Multimessenger Gravitational-wave Searches with Pulsar Timing Arrays: Application to 3C 66B Using the NANOGrav 11-year Data Set
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- When galaxies merge, the supermassive black holes in their centers may form binaries and emit low-frequency gravitational radiation in the process. In this paper, we consider the galaxy 3C 66B, which was used as the target of the first multimessenger search for gravitational waves. Due to the observed periodicities present in the photometric and astrometric data of the source, it has been theorized to contain a supermassive black hole binary. Its apparent 1.05-year orbital period would place the gravitational-wave emission directly in the pulsar timing band. Since the first pulsar timing array study of 3C 66B, revised models of the source have been published, and timing array sensitivities and techniques have improved dramatically. With these advances, we further constrain the chirp mass of the potential supermassive black hole binary in 3C 66B to less than (1.65 0.02) x 10(9) Musing data from the NANOGrav 11-year data set. This upper limit provides a factor of 1.6 improvement over previous limits and a factor of 4.3 over the first search done. Nevertheless, the most recent orbital model for the source is still consistent with our limit from pulsar timing array data. In addition, we are able to quantify the improvement made by the inclusion of source properties gleaned from electromagnetic data over "blind" pulsar timing array searches. With these methods, it is apparent that it is not necessary to obtain exact a priori knowledge of the period of a binary to gain meaningful astrophysical inferences.