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Multi-Messenger Astrophysics with Pulsar Timing Arrays


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Kelley, Luke Zoltan 
Charisi, Maria 
Burke-Spolaor, Sarah 
Simon, Joseph 
Blecha, Laura 


Pulsar timing arrays (PTAs) are on the verge of detecting low-frequency gravitational waves (GWs) from supermassive black hole binaries (SMBHBs). With continued observations of a large sample of millisecond pulsars, PTAs will reach this major milestone within the next decade. Already, SMBHB candidates are being identified by electromagnetic surveys in ever-increasing numbers; upcoming surveys will enhance our ability to detect and verify candidates, and will be instrumental in identifying the host galaxies of GW sources. Multi-messenger (GW and electromagnetic) observations of SMBHBs will revolutionize our understanding of the co-evolution of SMBHs with their host galaxies, the dynamical interactions between binaries and their galactic environments, and the fundamental physics of accretion. Multi-messenger observations can also make SMBHBs 'standard sirens' for cosmological distance measurements out to z≃0.5. LIGO has already ushered in breakthrough insights in our knowledge of black holes. The multi-messenger detection of SMBHBs with PTAs will be a breakthrough in the years 2020−2030 and beyond, and prepare us for LISA to help complete our views of black hole demographics and evolution at higher redshifts.



astro-ph.HE, astro-ph.HE

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STFC (ST/P000673/1)