results for au:Abernathy_M in:gr-qc

- Nov 21 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1711.06843v1We present the results of a search for long-duration gravitational wave transients in the data of the LIGO Hanford and LIGO Livingston second generation detectors between September 2015 and January 2016, with a total observational time of 49 days. The search targets gravitational wave transients of \unit[10 -- 500]s duration in a frequency band of \unit[24 -- 2048]Hz, with minimal assumptions about the signal waveform, polarization, source direction, or time of occurrence. No significant events were observed. %All candidate triggers were consistent with the expected background, As a result we set 90\% confidence upper limits on the rate of long-duration gravitational wave transients for different types of gravitational wave signals. We also show that the search is sensitive to sources in the Galaxy emitting at least $\sim$ \unit[$10^{-8}$]$\mathrm{M_{\odot} c^2}$ in gravitational waves.
- Oct 09 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.IM arXiv:1710.02185v3The first observing run of Advanced LIGO spanned 4 months, from September 12, 2015 to January 19, 2016, during which gravitational waves were directly detected from two binary black hole systems, namely GW150914 and GW151226. Confident detection of gravitational waves requires an understanding of instrumental transients and artifacts that can reduce the sensitivity of a search. Studies of the quality of the detector data yield insights into the cause of instrumental artifacts and data quality vetoes specific to a search are produced to mitigate the effects of problematic data. In this paper, the systematic removal of noisy data from analysis time is shown to improve the sensitivity of searches for compact binary coalescences. The output of the PyCBC pipeline, which is a python-based code package used to search for gravitational wave signals from compact binary coalescences, is used as a metric for improvement. GW150914 was a loud enough signal that removing noisy data did not improve its significance. However, the removal of data with excess noise decreased the false alarm rate of GW151226 by more than two orders of magnitude, from 1 in 770 years to less than 1 in 186000 years.
- Jan 27 2017 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1701.07709v5We present the result of searches for gravitational waves from 200 pulsars using data from the first observing run of the Advanced LIGO detectors. We find no significant evidence for a gravitational-wave signal from any of these pulsars, but we are able to set the most constraining upper limits yet on their gravitational-wave amplitudes and ellipticities. For eight of these pulsars, our upper limits give bounds that are improvements over the indirect spin-down limit values. For another 32, we are within a factor of 10 of the spin-down limit, and it is likely that some of these will be reachable in future runs of the advanced detector. Taken as a whole, these new results improve on previous limits by more than a factor of two.
- We employ gravitational-wave radiometry to map the gravitational waves stochastic background expected from a variety of contributing mechanisms and test the assumption of isotropy using data from Advanced LIGO's first observing run. We also search for persistent gravitational waves from point sources with only minimal assumptions over the 20 - 1726 Hz frequency band. Finding no evidence of gravitational waves from either point sources or a stochastic background, we set limits at 90% confidence. For broadband point sources, we report upper limits on the gravitational wave energy flux per unit frequency in the range $F_{\alpha,\Theta}(f) < (0.1 - 56) \times 10^{-8}$ erg cm$^{-2}$ s$^{-1}$ Hz$^{-1}$ (f/25 Hz)$^{\alpha-1}$ depending on the sky location $\Theta$ and the spectral power index $\alpha$. For extended sources, we report upper limits on the fractional gravitational wave energy density required to close the Universe of $\Omega(f,\Theta) < (0.39-7.6) \times 10^{-8}$ sr$^{-1}$ (f/25 Hz)$^\alpha$ depending on $\Theta$ and $\alpha$. Directed searches for narrowband gravitational waves from astrophysically interesting objects (Scorpius X-1, Supernova 1987 A, and the Galactic Center) yield median frequency-dependent limits on strain amplitude of $h_0 <$ (6.7, 5.5, and 7.0) $\times 10^{-25}$ respectively, at the most sensitive detector frequencies between 130 - 175 Hz. This represents a mean improvement of a factor of 2 across the band compared to previous searches of this kind for these sky locations, considering the different quantities of strain constrained in each case.
- A wide variety of astrophysical and cosmological sources are expected to contribute to a stochastic gravitational-wave background. Following the observations of GW150914 and GW151226, the rate and mass of coalescing binary black holes appear to be greater than many previous expectations. As a result, the stochastic background from unresolved compact binary coalescences is expected to be particularly loud. We perform a search for the isotropic stochastic gravitational-wave background using data from Advanced LIGO's first observing run. The data display no evidence of a stochastic gravitational-wave signal. We constrain the dimensionless energy density of gravitational waves to be $\Omega_0<1.7\times 10^{-7}$ with 95% confidence, assuming a flat energy density spectrum in the most sensitive part of the LIGO band (20-86 Hz). This is a factor of ~33 times more sensitive than previous measurements. We also constrain arbitrary power-law spectra. Finally, we investigate the implications of this search for the background of binary black holes using an astrophysical model for the background.
- Nov 24 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1611.07531v2Parameter estimates of GW150914 were obtained using Bayesian inference, based on three semi-analytic waveform models for binary black hole coalescences. These waveform models differ from each other in their treatment of black hole spins, and all three models make some simplifying assumptions, notably to neglect sub-dominant waveform harmonic modes and orbital eccentricity. Furthermore, while the models are calibrated to agree with waveforms obtained by full numerical solutions of Einstein's equations, any such calibration is accurate only to some non-zero tolerance and is limited by the accuracy of the underlying phenomenology, availability, quality, and parameter-space coverage of numerical simulations. This paper complements the original analyses of GW150914 with an investigation of the effects of possible systematic errors in the waveform models on estimates of its source parameters. To test for systematic errors we repeat the original Bayesian analyses on mock signals from numerical simulations of a series of binary configurations with parameters similar to those found for GW150914. Overall, we find no evidence for a systematic bias relative to the statistical error of the original parameter recovery of GW150914 due to modeling approximations or modeling inaccuracies. However, parameter biases are found to occur for some configurations disfavored by the data of GW150914: for binaries inclined edge-on to the detector over a small range of choices of polarization angles, and also for eccentricities greater than $\sim$0.05. For signals with higher signal-to-noise ratio than GW150914, or in other regions of the binary parameter space (lower masses, larger mass ratios, or higher spins), we expect that systematic errors in current waveform models may impact gravitational-wave measurements, making more accurate models desirable for future observations.
