On tests of general relativity with binary radio pulsars

Walter Del Pozzo, Alberto Vecchio

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6 Citations (Scopus)
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The timing of radio pulsars in binary systems provides a superb testing ground of general relativity. Here we propose a Bayesian approach to carry out these tests, and a relevant efficient numerical implementation, that has several conceptual and practical advantages with respect to traditional methods based on least-squares fit that have been used so far: (i) it accounts for the actual structure of the likelihood function – and it is not predicated on the Laplace approximation which is implicitly built in least-squares fit that can potentially bias the inference – (ii) it provides the ratio of the evidences of any two models under consideration as the statistical quantity to compare different theories, and (iii) it allows us to put joint constraints from the monitoring of multiple systems, that can be expressed in terms of ratio of evidences or probability intervals of global (thus not system-dependent) parameters of the theory, if any exists. Our proposed approach optimally exploits the progress in timing of radio pulsars and the increase in the number of observed systems. We demonstrate the power of this framework using simulated data sets that are representative of current observations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L21-L25
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Early online date14 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2016

Bibliographical note

W. Del Pozzo, A. Vecchio; On tests of general relativity with binary radio pulsars, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters, Volume 462, Issue 1, 11 October 2016, Pages L21–L25, https://doi.org/10.1093/mnrasl/slw116


  • methods: data analysis
  • pulsars: general


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