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NANOGrav 11 yr Data Set: Limits on Supermassive Black Hole Binaries in Galaxies within 500 Mpc

Arzoumanian, Zaven and Baker, Paul T. and Brazier, Adam and Brook, Paul R. and Burke-Spolaor, Sarah and Becsy, Bence and Charisi, Maria and Chatterjee, Shami and Cordes, James M. and Cornish, Neil J. and Crawford, Fronefield and Cromartie, H. Thankful and DeCesar, Megan E. and Demorest, Paul B. and Dolch, Timothy and Elliott, Rodney D. and Ellis, Justin A. and Ferrara, Elizabeth C. and Fonseca, Emmanuel and Garver-Daniels, Nathan and Gentile, Peter A. and Good, Deborah C. and Hazboun, Jeffrey S. and Islo, Kristina and Jennings, Ross J. and Jones, Megan L. and Kaiser, Andrew R. and Kaplan, David L. and Kelley, Luke Zoltan and Key, Joey Shapiro and Lam, Michael T. and Lazio, T. Joseph W. and Luo, Jing and Lynch, Ryan S. and Ma, Chung-Pei and Madison, Dustin R. and McLaughlin, Maura A. and Mingarelli, Chiara M. F. and Ng, Cherry and Nice, David J. and Pennucci, Timothy T. and Pol, Nihan S. and Ransom, Scott M. and Ray, Paul S. and Shapiro-Albert, Brent J. and Siemens, Xavier and Simon, Joseph and Spiewak, Renée and Stairs, Ingrid H. and Stinebring, Daniel R. and Stovall, Kevin and Swiggum, Joseph K. and Taylor, Stephen R. and Vallisneri, Michele and Vigeland, Sarah J. and Witt, Caitlin A. (2021) NANOGrav 11 yr Data Set: Limits on Supermassive Black Hole Binaries in Galaxies within 500 Mpc. Astrophysical Journal, 914 (2). Art. No. 121. ISSN 0004-637X. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/abfcd3.

