Tuesday, June 25, 2013

1306.5394 (Chiara M. F. Mingarelli et al.)

Characterising gravitational wave stochastic background anisotropy with
Pulsar Timing Arrays

Chiara M. F. Mingarelli, Trevor Sidery, Ilya Mandel, Alberto Vecchio
Detecting a stochastic gravitational wave background, particularly radiation from individually unresolvable super-massive black hole binary systems, is one of the primary targets for Pulsar Timing Arrays. Increasingly more stringent upper limits are being set on these signals under the assumption that the background radiation is isotropic. However, some level of anisotropy may be present and the characterisation of the power at different angular scales carries important information. We show that the standard analysis for isotropic backgrounds can be generalised in a conceptually straightforward way to the case of generic anisotropic background radiation by decomposing the angular distribution of the gravitational wave power on the sky into multipole moments. We introduce the concept of generalised overlap reduction functions which characterise the effect of the anisotropy multipoles on the correlation of the timing residuals from the pulsars timed by a Pulsar Timing Array. In a search for a signal characterised by a generic anisotropy, the generalised overlap reduction functions play the role of the so-called Hellings and Downs curve used for isotropic radiation. We compute the generalised overlap reduction functions for a generic level of anisotropy and Pulsar Timing Array configuration. We also provide an order of magnitude estimate of the level of anisotropy that can be expected in the background generated by super-massive black hole binary systems.
View original: http://arxiv.org/abs/1306.5394

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