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Probing Supermassive Black Holes with Gravitational Waves



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Recording Details

Speaker(s): 
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PIRSA Number: 
20030011

Abstract

Observations have shown that nearly all galaxies harbor massive or supermassive black holes at their centers. Gravitational wave (GW) observations of these black holes will shed light on their growth and evolution, and the merger histories of galaxies. Massive and supermassive black holes are also ideal  laboratories for studying strong-field gravity. Pulsar timing arrays (PTAs) use observations of millisecond pulsars to detect low-frequency GWs with frequencies ~1-100 nHz, and can detect GWs emitted by supermassive black hole binaries, which form when two galaxies merge. I will discuss source modeling and detection techniques for PTAs, as well as present limits on nanohertz GWs from the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav) collaboration.