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Gravitational-Wave Limits from Pulsar Timing Constrain Supermassive Black Hole Evolution

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Science  18 Oct 2013:
Vol. 342, Issue 6156, pp. 334-337
DOI: 10.1126/science.1238012

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Testing Black Holes

Gravitational waves, predicted by General Relativity, are expected to be produced when very massive bodies, such as black holes, merge together. Shannon et al. (p. 334) used data from the Parkes Pulsar Timing Array project to estimate the gravitational wave background produced by pairs of supermassive black holes (those with masses between 106 and 1011 that of the Sun) in merging galaxies. The results can be used to test models of the supermassive black hole population.

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