- Nov 24 2016 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1611.07947v3We present the results of the search for gravitational waves (GWs) associated with $\gamma$-ray bursts detected during the first observing run of the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). We find no evidence of a GW signal for any of the 41 $\gamma$-ray bursts for which LIGO data are available with sufficient duration. For all $\gamma$-ray bursts, we place lower bounds on the distance to the source using the optimistic assumption that GWs with an energy of $10^{-2}M_\odot c^2$ were emitted within the $16$-$500\,$Hz band, and we find a median 90% confidence limit of 71$\,$Mpc at 150$\,$Hz. For the subset of 19 short/hard $\gamma$-ray bursts, we place lower bounds on distance with a median 90% confidence limit of 90$\,$Mpc for binary neutron star (BNS) coalescences, and 150 and 139$\,$Mpc for neutron star-black hole coalescences with spins aligned to the orbital angular momentum and in a generic configuration, respectively. These are the highest distance limits ever achieved by GW searches. We also discuss in detail the results of the search for GWs associated with GRB 150906B, an event that was localized by the InterPlanetary Network near the local galaxy NGC 3313, which is at a luminosity distance of 54$\,$Mpc ($z=0.0124$). Assuming the $\gamma$-ray emission is beamed with a jet half-opening angle $\leq 30^{\circ}$, we exclude a BNS and a neutron star-black hole in NGC 3313 as the progenitor of this event with confidence $>99$%. Further, we exclude such progenitors up to a distance of 102$\,$Mpc and 170$\,$Mpc, respectively.
- Nov 10 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1611.02972v1We present the results from an all-sky search for short-duration gravitational waves in the data of the first run of the Advanced LIGO detectors between September 2015 and January 2016. The search algorithms use minimal assumptions on the signal morphology, so they are sensitive to a wide range of sources emitting gravitational waves. The analyses target transient signals with duration ranging from milliseconds to seconds over the frequency band of 32 to 4096 Hz. The first observed gravitational-wave event, GW150914, has been detected with high confidence in this search; other known gravitational-wave events fall below the search's sensitivity. Besides GW150914, all of the search results are consistent with the expected rate of accidental noise coincidences. Finally, we estimate rate-density limits for a broad range of non-BBH transient gravitational-wave sources as a function of their gravitational radiation emission energy and their characteristic frequency. These rate-density upper-limits are stricter than those previously published by an order-of-magnitude.
- Aug 08 2016 gr-qc arXiv:1608.01940v4The first direct gravitational-wave detection was made by the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory on September 14, 2015. The GW150914 signal was strong enough to be apparent, without using any waveform model, in the filtered detector strain data. Here, features of the signal visible in the data are analyzed using concepts from Newtonian physics and general relativity, accessible to anyone with a general physics background. The simple analysis presented here is consistent with the fully general-relativistic analyses published elsewhere,in showing that the signal was produced by the inspiral and subsequent merger of two black holes. The black holes were each of approximately 35 Msun, still orbited each other as close as ~350 km apart, and subsequently merged to form a single black hole. Similar reasoning, directly from the data, is used to roughly estimate how far these black holes were from the Earth, and the energy that they radiated in gravitational waves.
- We report here the non-detection of gravitational waves from the merger of binary neutron star systems and neutron-star--black-hole systems during the first observing run of Advanced LIGO. In particular we searched for gravitational wave signals from binary neutron star systems with component masses $\in [1,3] M_{\odot}$ and component dimensionless spins $< 0.05$. We also searched for neutron-star--black-hole systems with the same neutron star parameters, black hole mass $\in [2,99] M_{\odot}$ and no restriction on the black hole spin magnitude. We assess the sensitivity of the two LIGO detectors to these systems, and find that they could have detected the merger of binary neutron star systems with component mass distributions of $1.35\pm0.13 M_{\odot}$ at a volume-weighted average distance of $\sim$ 70Mpc, and for neutron-star--black-hole systems with neutron star masses of $1.4M_\odot$ and black hole masses of at least $5M_\odot$, a volume-weighted average distance of at least $\sim$ 110Mpc. From this we constrain with 90% confidence the merger rate to be less than 12,600 Gpc$^{-3}$yr$^{-1}$ for binary-neutron star systems and less than 3,600 Gpc$^{-3}$yr$^{-1}$ for neutron-star--black-hole systems. We find that if no detection of neutron-star binary mergers is made in the next two Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo observing runs we would place significant constraints on the merger rates. Finally, assuming a rate of $10^{+20}_{-7}$Gpc$^{-3}$yr$^{-1}$ short gamma ray bursts beamed towards the Earth and assuming that all short gamma-ray bursts have binary-neutron-star (neutron-star--black-hole) progenitors we can use our 90% confidence rate upper limits to constrain the beaming angle of the gamma-ray burst to be greater than ${2.3^{+1.7}_{-1.1}}^{\circ}$ (${4.3^{+3.1}_{-1.9}}^{\circ}$).
- Jul 11 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1607.02216v1We describe a directed search for continuous gravitational waves in data from the sixth LIGO science run. The target was the nearby globular cluster NGC 6544 at a distance of 2.7 kpc. The search covered a broad band of frequencies along with first and second frequency derivatives for a fixed sky position. The search coherently integrated data from the two LIGO interferometers over a time span of 9.2 days using the matched-filtering F-statistic. We found no gravitational-wave signals and set 95% confidence upper limits as stringent as 6.0 X 10^-25 on intrinsic strain and 8.5 X 10^-6 on fiducial ellipticity. These values beat the indirect limits from energy conservation for stars with characteristic spindown ages older than 300 years and are within the range of theoretical predictions for possible neutron-star ellipticities. An important feature of this search was use of a barycentric resampling algorithm which substantially reduced computational cost; this method will be used extensively in searches of Advanced LIGO and Virgo detector data.
- Jun 16 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.CO arXiv:1606.04856v3The first observational run of the Advanced LIGO detectors, from September 12, 2015 to January 19, 2016, saw the first detections of gravitational waves from binary black hole mergers. In this paper we present full results from a search for binary black hole merger signals with total masses up to $100 M_\odot$ and detailed implications from our observations of these systems. Our search, based on general-relativistic models of gravitational wave signals from binary black hole systems, unambiguously identified two signals, GW150914 and GW151226, with a significance of greater than $5\sigma$ over the observing period. It also identified a third possible signal, LVT151012, with substantially lower significance, and with an 87% probability of being of astrophysical origin. We provide detailed estimates of the parameters of the observed systems. Both GW150914 and GW151226 provide an unprecedented opportunity to study the two-body motion of a compact-object binary in the large velocity, highly nonlinear regime. We do not observe any deviations from general relativity, and place improved empirical bounds on several high-order post-Newtonian coefficients. From our observations we infer stellar-mass binary black hole merger rates lying in the range $9-240 \mathrm{Gpc}^{-3} \mathrm{yr}^{-1}$. These observations are beginning to inform astrophysical predictions of binary black hole formation rates, and indicate that future observing runs of the Advanced detector network will yield many more gravitational wave detections.
