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Limits on the Stochastic Gravitational Wave Background from the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves

Demorest, P. B. and Ferdman, R. D. and Gonzalez, M. E. and Nice, D. and Ransom, S. M. and Stairs, I. H. and Arzoumanian, Z. and Brazier, A. and Burke-Spolaor, S. and Chamberlin, S. J. and Cordes, J. M. and Ellis, J. and Finn, L. S. and Freire, P. and Giampanis, S. and Jenet, F. and Kaspi, V. M. and Lazio, J. and Lommen, A. N. and McLaughlin, M. and Palliyaguru, N. and Perrodin, D. and Shannon, R. M. and Siemens, X. and Stinebring, D. and Swiggum, J. and Zhu, W. W. (2013) Limits on the Stochastic Gravitational Wave Background from the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves. Astrophysical Journal, 762 (2). Art. No. 94. ISSN 0004-637X.

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We present an analysis of high-precision pulsar timing data taken as part of the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav) project. We have observed 17 pulsars for a span of roughly five years using the Green Bank and Arecibo radio telescopes. We analyze these data using standard pulsar timing models, with the addition of time-variable dispersion measure and frequency-variable pulse shape terms. Sub-microsecond timing residuals are obtained in nearly all cases, and the best rms timing residuals in this set are ~30-50 ns. We present methods for analyzing post-fit timing residuals for the presence of a gravitational wave signal with a specified spectral shape. These optimally take into account the timing fluctuation power removed by the model fit, and can be applied to either data from a single pulsar, or to a set of pulsars to detect a correlated signal. We apply these methods to our data set to set an upper limit on the strength of the nHz-frequency stochastic supermassive black hole gravitational wave background of h_c (1 yr^(–1)) < 7 × 10^(–15) (95%). This result is dominated by the timing of the two best pulsars in the set, PSRs J1713+0747 and J1909–3744.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Burke-Spolaor, S.0000-0003-4052-7838
Kaspi, V. M.0000-0001-9345-0307
Palliyaguru, N.0000-0002-4828-0262
Swiggum, J.0000-0002-1075-3837
Additional Information:© 2013 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2012 March 7; accepted 2012 November 15; published 2012 December 19. The NANOGrav project receives support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) PIRE program award number 0968296. NANOGrav research at UBC is supported by an NSERC Discovery Grant and Discovery Accelerator Supplement. P.B.D. acknowledges support from a Jansky Fellowship of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory during 2007–2010. A.N.L. gratefully acknowledges the support of NSF grant AST CAREER 07-48580. 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. The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the NSF operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc. The Arecibo Observatory is operated by SRI International under a cooperative agreement with the NSF (AST-1100968), and in alliance with Ana G. Méndez-Universidad Metropolitana, and the Universities Space Research Association. The authors thank Rutger van Haasteren for helpful discussions about his previous work on this topic.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)UNSPECIFIED
National Radio Astronomy ObservatoryUNSPECIFIED
NSFAST 07-48580
Subject Keywords:gravitational waves; methods: data analysis; pulsars: general; pulsars: individual (J0030+0451 J0613-0200 J1012+5307 J1455-3330 J1600-3053 J1640+2224 J1643-1224 J1713+0747 J1744-1134 J1853+1308 B1855+09 J1909-3744 J1910+1256 J1918-0642 B1953+29 J2145-0750 J2317+1439)
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130214-090255320
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Official Citation:P. B. Demorest et al 2013 ApJ 762 94
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:36918
Deposited By: JoAnn Boyd
Deposited On:19 Feb 2013 19:24
Last Modified:06 Nov 2019 20:58

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