Reaper is the graphical search tool review the results of the Parkes Multibeam survey reprocessing and store suitable candidates. 

It will only operate at Jodrell Bank Observatory, since the database of processing results are stored locally.

1. Getting Started
2. Reaper Start up
3. Reaper Main Display
4. Modes
5. PDM plot


1. Getting Started

  • Logon as pmsurv.
  • Be sure to set a DISPLAY environment.
  • Go to directory /psr/cvshome/ajf/reaper
  • Run script: rpt
  • rpt then asks a couple of questions:
    Enter printer name: maxwell
    Load all the data and configure the array? (y/n): n
      (Answering  y takes about  15 min )
  • A list of available tapes is shown with the 'current' tape no. 

  • rpt then prompts:

    Use current tape list? (y/n): n

      (Assuming a you want a new tape)
    Enter tape to search: 146
      (It is only necessary to enter the tape no.)
  • rpt then collects the candidate information and starts up Reaper. This takes a few minutes.

2. Reaper start up

    During start up various messages including numbers of candidates on the particular tape are displayed.

    After the graphical display comes up, it is advisable to force some array configuration:-

  • Use the middle mouse button (MMB) to select any candidate on the display. This will:
      Scan all the candidates for known pulsars and their harmonics.
      Put new detections on the web.
      Scan for previously selected Class candidates.
      After 4-5mins will display a pdm plot of a candidate.
  • Press the MMB again to return to the main display.
  • left-click on viewed candidates to load any previous selections.
  • right-click on delete mode to remove any candidates with a DM less than 3.

3. Reaper Main Display 

The display (shown above) consists of two main parts, a 2-D plot of the candidates using the selected axes and a cllickable menu of commands.

Menu items can also be selected from the keyboard using the character adjacent to the menu function.

Candidate plot

The axes are labelled with the selected parameters, see later, they default on start up to bc period and s/n found by pdm.

Each candidate is shown as a cross, which is white, red or green to show if it was found in the standard, accelerated or long period searches respectively.

The nature of the candidate (pulsar, class type etc.) can be shown with further coloured stars or circles overprinting it. The key is shown against various menu items.

A candidate's pdm can almost always be displayed by placing the cursor cross-hairs over it and clicking the MMB. Clicking the MMB again returns to the main display.

Menu Usage

Each menu item can be selected by right-clicking on it.

The top of the menu has the search algorithms being displayed, which can be toggled on-off ( a greyed out item shows that there is nothing loaded).

The middle section shows the different types of candidate to highlight, these can be on (white), off (purple), not loaded (grey) and a red item shows that it is suppressing the candidate.

At the bottom shows the different modes - zoom, delete etc which show how the  mouse is used. The active mode is highlighted.

On occasions a lot of processing is required the first time eg harmonic matching - which can cause a delay - subsequent selections will be quick, since the work has been done.

Other Elements

At the bottom left the period and DM refers to the last selected candidate.

The bottom right occasionally gives messages about what the system has just done.


4. Modes

Zoom Mode

Select ZOOM mode with a left-click on the menu item. Note the number on the line shows the depth of zooming.

Zoom-in: on the main display left-click on one corner of the required area, moving the mouse drags out a zoom box. Complete the zoom with another left-click. The zoom can be aborted with a right-click.

Zoom-out: right-click on the candidate plot will take you up one zoom level.

Re-zoom: to return to a lower zoom level (if one has previously been selected) right-click on the Zoom menu command. Useful for returning to where you were.

Re-centre: pressing space bar will recentre the display, with the same scale, on the cursor position (including over the menu). This is useful scrolling along increasing periods.

Automatic Print 

Print Class selns. causes automatic printing of any candidates that get selected for a class. Normally off (grey), a left-click turns it on (white). This function toggles.

Harmonic Mode

Select Ind. Harm mode from the menu.

Left-clicking on a candidate will show any simple harmonically related candidates in the same beam using a purple box. Note that the MMB does nothing in this mode.