- We compare GW150914 directly to simulations of coalescing binary black holes in full general relativity, accounting for all the spin-weighted quadrupolar modes, and separately accounting for all the quadrupolar and octopolar modes. Consistent with the posterior distributions reported in LVC_PE[1] (at 90% confidence), we find the data are compatible with a wide range of nonprecessing and precessing simulations. Followup simulations performed using previously-estimated binary parameters most resemble the data. Comparisons including only the quadrupolar modes constrain the total redshifted mass Mz ∈[64 - 82M_⊙], mass ratio q = m2/m1 ∈[0.6,1], and effective aligned spin \chi_eff ∈[-0.3, 0.2], where \chi_eff = (S1/m1 + S2/m2) ⋅\hatL /M. Including both quadrupolar and octopolar modes, we find the mass ratio is even more tightly constrained. Simulations with extreme mass ratios and effective spins are highly inconsistent with the data, at any mass. Several nonprecessing and precessing simulations with similar mass ratio and \chi_eff are consistent with the data. Though correlated, the components' spins (both in magnitude and directions) are not significantly constrained by the data. For nonprecessing binaries, interpolating between simulations, we reconstruct a posterior distribution consistent with previous results. The final black hole's redshifted mass is consistent with Mf,z between 64.0 - 73.5M_⊙and the final black hole's dimensionless spin parameter is consistent with af = 0.62 - 0.73. As our approach invokes no intermediate approximations to general relativity and can strongly reject binaries whose radiation is inconsistent with the data, our analysis provides a valuable complement to LVC_PE[1].
- Jun 06 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1606.01210v1This paper presents updated estimates of source parameters for GW150914, a binary black-hole coalescence event detected by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) on September 14, 2015 [1]. Reference presented parameter estimation [2] of the source using a 13-dimensional, phenomenological precessing-spin model (precessing IMRPhenom) and a 11-dimensional nonprecessing effective-one-body (EOB) model calibrated to numerical-relativity simulations, which forces spin alignment (nonprecessing EOBNR). Here we present new results that include a 15-dimensional precessing-spin waveform model (precessing EOBNR) developed within the EOB formalism. We find good agreement with the parameters estimated previously [2], and we quote updated component masses of $35^{+5}_{-3}\mathrm{M}_\odot$ and $30^{+3}_{-4}\mathrm{M}_\odot$ (where errors correspond to 90% symmetric credible intervals). We also present slightly tighter constraints on the dimensionless spin magnitudes of the two black holes, with a primary spin estimate $0.65$ and a secondary spin estimate $0.75$ at 90% probability. Reference [2] estimated the systematic parameter-extraction errors due to waveform-model uncertainty by combining the posterior probability densities of precessing IMRPhenom and nonprecessing EOBNR. Here we find that the two precessing-spin models are in closer agreement, suggesting that these systematic errors are smaller than previously quoted.
- May 12 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.IM arXiv:1605.03233v2We report on a comprehensive all-sky search for periodic gravitational waves in the frequency band 100-1500 Hz and with a frequency time derivative in the range of $[-1.18, +1.00]\times 10^{-8}$ Hz/s. Such a signal could be produced by a nearby spinning and slightly non-axisymmetric isolated neutron star in our galaxy. This search uses the data from the Initial LIGO sixth science run and covers a larger parameter space with respect to any past search. A Loosely Coherent detection pipeline was applied to follow up weak outliers in both Gaussian (95% recovery rate) and non-Gaussian (75% recovery rate) bands. No gravitational wave signals were observed, and upper limits were placed on their strength. Our smallest upper limit on worst-case (linearly polarized) strain amplitude $h_0$ is ${9.7}\times 10^{-25}$ near 169 Hz, while at the high end of our frequency range we achieve a worst-case upper limit of ${5.5}\times 10^{-24}$. Both cases refer to all sky locations and entire range of frequency derivative values.
- May 09 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1605.01785v2We present results from a search for gravitational-wave bursts coincident with a set of two core-collapse supernovae observed between 2007 and 2011. We employ data from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO), the Virgo gravitational-wave observatory, and the GEO 600 gravitational-wave observatory. The targeted core-collapse supernovae were selected on the basis of (1) proximity (within approximately 15 Mpc), (2) tightness of observational constraints on the time of core collapse that defines the gravitational-wave search window, and (3) coincident operation of at least two interferometers at the time of core collapse. We find no plausible gravitational-wave candidates. We present the probability of detecting signals from both astrophysically well-motivated and more speculative gravitational-wave emission mechanisms as a function of distance from Earth, and discuss the implications for the detection of gravitational waves from core-collapse supernovae by the upgraded Advanced LIGO and Virgo detectors.
- Apr 28 2016 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1604.07864v3This Supplement provides supporting material for arXiv:1602.08492 . We briefly summarize past electromagnetic (EM) follow-up efforts as well as the organization and policy of the current EM follow-up program. We compare the four probability sky maps produced for the gravitational-wave transient GW150914, and provide additional details of the EM follow-up observations that were performed in the different bands.
- Mar 01 2016 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1602.08492v4A gravitational-wave (GW) transient was identified in data recorded by the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors on 2015 September 14. The event, initially designated G184098 and later given the name GW150914, is described in detail elsewhere. By prior arrangement, preliminary estimates of the time, significance, and sky location of the event were shared with 63 teams of observers covering radio, optical, near-infrared, X-ray, and gamma-ray wavelengths with ground- and space-based facilities. In this Letter we describe the low-latency analysis of the GW data and present the sky localization of the first observed compact binary merger. We summarize the follow-up observations reported by 25 teams via private Gamma-ray Coordinates Network circulars, giving an overview of the participating facilities, the GW sky localization coverage, the timeline and depth of the observations. As this event turned out to be a binary black hole merger, there is little expectation of a detectable electromagnetic (EM) signature. Nevertheless, this first broadband campaign to search for a counterpart of an Advanced LIGO source represents a milestone and highlights the broad capabilities of the transient astronomy community and the observing strategies that have been developed to pursue neutron star binary merger events. Detailed investigations of the EM data and results of the EM follow-up campaign are being disseminated in papers by the individual teams.
- In Advanced LIGO, detection and astrophysical source parameter estimation of the binary black hole merger GW150914 requires a calibrated estimate of the gravitational-wave strain sensed by the detectors. Producing an estimate from each detector's differential arm length control loop readout signals requires applying time domain filters, which are designed from a frequency domain model of the detector's gravitational-wave response. The gravitational-wave response model is determined by the detector's opto-mechanical response and the properties of its feedback control system. The measurements used to validate the model and characterize its uncertainty are derived primarily from a dedicated photon radiation pressure actuator, with cross-checks provided by optical and radio frequency references. We describe how the gravitational-wave readout signal is calibrated into equivalent gravitational-wave-induced strain and how the statistical uncertainties and systematic errors are assessed. Detector data collected over 38 calendar days, from September 12 to October 20, 2015, contain the event GW150914 and approximately 16 of coincident data used to estimate the event false alarm probability. The calibration uncertainty is less than 10% in magnitude and 10 degrees in phase across the relevant frequency band 20 Hz to 1 kHz.
