Journal Article

The optimal schedule for pulsar timing array observations

K. J. Lee, C. G. Bassa, G. H. Janssen, R. Karuppusamy, M. Kramer, R. Smits and B. W. Stappers

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 423, issue 3, pages 2642-2655
Published in print July 2012 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online June 2012 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
The optimal schedule for pulsar timing array observations

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In order to maximize the sensitivity of pulsar timing arrays to a stochastic gravitational wave background, we present computational techniques to optimize observing schedules. The techniques are applicable to both single- and multitelescope experiments. The observing schedule is optimized for each telescope by adjusting the observing time allocated to each pulsar while keeping the total amount of observing time constant. The optimized schedule depends on the timing noise characteristics of each individual pulsar as well as the performance of instrumentation. Several examples are given to illustrate the effects of different types of noise. A method to select the most suitable pulsars to be included in a pulsar timing array project is also presented.

Keywords: gravitational waves; pulsars: general

Journal Article.  9169 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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