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Selection bias in dynamically measured supermassive black hole samples: consequences for pulsar timing arrays

Selection bias in dynamically measured supermassive black hole samples: consequences for pulsar timing arrays
Selection bias in dynamically measured supermassive black hole samples: consequences for pulsar timing arrays
Supermassive black hole–host galaxy relations are key to the computation of the expected gravitational wave background (GWB) in the pulsar timing array (PTA) frequency band. It has been recently pointed out that standard relations adopted in GWB computations are in fact biased-high. We show that when this selection bias is taken into account, the expected GWB in the PTA band is a factor of about 3 smaller than previously estimated. Compared to other scaling relations recently published in the literature, the median amplitude of the signal at f = 1 yr-1 drops from 1.3 × 10-15 to 4 × 10-16. Although this solves any potential tension between theoretical predictions and recent PTA limits without invoking other dynamical effects (such as stalling, eccentricity or strong coupling with the galactic environment), it also makes the GWB detection more challenging.
1745-3925
L6-L11
Sesana, Alberto
55ceb36d-17d3-4527-b63a-81c2f5944dd4
Shankar, Francesco
b10c91e4-85cd-4394-a18a-d4f049fd9cdb
Bernardi, Mariangela
51f0929c-ba65-4d9c-a814-673442f48d75
Sheth, Ravi K.
94b203a4-bea4-461b-a237-14d548264e15
Sesana, Alberto
55ceb36d-17d3-4527-b63a-81c2f5944dd4
Shankar, Francesco
b10c91e4-85cd-4394-a18a-d4f049fd9cdb
Bernardi, Mariangela
51f0929c-ba65-4d9c-a814-673442f48d75
Sheth, Ravi K.
94b203a4-bea4-461b-a237-14d548264e15

Sesana, Alberto, Shankar, Francesco, Bernardi, Mariangela and Sheth, Ravi K. (2016) Selection bias in dynamically measured supermassive black hole samples: consequences for pulsar timing arrays. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters, 463 (1), L6-L11. (doi:10.1093/mnrasl/slw139).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Supermassive black hole–host galaxy relations are key to the computation of the expected gravitational wave background (GWB) in the pulsar timing array (PTA) frequency band. It has been recently pointed out that standard relations adopted in GWB computations are in fact biased-high. We show that when this selection bias is taken into account, the expected GWB in the PTA band is a factor of about 3 smaller than previously estimated. Compared to other scaling relations recently published in the literature, the median amplitude of the signal at f = 1 yr-1 drops from 1.3 × 10-15 to 4 × 10-16. Although this solves any potential tension between theoretical predictions and recent PTA limits without invoking other dynamical effects (such as stalling, eccentricity or strong coupling with the galactic environment), it also makes the GWB detection more challenging.

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Accepted/In Press date: 13 July 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 15 July 2016
Published date: 21 November 2016
Organisations: Astronomy Group

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 400179
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/400179
ISSN: 1745-3925
PURE UUID: f41c09b5-72a8-47c7-b89a-4361957359cd

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Date deposited: 12 Sep 2016 15:14
Last modified: 16 Dec 2019 19:44

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