- Feb 12 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1602.03840v2On September 14, 2015, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detected a gravitational-wave transient (GW150914); we characterize the properties of the source and its parameters. The data around the time of the event were analyzed coherently across the LIGO network using a suite of accurate waveform models that describe gravitational waves from a compact binary system in general relativity. GW150914 was produced by a nearly equal mass binary black hole of $36^{+5}_{-4} M_\odot$ and $29^{+4}_{-4} M_\odot$; for each parameter we report the median value and the range of the 90% credible interval. The dimensionless spin magnitude of the more massive black hole is bound to be $<0.7$ (at 90% probability). The luminosity distance to the source is $410^{+160}_{-180}$ Mpc, corresponding to a redshift $0.09^{+0.03}_{-0.04}$ assuming standard cosmology. The source location is constrained to an annulus section of $610$ deg$^2$, primarily in the southern hemisphere. The binary merges into a black hole of $62^{+4}_{-4} M_\odot$ and spin $0.67^{+0.05}_{-0.07}$. This black hole is significantly more massive than any other inferred from electromagnetic observations in the stellar-mass regime.
- On September 14, 2015 at 09:50:45 UTC the two detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) simultaneously observed the binary black hole merger GW150914. We report the results of a matched-filter search using relativistic models of compact-object binaries that recovered GW150914 as the most significant event during the coincident observations between the two LIGO detectors from September 12 to October 20, 2015. GW150914 was observed with a matched filter signal-to-noise ratio of 24 and a false alarm rate estimated to be less than 1 event per 203 000 years, equivalent to a significance greater than 5.1 \sigma.
- Feb 12 2016 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1602.03842v3A transient gravitational-wave signal, GW150914, was identified in the twin Advanced LIGO detectors on September 14, 2015 at 09:50:45 UTC. To assess the implications of this discovery, the detectors remained in operation with unchanged configurations over a period of 39 d around the time of the signal. At the detection statistic threshold corresponding to that observed for GW150914, our search of the 16 days of simultaneous two-detector observational data is estimated to have a false alarm rate (FAR) of $< 4.9 \times 10^{-6} \, \mathrm{yr}^{-1}$, yielding a $p$-value for GW150914 of $< 2 \times 10^{-7}$. Parameter estimation followup on this trigger identifies its source as a binary black hole (BBH) merger with component masses $(m_1, m_2) = \left(36^{+5}_{-4},29^{+4}_{-4}\right) \, M_\odot$ at redshift $z = 0.09^{+0.03}_{-0.04}$ (median and 90\% credible range). Here we report on the constraints these observations place on the rate of BBH coalescences. Considering only GW150914, assuming that all BBHs in the Universe have the same masses and spins as this event, imposing a search FAR threshold of 1 per 100 years, and assuming that the BBH merger rate is constant in the comoving frame, we infer a 90% credible range of merger rates between $2$--$53 \, \mathrm{Gpc}^{-3} \mathrm{yr}^{-1}$ (comoving frame). Incorporating all search triggers that pass a much lower threshold while accounting for the uncertainty in the astrophysical origin of each trigger, we estimate a higher rate, ranging from $13$--$600 \, \mathrm{Gpc}^{-3} \mathrm{yr}^{-1}$ depending on assumptions about the BBH mass distribution. All together, our various rate estimates fall in the conservative range $2$--$600 \, \mathrm{Gpc}^{-3} \mathrm{yr}^{-1}$.
- We present the results of a search for long-duration gravitational wave transients in two sets of data collected by the LIGO Hanford and LIGO Livingston detectors between November 5, 2005 and September 30, 2007, and July 7, 2009 and October 20, 2010, with a total observational time of 283.0 days and 132.9 days, respectively. The search targets gravitational wave transients of duration 10 - 500 s in a frequency band of 40 - 1000 Hz, with minimal assumptions about the signal waveform, polarization, source direction, or time of occurrence. All candidate triggers were consistent with the expected background; as a result we set 90% confidence upper limits on the rate of long-duration gravitational wave transients for different types of gravitational wave signals. For signals from black hole accretion disk instabilities, we set upper limits on the source rate density between $3.4 \times 10^{-5}$ - $9.4 \times 10^{-4}$ Mpc$^{-3}$ yr$^{-1}$ at 90% confidence. These are the first results from an all-sky search for unmodeled long-duration transient gravitational waves.
- In this paper we present the results of the first low frequency all-sky search of continuous gravitational wave signals conducted on Virgo VSR2 and VSR4 data. The search covered the full sky, a frequency range between 20 Hz and 128 Hz with a range of spin-down between $-1.0 \times 10^{-10}$ Hz/s and $+1.5 \times 10^{-11}$ Hz/s, and was based on a hierarchical approach. The starting point was a set of short Fast Fourier Transforms (FFT), of length 8192 seconds, built from the calibrated strain data. Aggressive data cleaning, both in the time and frequency domains, has been done in order to remove, as much as possible, the effect of disturbances of instrumental origin. On each dataset a number of candidates has been selected, using the FrequencyHough transform in an incoherent step. Only coincident candidates among VSR2 and VSR4 have been examined in order to strongly reduce the false alarm probability, and the most significant candidates have been selected. The criteria we have used for candidate selection and for the coincidence step greatly reduce the harmful effect of large instrumental artifacts. Selected candidates have been subject to a follow-up by constructing a new set of longer FFTs followed by a further incoherent analysis. No evidence for continuous gravitational wave signals was found, therefore we have set a population-based joint VSR2-VSR4 90$\%$ confidence level upper limit on the dimensionless gravitational wave strain in the frequency range between 20 Hz and 128 Hz. This is the first all-sky search for continuous gravitational waves conducted at frequencies below 50 Hz. We set upper limits in the range between about $10^{-24}$ and $2\times 10^{-23}$ at most frequencies. Our upper limits on signal strain show an improvement of up to a factor of $\sim$2 with respect to the results of previous all-sky searches at frequencies below $80~\mathrm{Hz}$.
- Oct 14 2015 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1510.03474v2We report results of a wideband search for periodic gravitational waves from isolated neutron stars within the Orion spur towards both the inner and outer regions of our Galaxy. As gravitational waves interact very weakly with matter, the search is unimpeded by dust and concentrations of stars. One search disk (A) is $6.87^\circ$ in diameter and centered on $20^\textrm{h}10^\textrm{m}54.71^\textrm{s}+33^\circ33'25.29"$, and the other (B) is $7.45^\circ$ in diameter and centered on $8^\textrm{h}35^\textrm{m}20.61^\textrm{s}-46^\circ49'25.151"$. We explored the frequency range of 50-1500 Hz and frequency derivative from $0$ to $-5\times 10^{-9}$ Hz/s. A multi-stage, loosely coherent search program allowed probing more deeply than before in these two regions, while increasing coherence length with every stage. Rigorous followup parameters have winnowed initial coincidence set to only 70 candidates, to be examined manually. None of those 70 candidates proved to be consistent with an isolated gravitational wave emitter, and 95% confidence level upper limits were placed on continuous-wave strain amplitudes. Near $169$ Hz we achieve our lowest 95% CL upper limit on worst-case linearly polarized strain amplitude $h_0$ of $6.3\times 10^{-25}$, while at the high end of our frequency range we achieve a worst-case upper limit of $3.4\times 10^{-24}$ for all polarizations and sky locations.
