Although physics of neutron stars as pulsars together with their emission mechanisms leave discussions open, such objects represent the best targets to be deeply investigated by photon counting through the high-speed photometry technique. In this scenario, the capability of devices based on the silicon photomultiplier technology allows detecting single photons with remarkable time resolutions (few tens of nanoseconds). Whenever performing (optical) ground-based observations of variable sources, time of arrivals of incoming photons must be corrected because Earth’s reference frame system is not inertial. Time corrections provide time of arrivals to be moved to the Solar System Barycentre inertial reference frame. If the pulsar belongs to a binary system, further corrective terms, due to the orbital motion of the companion star, have to be taken into account. In this chapter, we report experimental results obtained from observations performed on two different variable sources, the isolated Crab pulsar and Hz Her/Her X-1 binary system, with a very fast custom astronomical photometer.
Part of the book: Photon Counting