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Title: THE BENEFITS OF VLBI ASTROMETRY TO PULSAR TIMING ARRAY SEARCHES FOR GRAVITATIONAL RADIATION

Precision astrometry is an integral component of successful pulsar timing campaigns. Astrometric parameters are commonly derived by fitting them as parameters of a timing model to a series of pulse times of arrival (TOAs). TOAs measured to microsecond precision over spans of several years can yield position measurements with sub-milliarcsecond precision. However, timing-based astrometry can become biased if a pulsar displays any red spin noise or a red signal produced by the stochastic gravitational wave background. We investigate how noise of different spectral types is absorbed by timing models, leading to significant estimation biases in the astrometric parameters. We find that commonly used techniques for fitting timing models in the presence of red noise (Cholesky whitening) prevent the absorption of noise into the timing model remarkably well if the time baseline of observations exceeds several years, but are inadequate for dealing with shorter pulsar data sets. Independent of timing, pulsar-optimized very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) is capable of providing position estimates precise to the sub-milliarcsecond levels needed for high-precision timing. In order to make VLBI astrometric parameters useful in pulsar timing models, the transformation between the International Celestial Reference Frame (ICRF) and the dynamical solar system ephemeris used for pulsarmore » timing must be constrained to within a few microarcseconds. We compute a transformation between the ICRF and pulsar timing frames and quantitatively discuss how the transformation will improve in coming years. We find that incorporating VLBI astrometry into the timing models of pulsars for which only a couple of years of timing data exist will lead to more realistic assessments of red spin noise and could enhance the amplitude of gravitational wave signatures in post-fit timing residuals by factors of 20 or more.« less
Authors:
; ;  [1]
  1. Department of Astronomy and Center for Radiophysics and Space Research, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14850 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22270606
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 777; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ACCURACY; ASTRONOMY; ASTROPHYSICS; GRAVITATIONAL RADIATION; GRAVITATIONAL WAVES; INTERFEROMETRY; NOISE; PULSARS; SOLAR SYSTEM; SPIN; STOCHASTIC PROCESSES; TRANSFORMATIONS