- Dec 02 2014 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1412.0605v1We present results of a search for continuously-emitted gravitational radiation, directed at the brightest low-mass X-ray binary, Scorpius X-1. Our semi-coherent analysis covers 10 days of LIGO S5 data ranging from 50-550 Hz, and performs an incoherent sum of coherent $\mathcal{F}$-statistic power distributed amongst frequency-modulated orbital sidebands. All candidates not removed at the veto stage were found to be consistent with noise at a 1% false alarm rate. We present Bayesian 95% confidence upper limits on gravitational-wave strain amplitude using two different prior distributions: a standard one, with no a priori assumptions about the orientation of Scorpius X-1; and an angle-restricted one, using a prior derived from electromagnetic observations. Median strain upper limits of 1.3e-24 and 8e-25 are reported at 150 Hz for the standard and angle-restricted searches respectively. This proof of principle analysis was limited to a short observation time by unknown effects of accretion on the intrinsic spin frequency of the neutron star, but improves upon previous upper limits by factors of ~1.4 for the standard, and 2.3 for the angle-restricted search at the sensitive region of the detector.
- In this paper we present the results of a coherent narrow-band search for continuous gravitational-wave signals from the Crab and Vela pulsars conducted on Virgo VSR4 data. In order to take into account a possible small mismatch between the gravitational wave frequency and two times the star rotation frequency, inferred from measurement of the electromagnetic pulse rate, a range of 0.02 Hz around two times the star rotational frequency has been searched for both the pulsars. No evidence for a signal has been found and 95$\%$ confidence level upper limits have been computed both assuming polarization parameters are completely unknown and that they are known with some uncertainty, as derived from X-ray observations of the pulsar wind torii. For Vela the upper limits are comparable to the spin-down limit, computed assuming that all the observed spin-down is due to the emission of gravitational waves. For Crab the upper limits are about a factor of two below the spin-down limit, and represent a significant improvement with respect to past analysis. This is the first time the spin-down limit is significantly overcome in a narrow-band search.
- Oct 29 2014 gr-qc astro-ph.IM arXiv:1410.7764v2In 2009-2010, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observa- tory (LIGO) operated together with international partners Virgo and GEO600 as a network to search for gravitational waves of astrophysical origin. The sensitiv- ity of these detectors was limited by a combination of noise sources inherent to the instrumental design and its environment, often localized in time or frequency, that couple into the gravitational-wave readout. Here we review the performance of the LIGO instruments during this epoch, the work done to characterize the de- tectors and their data, and the effect that transient and continuous noise artefacts have on the sensitivity of LIGO to a variety of astrophysical sources.
- Oct 24 2014 gr-qc astro-ph.IM arXiv:1410.6211v3Searches for a stochastic gravitational-wave background (SGWB) using terrestrial detectors typically involve cross-correlating data from pairs of detectors. The sensitivity of such cross-correlation analyses depends, among other things, on the separation between the two detectors: the smaller the separation, the better the sensitivity. Hence, a co-located detector pair is more sensitive to a gravitational-wave background than a non-co-located detector pair. However, co-located detectors are also expected to suffer from correlated noise from instrumental and environmental effects that could contaminate the measurement of the background. Hence, methods to identify and mitigate the effects of correlated noise are necessary to achieve the potential increase in sensitivity of co-located detectors. Here we report on the first SGWB analysis using the two LIGO Hanford detectors and address the complications arising from correlated environmental noise. We apply correlated noise identification and mitigation techniques to data taken by the two LIGO Hanford detectors, H1 and H2, during LIGO's fifth science run. At low frequencies, 40 - 460 Hz, we are unable to sufficiently mitigate the correlated noise to a level where we may confidently measure or bound the stochastic gravitational-wave signal. However, at high frequencies, 460-1000 Hz, these techniques are sufficient to set a $95%$ confidence level (C.L.) upper limit on the gravitational-wave energy density of \Omega(f)<7.7 x 10^-4 (f/ 900 Hz)^3, which improves on the previous upper limit by a factor of $\sim 180$. In doing so, we demonstrate techniques that will be useful for future searches using advanced detectors, where correlated noise (e.g., from global magnetic fields) may affect even widely separated detectors.
- Gravitational waves from a variety of sources are predicted to superpose to create a stochastic background. This background is expected to contain unique information from throughout the history of the universe that is unavailable through standard electromagnetic observations, making its study of fundamental importance to understanding the evolution of the universe. We carry out a search for the stochastic background with the latest data from LIGO and Virgo. Consistent with predictions from most stochastic gravitational-wave background models, the data display no evidence of a stochastic gravitational-wave signal. Assuming a gravitational-wave spectrum of Omega_GW(f)=Omega_alpha*(f/f_ref)^alpha, we place 95% confidence level upper limits on the energy density of the background in each of four frequency bands spanning 41.5-1726 Hz. In the frequency band of 41.5-169.25 Hz for a spectral index of alpha=0, we constrain the energy density of the stochastic background to be Omega_GW(f)<5.6x10^-6. For the 600-1000 Hz band, Omega_GW(f)<0.14*(f/900 Hz)^3, a factor of 2.5 lower than the best previously reported upper limits. We find Omega_GW(f)<1.8x10^-4 using a spectral index of zero for 170-600 Hz and Omega_GW(f)<1.0*(f/1300 Hz)^3 for 1000-1726 Hz, bands in which no previous direct limits have been placed. The limits in these four bands are the lowest direct measurements to date on the stochastic background. We discuss the implications of these results in light of the recent claim by the BICEP2 experiment of the possible evidence for inflationary gravitational waves.
- Jun 02 2014 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1405.7904v2We present the first results of an all-sky search for continuous gravitational waves from unknown spinning neutron stars in binary systems using LIGO and Virgo data. Using a specially developed analysis program, the TwoSpect algorithm, the search was carried out on data from the sixth LIGO Science Run and the second and third Virgo Science Runs. The search covers a range of frequencies from 20 Hz to 520 Hz, a range of orbital periods from 2 to ~2,254 h and a frequency- and period-dependent range of frequency modulation depths from 0.277 to 100 mHz. This corresponds to a range of projected semi-major axes of the orbit from ~0.6e-3 ls to ~6,500 ls assuming the orbit of the binary is circular. While no plausible candidate gravitational wave events survive the pipeline, upper limits are set on the analyzed data. The most sensitive 95% confidence upper limit obtained on gravitational wave strain is 2.3e-24 at 217 Hz, assuming the source waves are circularly polarized. Although this search has been optimized for circular binary orbits, the upper limits obtained remain valid for orbital eccentricities as large as 0.9. In addition, upper limits are placed on continuous gravitational wave emission from the low-mass x-ray binary Scorpius X-1 between 20 Hz and 57.25 Hz.
