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Time transfer using near-synchronous reception of optical pulsar signals

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1 Author(s)

The concept of time transfer between two geographically separated locations by using nearly simultaneous reception times from a common transmission has been used very fruitfully, e.g., the TV line-10 time transfer system and Loran-C. Some germane aspects of the concept are discussed and use of a signal from the optical pulsar NP0532 as the common transmitter is considered. Theoretical considerations suggest that time could be transferred using this mode to an accuracy of about 2 µs and with global coverage. Some data were made available from Lawrence Radiation Laboratory giving the dates of pulsar events received at their observatory and also at the Harvard Observatory. A precision of about 13 µs was inferred from the data analysis. This optical pulsar time transfer system seems to be feasible and worthy of further consideration because of the high accuracy and precision (a few microseconds for both) potentially achievable. For this potential, the development costs appear to be favorably competitive.

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Proceedings of the IEEE  (Volume:60 ,  Issue: 5 )