Likelihood methods for the detection and characterization of gamma-ray pulsars with the Fermi large area telescope
The sensitivity of the Large Area Telescope (LAT) aboard the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope allows detection of thousands of new gamma-ray sources and detailed characterization of the spectra and variability of bright sources. Unsurprisingly, this increased capability leads to increased complexity in data analysis. Likelihood methods are ideal for connecting models with data, but the computational cost of folding the model input through the multi-scale instrument response function is appreciable. Both interactive analysis and large projects---such as analysis of the full gamma-ray sky---can be prohibitive or impossible, reducing the scope of the science possible with the LAT. To improve on this situation, we have developed pointlike, a software package for fast maximum likelihood analysis of Fermi-LAT data. It is interactive by design and its rapid evaluation of the likelihood facilitates exploratory and large-scale, all-sky analysis. We detail its implementation and validate its performance on simulated data. We demonstrate its capability for interactive analysis and present several all-sky analyses. These include a search for new gamma-ray sources and the selection of LAT sources with pulsar-like characteristics for targeted radio pulsation searches. We conclude by developing sensitive periodicity tests incorporating spectral information obtained from pointlike.
- Pub Date:
- Physics, Astrophysics;Physics, Astronomy and Astrophysics;
- Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics;
- Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies
- Ph.D. thesis submitted to the University of Washington, Seattle