Delete Mode

Select Delete mode on the menu. As with zoom the number indicates the number of delete operations. Note that candidates are never actually deleted, merely hidden from view.

Delete: select a box of candidates as with zoom mode. The second left-click will hide them.

Undelete: right-click will undelete a level of deletion, so candidates can be progressively returned to view.

Delete < 3 DM: typically candidates with a DM less than 3 are interference. So, to make this quick a right-click on the Delete command will perform this task.

Select Mode

Selecting this mode makes the left mouse button show a candidate's pdm plot. This is for 2 button mice.

If the latitude/longitude plot is being displayed then the MMB will highlight a targeted beam and the right mouse button will highlight a targeted known pulsar.

Right-clicking on the Sel mode/ web update forces a full website update.

5. PDM plot

Selecting a candidate will bring up the conventional pdm plot (above) showing all the usual characteristics. 

In addition an information line just above the dm-s/n plot shows if the candidate is a known pulsar or simple/complex harmonic of a known pulsar, if it has already got a class selection, proximity of a known pulsar or low dm warning.

When in this display, most keys/actions will merely return to the main display. The following have specific functions:

Selecting Class type: pressing - 1,2 or 3 - will designate the candidate's class type - new selections take presidence over previous selections. You cannot reclassify a known pulsar or harmonic. There will be a brief delay while there is a 'quick' update of the web site.

Print the plot: this may be automatic (see above) but pressing - p - will force a print.

View galactic position: right-click will take the main display to a b and l plot centred on the candidate's beam. This shows all the nearby known pulsars. Note that right-clicking on select axis will return to the plot that originally selected the candidate - a quick navigation. 

Remember class selection is not by specific candidate, but by direction, period and dm, so, for example, a selection in the standard search would also show in the accelerated search..


- remember class selection is not by specific candidate, but by direction, period and dm, so, for example, a selection in the standard search would also show in the accelerated search..

After Reaper loads it should display all the standard candidates with a
menu of options on the right. The options are left mouse clickable and
most toggle on/off.

Menu items in general - are active white, unloaded - grey, loaded and not
used purple, and hides candidates shown red.

Different search techniques show raw candidates in different colours -
standard - white; Segmented accl - red; and long period green.

Assuming the relevant ph file has been stored any candidate can be viewed
by clicking on it with the middle mouse button (only v. low s/n candidates
are not available).

The searches are the top 4 menu entries. They can be turned on and off and
are cumulative, in that they can be used together. The 'background cands'
shows or supresses any non-deleted/suppressed candidates.

Candidates characteristics... The next block of menu items show/suppress
or ignore different charateristics for candidates. eg Known pulsars are
taken from psrinfo and show fundamental and harmonics. Classx is clear,
Old Class1 from previous searches (before this reprocessing), viewed shows
candidates previously clicked on (shows where you have been); Highlighted
is a selection mode; Harmonics show candidates that have at least on other
harmonic - All, or 'fundamental' - defined as the greatest s/n, or
Non-fund - the others. >1 detection is for candidates with the same
periods either in 2 beams of the same pointing or 2 canmdidates in the
entire data set ( caution the update for the screen can be slow if viewing

This selects a sub-menu of the different available axes. left-mouse for x
and right mouse for y. Exiting goes back the main menu.

At the bottom are various modes. Print class - turns on/off auto printing
ph files selecting a class.

Highlight mode shows every candidate above or below a level (left or right
mouse) - this the follows around axes selection.

Ind harmonic mode will show the harmonics of a selected candidate (left

Zoom is the most useful, it selects areas to view (click on the diagonal),
right mouse reverses the sequence of zoom.

Delete removes blocks of candidates, right mouse reverses the process
(candidates are only hidden never lost forever!)

Pointing is useful only if you have a 2 button mouse and allows selecting
using left mouse click.

To exit type 'q' on the screen (not a mouse option to avoid mistakes).

Selecting classes...
After a candidate is selected and showing the ph file pressing 1,2 or 3
resepectively will assign it a class and automatically updates all the
files and web! A 'p' will print it - but at JBO.