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The noise properties of 42 millisecond pulsars from the European Pulsar Timing Array and their impact on gravitational-wave searches

Caballero, R. N. and Lee, K. J. and Lentati, L. and Desvignes, G. and Champion, D. J. and Verbiest, J. P. W. and Janssen, G. H. and Stappers, B. W. and Kramer, M. and Lazarus, P. and Possenti, A. and Tiburzi, C. and Perrodin, D. and Oslowski, S. and Babak, S. and Bassa, C. G. and Brem, P. and Burgay, M. and Cognard, I. and Gair, J. R. and Graikou, E. and Guillemot, L. and Hessels, J. W. T. and Karuppusamy, R. and Lassus, A. and Kiuchi, K. and McKee, J. and Mingarelli, C. M. F. and Petiteau, A. and Purver, M. B. and Rosado, P. A. and Sanidas, S. and Sesana, A. and Shaifullah, G. and Smits, R. and Taylor, S. R. and Theureau, G. and van Haasteren, R. and Vecchio, A. (2016) The noise properties of 42 millisecond pulsars from the European Pulsar Timing Array and their impact on gravitational-wave searches. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 457 (4). pp. 4421-4440. ISSN 0035-8711. doi:10.1093/mnras/stw179.

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The sensitivity of Pulsar Timing Arrays to gravitational waves (GWs) depends on the noise present in the individual pulsar timing data. Noise may be either intrinsic or extrinsic to the pulsar. Intrinsic sources of noise will include rotational instabilities, for example. Extrinsic sources of noise include contributions from physical processes which are not sufficiently well modelled, for example, dispersion and scattering effects, analysis errors and instrumental instabilities. We present the results from a noise analysis for 42 millisecond pulsars (MSPs) observed with the European Pulsar Timing Array. For characterizing the low-frequency, stochastic and achromatic noise component, or `timing noise', we employ two methods, based on Bayesian and frequentist statistics. For 25 MSPs, we achieve statistically significant measurements of their timing noise parameters and find that the two methods give consistent results. For the remaining 17 MSPs, we place upper limits on the timing noise amplitude at the 95 per cent confidence level. We additionally place an upper limit on the contribution to the pulsar noise budget from errors in the reference terrestrial time standards (below 1 per cent), and we find evidence for a noise component which is present only in the data of one of the four used telescopes. Finally, we estimate that the timing noise of individual pulsars reduces the sensitivity of this data set to an isotropic, stochastic GW background by a factor of >9.1 and by a factor of >2.3 for continuous GWs from resolvable, inspiralling supermassive black hole binaries with circular orbits.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Hessels, J. W. T.0000-0003-2317-1446
Mingarelli, C. M. F.0000-0002-4307-1322
Taylor, S. R.0000-0003-0264-1453
van Haasteren, R.0000-0002-6428-2620
Vecchio, A.0000-0002-6254-1617
Additional Information:© 2016 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. Accepted 2016 January 18. Received 2016 January 15. In original form 2015 October 30. First published online March 7, 2016. We are grateful to Mike Keith, Bill Coles and George Hobbs for useful discussions. Part of this work is based on observations with the 100-m telescope of the Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie (MPIfR) at Effelsberg. The Nançay Radio Observatory is operated by the Paris Observatory, associated with the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS). We acknowledge financial support from ‘Programme National de Cosmologie and Galaxies’ (PNCG) of CNRS/INSU, France. Pulsar research at the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics and the observations using the Lovell Telescope is supported by a consolidated grant from the STFC in the UK. The Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope is operated by the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON) with support from The Netherlands Foundation for Scientific Research NWO. RNC acknowledges the support of the International Max Planck Research School Bonn/Cologne and the Bonn-Cologne Graduate School. KJL gratefully acknowledge support from National Basic Research Program of China, 973 Program, 2015CB857101 and NSFC 11373011. PL acknowledges the support of the International Max Planck Research School Bonn/Cologne. SO is supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. JWTH acknowledges funding from an NWO Vidi fellowship and from the European Research Council under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP/2007-2013) / ERC Starting Grant agreement no. 337062 (‘DRAGNET’). CMFM was supported by a Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship within the 7th European Community Framework Programme. AS is supported by the Royal Society. This research was in part supported by ST's appointment to the NASA Postdoctoral Program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, administered by Oak Ridge Associated Universities through a contract with NASA. RvH is supported by NASA Einstein Fellowship grant PF3-140116.
Group:Space Radiation Laboratory, TAPIR
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)UNSPECIFIED
Programme National de Cosmologie et Galaxies (PNCG)UNSPECIFIED
Institut national des sciences de l'Univers (INSU)UNSPECIFIED
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)UNSPECIFIED
Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON)UNSPECIFIED
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO)UNSPECIFIED
International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) for Astronomy and AstrophysicsUNSPECIFIED
Bonn-Cologne Graduate School of Physics and AstronomyUNSPECIFIED
National Basic Research Program of China 973 Program2015CB857101
National Natural Science Foundation of China11373011
Alexander von Humboldt FoundationUNSPECIFIED
European Research Council (ERC)337062
Marie Curie FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
NASA Postdoctoral ProgramUNSPECIFIED
NASA Einstein FellowshipPF3-140116
Subject Keywords:gravitational waves; methods: data analysis; pulsars: general
Other Numbering System:
Other Numbering System NameOther Numbering System ID
Space Radiation Laboratory2016-32
Issue or Number:4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20160601-081940489
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:R. N. Caballero, K. J. Lee, L. Lentati, G. Desvignes, D. J. Champion, J. P. W. Verbiest, G. H. Janssen, B. W. Stappers, M. Kramer, P. Lazarus, A. Possenti, C. Tiburzi, D. Perrodin, S. Osłowski, S. Babak, C. G. Bassa, P. Brem, M. Burgay, I. Cognard, J. R. Gair, E. Graikou, L. Guillemot, J. W. T. Hessels, R. Karuppusamy, A. Lassus, K. Liu, J. McKee, C. M. F. Mingarelli, A. Petiteau, M. B. Purver, P. A. Rosado, S. Sanidas, A. Sesana, G. Shaifullah, R. Smits, S. R. Taylor, G. Theureau, R. van Haasteren, and A. Vecchio The noise properties of 42 millisecond pulsars from the European Pulsar Timing Array and their impact on gravitational-wave searches MNRAS (April 21, 2016) Vol. 457 4421-4440 doi:10.1093/mnras/stw179 First published online March 7, 2016
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:67516
Deposited By: Deborah Miles
Deposited On:17 Jun 2016 16:45
Last Modified:11 Nov 2021 03:50

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