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Event Number 5072

  Thursday, March 14th, 2019

Astronomy Colloquium
Building a Gravitational Wave Detector with Millisecond Pulsars
Time: 3:30 pm
Place: 4421 Sterling Hall, Coffee and cookies 3:30 PM, Talk begins 3:45 PM
Speaker: Joseph Swiggum, NANOGrav Postdoctoral Fellow Center for Gravitation, Cosmology, & Astrophysics University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Abstract: The Green Bank North Celestial Cap (GBNCC) pulsar survey aims to cover the full sky north of -40 degrees declination at 350 MHz using the Green Bank Telescope. One of the main science goals of the survey is to find new millisecond pulsars (MSPs) and rapidly assess their suitability for inclusion in pulsar timing arrays (PTAs). The North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav) currently monitors about 75 MSPs with sub-microsecond RMS residuals in an effort to detect low-frequency gravitational waves from merging supermassive black hole binaries. The best way to improve our sensitivity to the stochastic gravitational wave background is to add high-caliber MSPs to PTAs and this is also an essential strategy for long-term characterization of the gravitational wave signal. Over the past two years, ten MSPs have been discovered in the GBNCC pulsar survey. Several have already been added to NANOGrav and released to the International Pulsar Timing Array (IPTA) collaboration. I will discuss GBNCC survey sensitivity, search procedures, and assessments of new MSP discoveries for PTA inclusion, as well as how current yields inform our future strategies for gravitational wave detection and signal characterization.
Host: Robert Benjamin
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