MeerTIME, the MeerKAT Pulsar Timing Programme, will exploit the newly constructed MeerKAT telescope to conduct a comprehensive programme of pulsar science concentrating on 6 distinct science projects. The 1000 Pulsar Array is one such project, designed to understand the pulsar population through regular monitoring of a large number of sources. Key science objectives of the project include: understanding the dependence of the pulse shape and polarization on the pulsar period and age; understanding the dependence of the radio emission height and geometry on the observing frequency; characterizing the temporal variability in pulsar emissions both intrinsic to the pulsar and relating to the line of sight through the interstellar medium. The purpose of these observations is to address specific questions on the pulsar population related to the shape and orientation of pulsar radio beams, the processes by which pulsars age, the complex interactions between magnetospheres and pulsar interiors, and the implications of the above on pulsar timing experiments for tests in fundamental physics.
MeerTIME has a membership of 73 researchers from 11 institutions worldwide. Aris Karastergiou (Oxford) and Simon Johnston (CSIRO, Sydney) lead the 1000 Pulsar Array Project. The PDRA will, as member of the MeerTIME collaboration, carry out key components of the research plan mentioned above, by taking on tasks in calibrating, cleaning, then deriving pulsar parameters from the data and interpreting the results. The PDRA will work closely with members of the MeerTIME team to supervise the regular MeerTIME observations, determine the observing strategy and epoch-to-epoch schedule, and publish key results pertaining to pulsar polarization, pulsar radio beams, and the pulsar population properties as a whole.
The PDRA will also have the opportunity to visit and spend time working with MeerTIME team members at the SARAO (South African Radio Astronomy Observatory) office in Cape Town.