Pulsar timing data used to provide upper limits on a possible stochastic gravitational wave background (SGWB). However, the NANOGrav Collaboration has recently reported strong evidence for a stochastic common-spectrum process, which we interpret as a SGWB in the framework of cosmic strings. The possible NANOGrav signal would correspond to a string tension Gμ∈(4×10-11,10-10) at the 68% confidence level, with a different frequency dependence from supermassive black hole mergers. The SGWB produced by cosmic strings with such values of Gμ would be beyond the reach of LIGO, but could be measured by other planned and proposed detectors such as SKA, LISA, TianQin, AION-1 km, AEDGE, Einstein Telescope, and Cosmic Explorer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number041304
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2021


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