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Astron. Astrophys. 322, 477-488 (1997)

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A study of the evolution of radio pulsars through improved population synthesis

J.W. Hartman 1, D. Bhattacharya 2, R. Wijers 3 and F. Verbunt 1

1 Astronomical Institute, Utrecht University, P.O.Box 80000, 3508 TA Utrecht, The Netherlands
2 Raman Research Institute, 560 080 Bangalore, India
3 Institute of Astronomy, Madingley Road, Cambridge 0HA CB3, UK

Received 9 May 1996 / Accepted 1 October 1996


We simulate the birth and evolution of radio pulsars throughout the Galaxy and their observation in a region around the Sun, using recently derived models for the velocity distribution of neutron stars and for the galactic distribution of free electrons. We confirm our previous result that the properties of the pulsar population are best described by models in which the magnetic field does not decay significantly during the pulsar lifetime. The small number of young pulsars at large distance to the Galactic Plane suggests that many pulsars are born with small velocities. We derive a birth rate of radio pulsars near the Sun of [FORMULA], and argue that this rate can be sustained by stars with mass [FORMULA] Msun, in OB-associations.

Key words: stars: neutron – pulsars: general

Send offprint requests to: F. Verbunt, verbunt@fys.ruu.nl

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1997

Online publication: June 5, 1998