A chaotic attractor in Timing noise from the vela pulsar?

Alice K. Harding, Troy Shinbrot, James M. Cordes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


We have analyzed 14 years of timing residual data from the Vela pulsar in order to determine if a chaotic dynamical process is the origin of timing noise. Using the correlation sum technique, we obtain a dimension of ∼ 1.5. This low dimension indicates underlying structure in the phase residuals which may be evidence for a chaotic attractor. It is therefore possible that nonlinear dynamics intrinsic to the spin-down may be the cause of the timing noise in the Vela pulsar. However, we have found that the stimulated random walks in frequency and frequency derivative often used to model pulsar timing noise also have low fractal dimension, using the same analysis technique. Recent work suggesting that random processes with steep power spectra can mimic strange attractors seems to be confirmed in the case of these random walks. It appears that the correlation sum estimator for dimension is unable to distinguish between chaotic and random processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)588-596
Number of pages9
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 20 1990
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Pulsars


Dive into the research topics of 'A chaotic attractor in Timing noise from the vela pulsar?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this