- Apr 09 2014 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1404.2199v4This paper reports on an unmodeled, all-sky search for gravitational waves from merging intermediate mass black hole binaries (IMBHB). The search was performed on data from the second joint science run of the LIGO and Virgo detectors (July 2009 - October 2010) and was sensitive to IMBHBs with a range up to $\sim 200$ Mpc, averaged over the possible sky positions and inclinations of the binaries with respect to the line of sight. No significant candidate was found. Upper limits on the coalescence-rate density of nonspinning IMBHBs with total masses between 100 and $450 \ \mbox{M}_{\odot}$ and mass ratios between $0.25$ and $1\,$ were placed by combining this analysis with an analogous search performed on data from the first LIGO-Virgo joint science run (November 2005 - October 2007). The most stringent limit was set for systems consisting of two $88 \ \mbox{M}_{\odot}$ black holes and is equal to $0.12 \ \mbox{Mpc}^{-3} \ \mbox{Myr}^{-1}$ at the $90\%$ confidence level. This paper also presents the first estimate, for the case of an unmodeled analysis, of the impact on the search range of IMBHB spin configurations: the visible volume for IMBHBs with nonspinning components is roughly doubled for a population of IMBHBs with spins aligned with the binary's orbital angular momentum and uniformly distributed in the dimensionless spin parameter up to 0.8, whereas an analogous population with antialigned spins decreases the visible volume by $\sim 20\%\,$.
- Mar 27 2014 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1403.6639v2We present the results of a search for gravitational waves associated with 223 gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) detected by the InterPlanetary Network (IPN) in 2005-2010 during LIGO's fifth and sixth science runs and Virgo's first, second and third science runs. The IPN satellites provide accurate times of the bursts and sky localizations that vary significantly from degree scale to hundreds of square degrees. We search for both a well-modeled binary coalescence signal, the favored progenitor model for short GRBs, and for generic, unmodeled gravitational wave bursts. Both searches use the event time and sky localization to improve the gravitational-wave search sensitivity as compared to corresponding all-time, all-sky searches. We find no evidence of a gravitational-wave signal associated with any of the IPN GRBs in the sample, nor do we find evidence for a population of weak gravitational-wave signals associated with the GRBs. For all IPN-detected GRBs, for which a sufficient duration of quality gravitational-wave data is available, we place lower bounds on the distance to the source in accordance with an optimistic assumption of gravitational-wave emission energy of $10^{-2}M_{\odot}c^2$ at 150 Hz, and find a median of 13 Mpc. For the 27 short-hard GRBs we place 90% confidence exclusion distances to two source models: a binary neutron star coalescence, with a median distance of 12Mpc, or the coalescence of a neutron star and black hole, with a median distance of 22 Mpc. Finally, we combine this search with previously published results to provide a population statement for GRB searches in first-generation LIGO and Virgo gravitational-wave detectors, and a resulting examination of prospects for the advanced gravitational-wave detectors.
- Mar 24 2014 gr-qc arXiv:1403.5306v2We report results from a search for gravitational waves produced by perturbed intermediate mass black holes (IMBH) in data collected by LIGO and Virgo between 2005 and 2010. The search was sensitive to astrophysical sources that produced damped sinusoid gravitational wave signals, also known as ringdowns, with frequency $50\le f_{0}/\mathrm{Hz} \le 2000$ and decay timescale $0.0001\lesssim \tau/\mathrm{s} \lesssim 0.1$ characteristic of those produced in mergers of IMBH pairs. No significant gravitational wave candidate was detected. We report upper limits on the astrophysical coalescence rates of IMBHs with total binary mass $50 \le M/\mathrm{M}_\odot \le 450$ and component mass ratios of either 1:1 or 4:1. For systems with total mass $100 \le M/\mathrm{M}_\odot \le 150$, we report a 90%-confidence upper limit on the rate of binary IMBH mergers with non-spinning and equal mass components of $6.9\times10^{-8}\,$Mpc$^{-3}$yr$^{-1}$. We also report a rate upper limit for ringdown waveforms from perturbed IMBHs, radiating 1% of their mass as gravitational waves in the fundamental, $\ell=m=2$, oscillation mode, that is nearly three orders of magnitude more stringent than previous results.
- We present an implementation of the $\mathcal{F}$-statistic to carry out the first search in data from the Virgo laser interferometric gravitational wave detector for periodic gravitational waves from a priori unknown, isolated rotating neutron stars. We searched a frequency $f_0$ range from 100 Hz to 1 kHz and the frequency dependent spindown $f_1$ range from $-1.6\,(f_0/100\,{\rm Hz}) \times 10^{-9}\,$ Hz/s to zero. A large part of this frequency - spindown space was unexplored by any of the all-sky searches published so far. Our method consisted of a coherent search over two-day periods using the $\mathcal{F}$-statistic, followed by a search for coincidences among the candidates from the two-day segments. We have introduced a number of novel techniques and algorithms that allow the use of the Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) algorithm in the coherent part of the search resulting in a fifty-fold speed-up in computation of the $\mathcal{F}$-statistic with respect to the algorithm used in the other pipelines. No significant gravitational wave signal was found. The sensitivity of the search was estimated by injecting signals into the data. In the most sensitive parts of the detector band more than 90% of signals would have been detected with dimensionless gravitational-wave amplitude greater than $5 \times 10^{-24}$.
- Jan 07 2014 gr-qc astro-ph.CO arXiv:1401.0939v1The Numerical INJection Analysis (NINJA) project is a collaborative effort between members of the numerical relativity and gravitational-wave astrophysics communities. The purpose of NINJA is to study the ability to detect gravitational waves emitted from merging binary black holes and recover their parameters with next-generation gravitational-wave observatories. We report here on the results of the second NINJA project, NINJA-2, which employs 60 complete binary black hole hybrid waveforms consisting of a numerical portion modelling the late inspiral, merger, and ringdown stitched to a post-Newtonian portion modelling the early inspiral. In a "blind injection challenge" similar to that conducted in recent LIGO and Virgo science runs, we added 7 hybrid waveforms to two months of data recolored to predictions of Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo sensitivity curves during their first observing runs. The resulting data was analyzed by gravitational-wave detection algorithms and 6 of the waveforms were recovered with false alarm rates smaller than 1 in a thousand years. Parameter estimation algorithms were run on each of these waveforms to explore the ability to constrain the masses, component angular momenta and sky position of these waveforms. We also perform a large-scale monte-carlo study to assess the ability to recover each of the 60 hybrid waveforms with early Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo sensitivity curves. Our results predict that early Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo will have a volume-weighted average sensitive distance of 300Mpc (1Gpc) for $10M_{\odot}+10M_{\odot}$ ($50M_{\odot}+50M_{\odot}$) binary black hole coalescences. We demonstrate that neglecting the component angular momenta in the waveform models used in matched-filtering will result in a reduction in sensitivity for systems with large component angular momenta. [Abstract abridged for ArXiv, full version in PDF]
- Nov 12 2013 gr-qc arXiv:1311.2409v3We report on an all-sky search for periodic gravitational waves in the frequency range $\mathrm{50-1000 Hz}$ with the first derivative of frequency in the range $-8.9 \times 10^{-10}$ Hz/s to zero in two years of data collected during LIGO's fifth science run. Our results employ a Hough transform technique, introducing a $\chi^2$ test and analysis of coincidences between the signal levels in years 1 and 2 of observations that offers a significant improvement in the product of strain sensitivity with compute cycles per data sample compared to previously published searches. Since our search yields no surviving candidates, we present results taking the form of frequency dependent, 95$%$ confidence upper limits on the strain amplitude $h_0$. The most stringent upper limit from year 1 is $1.0\times 10^{-24}$ in the $\mathrm{158.00-158.25 Hz}$ band. In year 2, the most stringent upper limit is $\mathrm{8.9\times10^{-25}}$ in the $\mathrm{146.50-146.75 Hz}$ band. This improved detection pipeline, which is computationally efficient by at least two orders of magnitude better than our flagship Einstein$@$Home search, will be important for "quick-look" searches in the Advanced LIGO and Virgo detector era.
