[0805.3103] Limits on the speed of gravitational waves from pulsar timing

Authors: D. Baskaran, A. G. Polnarev, M. S. Pshirkov, K. A. Postnov

Date: 20 May 2008

Abstract: In this work, analyzing the propagation of electromagnetic waves in the field of gravitational waves, we show the presence and significance of the so called surfing effect for pulsar timing measurements. It is shown that, due to the transverse nature of gravitational waves, the surfing effect leads to enormous pulsar timing residuals if the speed of gravitational waves is smaller than speed of light. This fact allows to place significant constraints on parameter $\epsilon$, which characterizes the relative deviation of the speed of gravitational waves from the speed of light. We show that the existing constraints from pulsar timing measurements already place stringent limits on $\epsilon$ and consequently on the mass of graviton $m_g$. These limits on $m_g$ are three orders of magnitude stronger than the current constraints from Solar System tests. The current constraints also allow to rule out massive gravitons as possible candidates for cold dark matter in galactic halo. In the near future, the gravitational wave background from extragalactic super massive black hole binaries, along with the expected sub-microsecond pulsar timing accuracy, will allow to achieve constrains of $\epsilon\lesssim 0.4\%$ and possibly stronger.

abs pdf

May 22, 2008

0805.3103 (/preprints)
2008-05-22, 08:35 [edit]

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