[1008.0320] Pulsar timing array observations of gravitational wave source timing parallax

Authors: Xihao Deng, Lee Samuel Finn

Date: 2 Aug 2010

Abstract: Pulsar timing arrays act to detect gravitational waves by observing the small, correlated effect the waves have on pulse arrival times at Earth. This effect has conventionally been evaluated assuming the gravitational wave phasefronts are planar across the array, an assumption that is valid only for sources at distances $R\gg2\pi{}Lˆ2/\lambda$, where $L$ is physical extent of the array and $\lambda$ the radiation wavelength. In the case of pulsar timing arrays (PTAs) the array size is of order the pulsar-Earth distance (kpc) and $\lambda$ is of order pc. Correspondingly, for point gravitational wave sources closer than $\sim100$~Mpc the PTA response is sensitive to the source parallax across the pulsar-Earth baseline. Here we evaluate the PTA response to gravitational wave point sources including the important wavefront curvature effects. Taking the wavefront curvature into account the relative amplitude and phase of the timing residuals associated with a collection of pulsars allows us to measure the distance to, and sky position of, the source.

abs pdf

Aug 03, 2010

1008.0320 (/preprints)
2010-08-03, 00:15 [edit]


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