| With the EVN on 4 Nov 2010, we observed PSR J0218+4232, a millisecond pulsar spinning at a period of 2.3 millisecond. As the pulsar is one of the brightest pulsars in the X-rays, it has been identified as an important beacon in building a GPS-like navigation system.
This was the first millisecond pulsar user experiment correlated on the new SFXC software correlator at JIVE via its new function, binning correlation, which can align pulse signal and remove off-pulse data.
The above image shows the preliminary total intensity image from the EVN pipeline calibration. The millisecond pulsar has a peak brightness ~0.7 mJy/beam (SNR ~20). The image origin reflects the position inferred from timing observations, including timing-derived proper motion, and the offset shows the residual error (~50 mas). Here, VLBI astrometry will help to reduce the input covariances of the pulsar timing solutions. A possible application could be a network of X-ray pulsars with good astrometric and timing solutions serving as beacons for navigation of deep-space satellites carrying small X-ray detectors.
Jun YANG (JIVE) and Ding CHEN (National Time Service Centre, Chinese Academy of Sciences, P.R. China)