[1211.4590] The imminent detection of gravitational waves from massive black-hole binaries with pulsar timing arrays

Authors: Sean T. McWilliams, Jeremiah P. Ostriker, Frans Pretorius

Date: 19 Nov 2012

Abstract: Recent observations of massive galaxies indicate that they double in mass and quintuple in size between redshift z = 1 and the present, despite undergoing very little star formation, suggesting that galaxy mergers drive the evolution. Since these galaxies will contain supermassive black holes, this suggests a larger black hole merger rate, and therefore a larger gravitational-wave signal, than previously expected. We calculate the merger-driven evolution of the mass function, and find that merger rates are 10 to 30 times higher and gravitational waves are 3 to 5 times stronger than previously estimated, so that the gravitational-wave signal may already be detectable with existing data from pulsar timing arrays. We also provide an explanation for the disagreement with past estimates that were based on dark matter halo simulations.

abs pdf

Nov 26, 2012

1211.4590 (/preprints)
2012-11-26, 11:43 [edit]


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

Tantum in modicis, quantum in maximis