Bayesian solar wind modeling with pulsar timing arrays

Jeffrey S. Hazboun, Joseph Simon, Dustin R. Madison, Zaven Arzoumanian, H. Thankful Cromartie, Kathryn Crowter, Megan E. DeCesar, Paul B. Demorest, Timothy Dolch, Justin A. Ellis, Robert D. Ferdman, Elizabeth C. Ferrara, Emmanuel Fonseca, Peter A. Gentile, Glenn Jones, Michael T. Lam, Lina Levin, Duncan R. Lorimer, Ryan S. Lynch, Maura A. McLaughlinCherry Ng, David J. Nice, Timothy T. Pennucci, Scott M. Ransom, Paul S. Ray, Renée Spiewak, Ingrid H. Stairs, Kevin Stovall, Joseph K. Swiggum, Weiwei Zhu, NANOGrav Collaboration

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Using Bayesian analyses we study the solar electron density with the NANOGrav 11 yr pulsar timing array (PTA) data set. Our model of the solar wind is incorporated into a global fit starting from pulse times of arrival. We introduce new tools developed for this global fit, including analytic expressions for solar electron column densities and open source models for the solar wind that port into existing PTA software. We perform an ab initio recovery of various solar wind model parameters. We then demonstrate the richness of information about the solar electron density, nE, that can be gleaned from PTA data, including higher order corrections to the simple 1/r2 model associated with a free-streaming wind (which are informative probes of coronal acceleration physics), quarterly binned measurements of nE and a continuous time-varying model for nE spanning approximately one solar cycle period. Finally, we discuss the importance of our model for chromatic noise mitigation in gravitational-wave analyses of pulsar timing data and the potential of developing synergies between sophisticated PTA solar electron density models and those developed by the solar physics community.
Original languageEnglish
Article number39
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2022


  • Solar wind
  • Pulsar timing method
  • Radio pulsars
  • Millisecond pulsars
  • Gravitational waves
  • 1534
  • 1305
  • 1353
  • 1062
  • 678
  • Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics
  • Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena
  • Physics - Space Physics

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