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Published July 1, 2019 | Submitted + Published + Erratum
Journal Article Open

Searches for Gravitational Waves from Known Pulsars at Two Harmonics in 2015-2017 LIGO Data


We present a search for gravitational waves from 222 pulsars with rotation frequencies ≳10 Hz. We use advanced LIGO data from its first and second observing runs spanning 2015–2017, which provides the highest-sensitivity gravitational-wave data so far obtained. In this search we target emission from both the l = m = 2 mass quadrupole mode, with a frequency at twice that of the pulsar's rotation, and the l = 2, m = 1 mode, with a frequency at the pulsar rotation frequency. The search finds no evidence for gravitational-wave emission from any pulsar at either frequency. For the l = m = 2 mode search, we provide updated upper limits on the gravitational-wave amplitude, mass quadrupole moment, and fiducial ellipticity for 167 pulsars, and the first such limits for a further 55. For 20 young pulsars these results give limits that are below those inferred from the pulsars' spin-down. For the Crab and Vela pulsars our results constrain gravitational-wave emission to account for less than 0.017% and 0.18% of the spin-down luminosity, respectively. For the recycled millisecond pulsar J0711−6830 our limits are only a factor of 1.3 above the spin-down limit, assuming the canonical value of 10^(38) kg m^2 for the star's moment of inertia, and imply a gravitational-wave-derived upper limit on the star's ellipticity of 1.2 × 10^(−8). We also place new limits on the emission amplitude at the rotation frequency of the pulsars.

Additional Information

© 2019 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2019 March 18; revised 2019 May 7; accepted 2019 May 8; published 2019 June 26. The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the United States National Science Foundation (NSF) for the construction and operation of the LIGO Laboratory and Advanced LIGO, as well as the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) of the United Kingdom, the Max-Planck-Society (MPS), and the State of Niedersachsen/Germany for support of the construction of Advanced LIGO and construction and operation of the GEO600 detector. Additional support for Advanced LIGO was provided by the Australian Research Council. The authors gratefully acknowledge the Italian Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN), the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), and the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter supported by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, for the construction and operation of the Virgo detector and the creation and support of the EGO consortium. The authors also gratefully acknowledge research support from these agencies, as well as by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research of India, the Department of Science and Technology, India, the Science & Engineering Research Board (SERB), India, the Ministry of Human Resource Development, India, the Spanish Agencia Estatal de Investigación, the Vicepresidència i Conselleria d'Innovació Recerca i Turisme and the Conselleria d'Educació i Universitat del Govern de les Illes Balears, the Conselleria d'Educació Investigació Cultura i Esport de la Generalitat Valenciana, the National Science Centre of Poland, the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, the Russian Science Foundation, the European Commission, the European Regional Development Funds (ERDF), the Royal Society, the Scottish Funding Council, the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance, the Hungarian Scientific Research Fund (OTKA), the Lyon Institute of Origins (LIO), the National Research, Development and Innovation Office Hungary (NKFI), the National Research Foundation of Korea, Industry Canada and the Province of Ontario through the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation, the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council Canada, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovations, and Communications, the International Center for Theoretical Physics South American Institute for Fundamental Research (ICTP-SAIFR), the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong, the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), the Leverhulme Trust, the Research Corporation, the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), Taiwan, and the Kavli Foundation. The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the NSF, STFC, MPS, INFN, CNRS, and the State of Niedersachsen/Germany for provision of computational resources. The Nançay Radio Observatory is operated by the Paris Observatory, associated with the French CNRS. We acknowledge financial support from the "Programme National Gravitation, Références, Astronomie, Métrologie (PNGRAM) and "Programme National Hautes Énergies (PNHE) of CNRS/INSU, France. Work at the Naval Research Laboratory is supported by NASA. We gratefully acknowledge the continuing contributions of the NICER science team in providing up-to-date spin ephemerides for X-ray-bright pulsars of interest to the LVC. NICER is a 0.2–12 keV X-ray telescope operating on the International Space Station. The NICER mission and portions of the NICER science team activities are funded by NASA. This work has been assigned LIGO document number LIGO-P1800344. Facilities: Arecibo - Arecibo observatory, Fermi - , LIGO - , Lovell - , Molonglo Observatory - , MtPO:26 m - , NICER - , NRT - , Parkes. - Software: Much of the analysis described in the paper was performed using the publicly available LALSuite library (LIGO Scientific Collaboration 2018). Production of many of the pulsar timing ephemerides used in this analysis was performed with Tempo206 and Tempo2 (Hobbs et al. 2006b). Figures in this publication have be produced using Matplotlib (Hunter 2007).

Attached Files

Published - Abbott_2019_ApJ_879_10.pdf

Submitted - 1902.08507.pdf

Erratum - Abbott_2019_ApJ_882_73.pdf

Erratum - Abbott_2020_ApJ_899_170.pdf


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Additional details

August 19, 2023
October 20, 2023