Journal Article

Observing gravitational wave bursts in pulsar timing measurements

M. S. Pshirkov, D. Baskaran and K. A. Postnov

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 402, issue 1, pages 417-423
Published in print February 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online February 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2009.15887.x
Observing gravitational wave bursts in pulsar timing measurements

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We propose a novel method for observing the gravitational wave signature of supermassive black hole (SMBH) mergers. This method is based on the detection of a specific type of gravitational waves, namely gravitational wave burst with memory (BWM), using pulsar timing. We study the unique signature produced by BWM in anomalous pulsar timing residuals. We show that the present-day pulsar timing precision allows one to detect BWM due to SMBH mergers from distances of up to 1 Gpc (for the case of equal mass of 108 M SMBH). Improvements in the precision of pulsar timing together with an increase in the number of observed pulsars should eventually lead to the detection of a BWM signal due to the SMBH merger, thereby making the proposed technique complementary to the capabilities of the planned LISA mission.

Keywords: gravitational waves; pulsars: general; galaxies: evolution; cosmology: miscellaneous

Journal Article.  5285 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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