Since the year 2005, the Parkes Pulsar Timing Array (PPTA) project has been placing ever more stringent constraints on the amplitude of a gravitational wave background signal. Such upper bounds on the amplitude of the gravitational wave signal are currently dominated by a single pulsar: PSR J1909-3744. The upper bound with this pulsar alone already cuts into the range of tenable theoretical models. Further reducing the amplitude bound (by continued regular observations of this pulsar) will significantly narrow that range. The first evidence of gravitational waves in the pulsar data are likely to be observed in the timing for PSR J1909-3744, but with only a single pulsar we will not be able to make an unambiguous detection. However, knowledge of the likely signal strength (derived from this pulsar) will help to optimise the observing strategy for the detection of the gravitational wave signals with existing or future pulsar timing arrays.
|Date made available
|1 Dec 2020