Gravitational wave hotspots: Ranking potential locations of single-source gravitational wave emission

Joseph Simon, Abigail Polin, Andrea Lommen, Ben Stappers, Lee Samuel Finn, F. A. Jenet, B. Christy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The steadily improving sensitivity of pulsar timing arrays (PTAs) suggests that gravitational waves (GWs) from supermassive black hole binary (SMBHB) systems in the nearby universe will be detectable sometime during the next decade. Currently, PTAs assume an equal probability of detection from every sky position, but as evidence grows for a non-isotropic distribution of sources, is there a most likely sky position for a detectable single source of GWs? In this paper, a collection of Galactic catalogs is used to calculate various metrics related to the detectability of a single GW source resolvable above a GW background, assuming that every galaxy has the same probability of containing an SMBHB. Our analyses of these data reveal small probabilities that one of these sources is currently in the PTA band, but as sensitivity is improved regions of consistent probability density are found in predictable locations, specifically around local galaxy clusters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number60
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 20 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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