of Arecibo observations of PSR B1133 + 16, from which we have obtained high-quality dynamic spectra and their associated scintillation arcs, arising from the scattering screens located along the line of sight to the pulsar. We have identified six individual scattering screens that are responsible for the observed scintillation arcs, which persist for decades. Using the assumption that the scattering screens have not changed significantly in this time, we have modeled the variations in arc curvature throughout the Earth's orbit and extracted information about the placement, orientation, and velocity of five of the six screens, with the highest-precision distance measurement placing a screen at just ${5.46}_{-0.59}^{+0.54}$ pc from the Earth. We associate the more distant of these screens with an underdense region of the Local Bubble.


McKee, J. W., Zhu, H., Stinebring, D. R., & Cordes, J. M. (2022). Probing the Local Interstellar Medium with Scintillometry of the Bright Pulsar B1133+16. The Astrophysical journal, 927(1), Article 99.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 22, 2021
Online Publication Date Mar 8, 2022
Publication Date Mar 1, 2022
Deposit Date Nov 22, 2022
Publicly Available Date Nov 24, 2022
Journal The Astrophysical journal
Print ISSN 0004-637X
Publisher American Astronomical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 927
Issue 1
Article Number 99
Public URL


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