**Authors**: Latham Boyle, Ue-Li Pen

**Date**: 20 Oct 2010

**Abstract**: Pulsar timing arrays (PTAs) will be sensitive to a finite number of gravitational wave (GW) "point" sources (e.g. supermassive black hole binaries). N quiet pulsars with accurately known distances d_{pulsar} can characterize up to 2N/7 distant chirping sources per frequency bin \Delta f_{gw}=1/T, and localize them with "diffraction limited" precision \delta\theta \gtrsim (1/SNR)(\lambda_{gw}/d_{pulsar}). Even if the pulsar distances are poorly known, a PTA with F frequency bins can still characterize up to (2N/7)[1-(1/2F)] sources per bin, and the quasi-singular pattern of timing residuals in the vicinity of a GW source still allows the source to be localized quasi-topologically within roughly the smallest quadrilateral of quiet pulsars that encircles it on the sky, down to a limiting resolution \delta\theta \gtrsim (1/SNR) \sqrt{\lambda_{gw}/d_{pulsar}}. PTAs may be unconfused, even at the lowest frequencies, with matched filtering always appropriate.

1010.4337
(/preprints)

2010-10-24, 22:03
**[edit]**

© M. Vallisneri 2012 — last modified on 2010/01/29

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