Studying the solar system with the International Pulsar Timing Array

Abstract : Pulsar-timing analyses are sensitive to errors in the solar-system ephemerides (SSEs) that timing models utilise to estimate the location of the solar-system barycentre, the quasi-inertial reference frame to which all recorded pulse times-of-arrival are referred. Any error in the SSE will affect all pulsars, therefore pulsar timing arrays (PTAs) are a suitable tool to search for such errors and impose independent constraints on relevant physical parameters. We employ the first data release of the International Pulsar Timing Array to constrain the masses of the planet-moons systems and to search for possible unmodelled objects (UMOs) in the solar system. We employ ten SSEs from two independent research groups, derive and compare mass constraints of planetary systems, and derive the first PTA mass constraints on asteroid-belt objects. Constraints on planetary-system masses have been improved by factors of up to 20 from the previous relevant study using the same assumptions, with the mass of the Jovian system measured at 9.5479189(3)$\times10^{-4}$ $M_{\odot}$. The mass of the dwarf planet Ceres is measured at 4.7(4)$\times10^{-10}$ $M_{\odot}$. We also present the first sensitivity curves using real data that place generic limits on the masses of UMOs, which can also be used as upper limits on the mass of putative exotic objects. For example, upper limits on dark-matter clumps are comparable to published limits using independent methods. While the constraints on planetary masses derived with all employed SSEs are consistent, we note and discuss differences in the associated timing residuals and UMO sensitivity curves.
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R.N. Caballero, Y.J. Guo, K.J. Lee, P. Lazarus, D.J. Champion, et al.. Studying the solar system with the International Pulsar Timing Array. Mon.Not.Roy.Astron.Soc., 2018, 481, pp.5501. ⟨10.1093/mnras/sty2632⟩. ⟨hal-01929067⟩



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