Limits on anisotropy in the nanohertz stochastic gravitational-wave background

S. R. Taylor 1, 2 C. M. F. Mingarelli 3, 2 J. R. Gair 4 A. Sesana 5, 3 Gilles Theureau 6, 7 S. Babak 3 C. G. Bassa 8 P. Brem 3 M. Burgay 9 R. N. Caballero 10 D. J. Champion 10 Ismaël Cognard 7, 6 G. Desvignes 10 Lucas Guillemot 6, 7 J. W. T. Hessels 11, 12 G. H. Janssen 8 R. Karuppusamy 10 M. Kramer 10, 13 A. Lassus 7 P. Lazarus 3 L. Lentati 4 K. Liu 14 S. Osłowski 15 D. Perrodin 9 A. Petiteau 16 A. Possenti 9 M. B. Purver 8 P. A. Rosado 17, 18 S. A. Sanidas 8 R. Smits 19 B. Stappers 8 C. Tiburzi 9 R. van Haasteren 2 A. Vecchio 5 J. P. W. Verbiest 10
Abstract : The paucity of observed supermassive black hole binaries (SMBHBs) may imply that the gravitational wave background (GWB) from this population is anisotropic, rendering existing analyses sub-optimal. We present the first constraints on the angular distribution of a nanohertz stochastic GWB from circular, inspiral-driven SMBHBs using the $2015$ European Pulsar Timing Array data [Desvignes et al. (in prep.)]. Our analysis of the GWB in the $\sim 2 - 90$ nHz band shows consistency with isotropy, with the strain amplitude in $l>0$ spherical harmonic multipoles $\lesssim 40\%$ of the monopole value. We expect that these more general techniques will become standard tools to probe the angular distribution of source populations.
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S. R. Taylor, C. M. F. Mingarelli, J. R. Gair, A. Sesana, Gilles Theureau, et al.. Limits on anisotropy in the nanohertz stochastic gravitational-wave background. Physical Review Letters, American Physical Society, 2015, 115 (4), pp.041101. ⟨10.1103/PhysRevLett.115.041101⟩. ⟨insu-01265421⟩

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