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Paper: Gravitational-Wave Astronomy with a Pulsar Timing Array
Volume: 395, Frontiers of Astrophysics: A Celebration of NRAO's 50th Anniversary
Page: 261
Authors: Backer, D.C.; Demorest, P.B.
Abstract: A spatial array of millisecond-period pulsars can be used as a gravitational-wave telescope that is sensitive to radiation at nanohertz frequencies. Gravitational-wave detection by a Pulsar Timing Array (PTA) rests on the same principle that is used in laser interferometers: perturbation of the path of photons by the dynamic warping of space that propagates out from an object with a time-variable quadrupole mass moment. The most likely source of gravitational radiation in this frequency band is the stochastic background generated by the population of massive black holes throughout the universe. Cosmic strings are a potential other source. Current PTA programs are within an order of magnitude of detection of the black-hole spectrum. Developments in progress have the potential for a historic “direct detection” in the coming decade.
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