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Supermassive black hole binaries (SMBHBs) should form frequently in galactic nuclei as a result of galaxy mergers. At subparsec separations, binaries become strong sources of low-frequency gravitational waves (GWs), targeted by Pulsar Timing Arrays. We used recent upper limits on continuous GWs from the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav) 11 yr data set to place constraints on putative SMBHBs in nearby massive galaxies. We compiled a comprehensive catalog of ~44,000 galaxies in the local universe (up to redshift ~0.05) and populated them with hypothetical binaries, assuming that the total mass of the binary is equal to the SMBH mass derived from global scaling relations. Assuming circular equal-mass binaries emitting at NANOGrav's most sensitive frequency of 8 nHz, we found that 216 galaxies are within NANOGrav's sensitivity volume. We ranked the potential SMBHBs based on GW detectability by calculating the total signal-to-noise ratio such binaries would induce within the NANOGrav array. We placed constraints on the chirp mass and mass ratio of the 216 hypothetical binaries. For 19 galaxies, only very unequal-mass binaries are allowed, with the mass of the secondary less than 10% that of the primary, roughly comparable to constraints on an SMBHB in the Milky Way. However, we demonstrated that the (typically large) uncertainties in the mass measurements can weaken the upper limits on the chirp mass. Additionally, we were able to exclude binaries delivered by major mergers (mass ratio of at least 1/4) for several of these galaxies. We also derived the first limit on the density of binaries delivered by major mergers purely based on GW data.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Baker, Paul T.0000-0003-2745-753X
Brook, Paul R.0000-0003-3053-6538
Burke-Spolaor, Sarah0000-0003-4052-7838
Becsy, Bence0000-0003-0909-5563
Charisi, Maria0000-0003-3579-2522
Chatterjee, Shami0000-0002-2878-1502
Cordes, James M.0000-0002-4049-1882
Cornish, Neil J.0000-0002-7435-0869
Crawford, Fronefield0000-0002-2578-0360
Cromartie, H. Thankful0000-0002-6039-692X
DeCesar, Megan E.0000-0002-2185-1790
Demorest, Paul B.0000-0002-6664-965X
Dolch, Timothy0000-0001-8885-6388
Elliott, Rodney D.0000-0002-9151-8918
Ferrara, Elizabeth C.0000-0001-7828-7708
Fonseca, Emmanuel0000-0001-8384-5049
Garver-Daniels, Nathan0000-0001-6166-9646
Gentile, Peter A.0000-0001-8158-683X
Good, Deborah C.0000-0003-1884-348X
Hazboun, Jeffrey S.0000-0003-2742-3321
Jennings, Ross J.0000-0003-1082-2342
Jones, Megan L.0000-0001-6607-3710
Kaiser, Andrew R.0000-0002-3654-980X
Kaplan, David L.0000-0001-6295-2881
Kelley, Luke Zoltan0000-0002-6625-6450
Key, Joey Shapiro0000-0003-0123-7600
Lam, Michael T.0000-0003-0721-651X
Lazio, T. Joseph W.0000-0002-3873-5497
Luo, Jing0000-0001-5373-5914
Lynch, Ryan S.0000-0001-5229-7430
Ma, Chung-Pei0000-0002-4430-102X
Madison, Dustin R.0000-0003-2285-0404
McLaughlin, Maura A.0000-0001-7697-7422
Mingarelli, Chiara M. F.0000-0002-4307-1322
Ng, Cherry0000-0002-3616-5160
Nice, David J.0000-0002-6709-2566
Pennucci, Timothy T.0000-0001-5465-2889
Pol, Nihan S.0000-0002-8826-1285
Ransom, Scott M.0000-0001-5799-9714
Ray, Paul S.0000-0002-5297-5278
Shapiro-Albert, Brent J.0000-0002-7283-1124
Siemens, Xavier0000-0002-7778-2990
Simon, Joseph0000-0003-1407-6607
Spiewak, Renée0000-0002-6730-3298
Stairs, Ingrid H.0000-0001-9784-8670
Stinebring, Daniel R.0000-0002-1797-3277
Stovall, Kevin0000-0002-7261-594X
Swiggum, Joseph K.0000-0002-1075-3837
Taylor, Stephen R.0000-0003-0264-1453
Vallisneri, Michele0000-0002-4162-0033
Vigeland, Sarah J.0000-0003-4700-9072
Witt, Caitlin A.0000-0002-6020-9274
Additional Information:© 2021. The American Astronomical Society. Received 2021 January 6; revised 2021 March 31; accepted 2021 April 11; published 2021 June 23. Author Contributions: We list specific contributions to this paper below. M.C. led the work on this paper, compiled the galaxy catalog, derived the mass ratio upper limits, and wrote the manuscript. S.J.V. ran the GW analysis. C.-P.M., T.J.W.L., and J.S. contributed with significant discussions in shaping the project. NANOGrav data are the result of the work of dozens of people over the course of more than 13 yr. Z.A., P.B.D., M.E.D., T.D., J.A.E., E.C.F., E.F., P.A.G., M.L.J., M.T.L., R.S.L., M.A.M., C.N., D.J.N., T.T.P., S.M.R., P.S.R., R.S., I.H.S., K.S., and J.K.S. developed the 11 yr data set. All authors are key contributing members to the NANOGrav collaboration. The NANOGrav project receives support from National Science Foundation (NSF) Physics Frontiers Center award No. 1430284. M.C. and S.R.T. acknowledge support from NSF, award No. 2007993. T.D. and M.L. acknowledge NSF AAG award No. 2009468. Part of this research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. We are grateful for computational resources provided by the Leonard E. Parker Center for Gravitation, Cosmology & Astrophysics at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, which is supported by NSF grant PHY-1626190. Data for this project were collected using the facilities of the Green Bank Observatory and the Arecibo Observatory. The Green Bank Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc. The Arecibo Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by the University of Central Florida in alliance with Yang Enterprises, Inc., and Universidad Metropolitana. Software: enterprise (Ellis et al. 2017), PTMCMCSampler (Ellis & van Haasteren 2017).
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:Galaxies; Supermassive black holes; Gravitational waves
Issue or Number:2
Classification Code:Unified Astronomy Thesaurus concepts: Galaxies (573); Supermassive black holes (1663); Gravitational waves (678)
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210630-144618114
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Official Citation:Zaven Arzoumanian et al 2021 ApJ 914 121
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:109666
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:30 Jun 2021 22:38
Last Modified:30 Jun 2021 22:38

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