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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Authors

  • 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. Oslowski
  • 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
  • G. Shaifullah
  • R. Smits
  • S. R. Taylor
  • G. Theureau
  • R. van Haasteren

Colleges, School and Institutes

Abstract

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.

Bibliographic note

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, A. Vecchio; 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, Volume 457, Issue 4, 21 April 2016, Pages 4421–4440, https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stw179

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4421-4440
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume457
Issue number4
Early online date3 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2016

Keywords

  • gravitational waves, methods: data analysis, pulsars: general