- Oct 10 2013 gr-qc astro-ph.CO arXiv:1310.2384v2Cosmic strings can give rise to a large variety of interesting astrophysical phenomena. Among them, powerful bursts of gravitational waves (GWs) produced by cusps are a promising observational signature. In this Letter we present a search for GWs from cosmic string cusps in data collected by the LIGO and Virgo gravitational wave detectors between 2005 and 2010, with over 625 days of live time. We find no evidence of GW signals from cosmic strings. From this result, we derive new constraints on cosmic string parameters, which complement and improve existing limits from previous searches for a stochastic background of GWs from cosmic microwave background measurements and pulsar timing data. In particular, if the size of loops is given by the gravitational backreaction scale, we place upper limits on the string tension $G\mu$ below $10^{-8}$ in some regions of the cosmic string parameter space.
- Sep 25 2013 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1309.6160v3Long gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) have been linked to extreme core-collapse supernovae from massive stars. Gravitational waves (GW) offer a probe of the physics behind long GRBs. We investigate models of long-lived (~10-1000s) GW emission associated with the accretion disk of a collapsed star or with its protoneutron star remnant. Using data from LIGO's fifth science run, and GRB triggers from the swift experiment, we perform a search for unmodeled long-lived GW transients. Finding no evidence of GW emission, we place 90% confidence level upper limits on the GW fluence at Earth from long GRBs for three waveforms inspired by a model of GWs from accretion disk instabilities. These limits range from F<3.5 ergs cm^-2 to $F<1200 ergs cm^-2, depending on the GRB and on the model, allowing us to probe optimistic scenarios of GW production out to distances as far as ~33 Mpc. Advanced detectors are expected to achieve strain sensitivities 10x better than initial LIGO, potentially allowing us to probe the engines of the nearest long GRBs.
- Sep 25 2013 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1309.6221v2We present the results of a directed search for continuous gravitational waves from unknown, isolated neutron stars in the Galactic Center region, performed on two years of data from LIGO's fifth science run from two LIGO detectors. The search uses a semi-coherent approach, analyzing coherently 630 segments, each spanning 11.5 hours, and then incoherently combining the results of the single segments. It covers gravitational wave frequencies in a range from 78 to 496 Hz and a frequency-dependent range of first order spindown values down to -7.86 x 10^-8 Hz/s at the highest frequency. No gravitational waves were detected. We place 90% confidence upper limits on the gravitational wave amplitude of sources at the Galactic Center. Placing 90% confidence upper limits on the gravitational wave amplitude of sources at the Galactic Center, we reach ~3.35x10^-25 for frequencies near 150 Hz. These upper limits are the most constraining to date for a large-parameter-space search for continuous gravitational wave signals.
- Sep 17 2013 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1309.4027v3We present the results of searches for gravitational waves from a large selection of pulsars using data from the most recent science runs (S6, VSR2 and VSR4) of the initial generation of interferometric gravitational wave detectors LIGO (Laser Interferometric Gravitational-wave Observatory) and Virgo. We do not see evidence for gravitational wave emission from any of the targeted sources but produce upper limits on the emission amplitude. We highlight the results from seven young pulsars with large spin-down luminosities. We reach within a factor of five of the canonical spin-down limit for all seven of these, whilst for the Crab and Vela pulsars we further surpass their spin-down limits. We present new or updated limits for 172 other pulsars (including both young and millisecond pulsars). Now that the detectors are undergoing major upgrades, and, for completeness, we bring together all of the most up-to-date results from all pulsars searched for during the operations of the first-generation LIGO, Virgo and GEO600 detectors. This gives a total of 195 pulsars including the most recent results described in this paper.
- Apr 08 2013 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1304.1775v4Compact binary systems with neutron stars or black holes are one of the most promising sources for ground-based gravitational wave detectors. Gravitational radiation encodes rich information about source physics; thus parameter estimation and model selection are crucial analysis steps for any detection candidate events. Detailed models of the anticipated waveforms enable inference on several parameters, such as component masses, spins, sky location and distance that are essential for new astrophysical studies of these sources. However, accurate measurements of these parameters and discrimination of models describing the underlying physics are complicated by artifacts in the data, uncertainties in the waveform models and in the calibration of the detectors. Here we report such measurements on a selection of simulated signals added either in hardware or software to the data collected by the two LIGO instruments and the Virgo detector during their most recent joint science run, including a "blind injection" where the signal was not initially revealed to the collaboration. We exemplify the ability to extract information about the source physics on signals that cover the neutron star and black hole parameter space over the individual mass range 1 Msun - 25 Msun and the full range of spin parameters. The cases reported in this study provide a snap-shot of the status of parameter estimation in preparation for the operation of advanced detectors.
- Apr 03 2013 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1304.0670v5We present possible observing scenarios for the Advanced LIGO, Advanced Virgo and KAGRA gravitational-wave detectors over the next decade, with the intention of providing information to the astronomy community to facilitate planning for multi-messenger astronomy with gravitational waves. We estimate the sensitivity of the network to transient gravitational-wave signals, and study the capability of the network to determine the sky location of the source. We report our findings for gravitational-wave transients, with particular focus on gravitational-wave signals from the inspiral of binary neutron star systems, which are the most promising targets for multi-messenger astronomy. The ability to localize the sources of the detected signals depends on the geographical distribution of the detectors and their relative sensitivity, and 90% credible regions can be as large as thousands of square degrees when only two sensitive detectors are operational. Determining the sky position of a significant fraction of detected signals to areas of 5 square degrees to 20 square degrees requires at least three detectors of sensitivity within a factor of ~2 of each other and with a broad frequency bandwidth.
