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Astron. Astrophys. 326, 924-928 (1997)

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A statistic for describing pulsar and clock stabilities

Demetrios N. Matsakis 1, J. H. Taylor 2 and T. Marshall Eubanks 1

1 U.S. Naval Observatory, 3450 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC 20392-5420, USA
2 Joseph Henry Laboratories and Physics Department, Princeton University, Princeton NJ 08544, USA

Received 23 September 1996 / Accepted 2 June 1997

Abstract

We propose a statistical measure suitable for comparing the rotational stabilities of pulsars with one another and with terrestrial time scales. By a simple extension of notation long used in the clock community, we call the statistic [FORMULA]. Defined in terms of third-order polynomials fitted to sequences of measured time offsets, [FORMULA] is sensitive to variations in the frequency drift rate of the clock or pulsar. We apply the new statistical formalism to real pulsar data and terrestrial time scales, and show that over the past 10 years these two kinds of data have comparable stabilities.

Key words: time - pulsars:general - pulsars: B1937+21 B1855+09

Send offprint requests to: D. N. Matsakis

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