FM14.5.03 — Constraining Supermassive Black Hole Binary Dynamics Using Pulsar Timing Data

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Aug 13th at 11:25 AM until 11:50 AM

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Author(s): Justin Ellis1

Institution(s): 1. Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Caltech

Pulsar timing arrays (PTAs) offer a unique opportunity to detect low frequency gravitational waves (GWs) in the near future. In this frequency band, the expected source of GWs are Supermassive Black Hole Binaries (SMBHBs) and they will most likely form in an ensemble creating a stochastic GW background with the possibility of a few nearby/massive sources that will be individually resolvable. In this talk we present upper limits on the strength of the isotropic stochastic background of gravitational waves using the new 9-year North American NanoHertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav) data release. Using several published models for merger rate of SMBHBs we place meaningful constraints on the transition frequency at which environmental factors such as stellar hardening and circumbinary interactions become comparable to the energy loss due to GW emission.