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  1. ABSTRACT We searched for an isotropic stochastic gravitational wave background in the second data release of the International Pulsar Timing Array, a global collaboration synthesizing decadal-length pulsar-timing campaigns in North America, Europe, and Australia. In our reference search for a power-law strain spectrum of the form $h_c = A(f/1\, \mathrm{yr}^{-1})^{\alpha }$, we found strong evidence for a spectrally similar low-frequency stochastic process of amplitude $A = 3.8^{+6.3}_{-2.5}\times 10^{-15}$ and spectral index α = −0.5 ± 0.5, where the uncertainties represent 95 per cent credible regions, using information from the auto- and cross-correlation terms between the pulsars in the array. For a spectral index of α =more »−2/3, as expected from a population of inspiralling supermassive black hole binaries, the recovered amplitude is $A = 2.8^{+1.2}_{-0.8}\times 10^{-15}$. None the less, no significant evidence of the Hellings–Downs correlations that would indicate a gravitational-wave origin was found. We also analysed the constituent data from the individual pulsar timing arrays in a consistent way, and clearly demonstrate that the combined international data set is more sensitive. Furthermore, we demonstrate that this combined data set produces comparable constraints to recent single-array data sets which have more data than the constituent parts of the combination. Future international data releases will deliver increased sensitivity to gravitational wave radiation, and significantly increase the detection probability.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 19, 2023
  2. Abstract We present our current best estimate of the plausible observing scenarios for the Advanced LIGO, Advanced Virgo and KAGRA gravitational-wave detectors over the next several years, with the intention of providing information to facilitate planning for multi-messenger astronomy with gravitational waves. We estimate the sensitivity of the network to transient gravitational-wave signals for the third (O3), fourth (O4) and fifth observing (O5) runs, including the planned upgrades of the Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo detectors. We study the capability of the network to determine the sky location of the source for gravitational-wave signals from the inspiral of binary systemsmore »of compact objects, that is binary neutron star, neutron star–black hole, and binary black hole systems. The ability to localize the sources is given as a sky-area probability, luminosity distance, and comoving volume. The median sky localization area (90% credible region) is expected to be a few hundreds of square degrees for all types of binary systems during O3 with the Advanced LIGO and Virgo (HLV) network. The median sky localization area will improve to a few tens of square degrees during O4 with the Advanced LIGO, Virgo, and KAGRA (HLVK) network. During O3, the median localization volume (90% credible region) is expected to be on the order of $$10^{5}, 10^{6}, 10^{7}\mathrm {\ Mpc}^3$$ 10 5 , 10 6 , 10 7 Mpc 3 for binary neutron star, neutron star–black hole, and binary black hole systems, respectively. The localization volume in O4 is expected to be about a factor two smaller than in O3. We predict a detection count of $$1^{+12}_{-1}$$ 1 - 1 + 12 ( $$10^{+52}_{-10}$$ 10 - 10 + 52 ) for binary neutron star mergers, of $$0^{+19}_{-0}$$ 0 - 0 + 19 ( $$1^{+91}_{-1}$$ 1 - 1 + 91 ) for neutron star–black hole mergers, and $$17^{+22}_{-11}$$ 17 - 11 + 22 ( $$79^{+89}_{-44}$$ 79 - 44 + 89 ) for binary black hole mergers in a one-calendar-year observing run of the HLV network during O3 (HLVK network during O4). We evaluate sensitivity and localization expectations for unmodeled signal searches, including the search for intermediate mass black hole binary mergers.« less