- We report a search for gravitational waves from the inspiral, merger and ringdown of binary black holes (BBH) with total mass between 25 and 100 solar masses, in data taken at the LIGO and Virgo observatories between July 7, 2009 and October 20, 2010. The maximum sensitive distance of the detectors over this period for a (20,20) Msun coalescence was 300 Mpc. No gravitational wave signals were found. We thus report upper limits on the astrophysical coalescence rates of BBH as a function of the component masses for non-spinning components, and also evaluate the dependence of the search sensitivity on component spins aligned with the orbital angular momentum. We find an upper limit at 90% confidence on the coalescence rate of BBH with non-spinning components of mass between 19 and 28 Msun of 3.3 \times 10^-7 mergers /Mpc^3 /yr.
- Aug 01 2012 gr-qc astro-ph.IM arXiv:1207.7176v2This paper presents results of an all-sky searches for periodic gravitational waves in the frequency range [50, 1190] Hz and with frequency derivative ranges of [-2 x 10^-9, 1.1 x 10^-10] Hz/s for the fifth LIGO science run (S5). The novelty of the search lies in the use of a non-coherent technique based on the Hough-transform to combine the information from coherent searches on timescales of about one day. Because these searches are very computationally intensive, they have been deployed on the Einstein@Home distributed computing project infrastructure. The search presented here is about a factor 3 more sensitive than the previous Einstein@Home search in early S5 LIGO data. The post-processing has left us with eight surviving candidates. We show that deeper follow-up studies rule each of them out. Hence, since no statistically significant gravitational wave signals have been detected, we report upper limits on the intrinsic gravitational wave amplitude h0. For example, in the 0.5 Hz-wide band at 152.5 Hz, we can exclude the presence of signals with h0 greater than 7.6 x 10^-25 with a 90% confidence level.
- Jun 05 2012 gr-qc astro-ph.CO arXiv:1206.0331v1The advanced interferometer network will herald a new era in observational astronomy. There is a very strong science case to go beyond the advanced detector network and build detectors that operate in a frequency range from 1 Hz-10 kHz, with sensitivity a factor ten better in amplitude. Such detectors will be able to probe a range of topics in nuclear physics, astronomy, cosmology and fundamental physics, providing insights into many unsolved problems in these areas.
- May 11 2012 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1205.2216v3We present the results of a search for gravitational waves associated with 154 gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) that were detected by satellite-based gamma-ray experiments in 2009-2010, during the sixth LIGO science run and the second and third Virgo science runs. We perform two distinct searches: a modeled search for coalescences of either two neutron stars or a neutron star and black hole; and a search for generic, unmodeled gravitational-wave bursts. We find no evidence for gravitational-wave counterparts, either with any individual GRB in this sample or with the population as a whole. For all GRBs we place lower bounds on the distance to the progenitor, under the optimistic assumption of a gravitational-wave emission energy of 10^-2 M c^2 at 150 Hz, with a median limit of 17 Mpc. For short hard GRBs we place exclusion distances on binary neutron star and neutron star-black hole progenitors, using astrophysically motivated priors on the source parameters, with median values of 16 Mpc and 28 Mpc respectively. These distance limits, while significantly larger than for a search that is not aided by GRB satellite observations, are not large enough to expect a coincidence with a GRB. However, projecting these exclusions to the sensitivities of Advanced LIGO and Virgo, which should begin operation in 2015, we find that the detection of gravitational waves associated with GRBs will become quite possible.
- May 08 2012 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1205.1124v2We present the first multi-wavelength follow-up observations of two candidate gravitational-wave (GW) transient events recorded by LIGO and Virgo in their 2009-2010 science run. The events were selected with low latency by the network of GW detectors and their candidate sky locations were observed by the Swift observatory. Image transient detection was used to analyze the collected electromagnetic data, which were found to be consistent with background. Off-line analysis of the GW data alone has also established that the selected GW events show no evidence of an astrophysical origin; one of them is consistent with background and the other one was a test, part of a "blind injection challenge". With this work we demonstrate the feasibility of rapid follow-ups of GW transients and establish the sensitivity improvement joint electromagnetic and GW observations could bring. This is a first step toward an electromagnetic follow-up program in the regime of routine detections with the advanced GW instruments expected within this decade. In that regime multi-wavelength observations will play a significant role in completing the astrophysical identification of GW sources. We present the methods and results from this first combined analysis and discuss its implications in terms of sensitivity for the present and future instruments.
- Mar 27 2012 gr-qc arXiv:1203.5613v2Between 2007 and 2010 Virgo collected data in coincidence with the LIGO and GEO gravitational-wave (GW) detectors. These data have been searched for GWs emitted by cataclysmic phenomena in the universe, by non-axisymmetric rotating neutron stars or from a stochastic background in the frequency band of the detectors. The sensitivity of GW searches is limited by noise produced by the detector or its environment. It is therefore crucial to characterize the various noise sources in a GW detector. This paper reviews the Virgo detector noise sources, noise propagation, and conversion mechanisms which were identified in the three first Virgo observing runs. In many cases, these investigations allowed us to mitigate noise sources in the detector, or to selectively flag noise events and discard them from the data. We present examples from the joint LIGO-GEO-Virgo GW searches to show how well noise transients and narrow spectral lines have been identified and excluded from the Virgo data. We also discuss how detector characterization can improve the astrophysical reach of gravitational-wave searches.
- Feb 14 2012 gr-qc arXiv:1202.2788v3We present results from a search for gravitational-wave bursts in the data collected by the LIGO and Virgo detectors between July 7, 2009 and October 20, 2010: data are analyzed when at least two of the three LIGO-Virgo detectors are in coincident operation, with a total observation time of 207 days. The analysis searches for transients of duration < 1 s over the frequency band 64-5000 Hz, without other assumptions on the signal waveform, polarization, direction or occurrence time. All identified events are consistent with the expected accidental background. We set frequentist upper limits on the rate of gravitational-wave bursts by combining this search with the previous LIGO-Virgo search on the data collected between November 2005 and October 2007. The upper limit on the rate of strong gravitational-wave bursts at the Earth is 1.3 events per year at 90% confidence. We also present upper limits on source rate density per year and Mpc^3 for sample populations of standard-candle sources. As in the previous joint run, typical sensitivities of the search in terms of the root-sum-squared strain amplitude for these waveforms lie in the range 5 10^-22 Hz^-1/2 to 1 10^-20 Hz^-1/2. The combination of the two joint runs entails the most sensitive all-sky search for generic gravitational-wave bursts and synthesizes the results achieved by the initial generation of interferometric detectors.
- Jan 31 2012 gr-qc arXiv:1201.5999v3We present the results of a weakly modeled burst search for gravitational waves from mergers of non-spinning intermediate mass black holes (IMBH) in the total mass range 100--450 solar masses and with the component mass ratios between 1:1 and 4:1. The search was conducted on data collected by the LIGO and Virgo detectors between November of 2005 and October of 2007. No plausible signals were observed by the search which constrains the astrophysical rates of the IMBH mergers as a function of the component masses. In the most efficiently detected bin centered on 88+88 solar masses, for non-spinning sources, the rate density upper limit is 0.13 per Mpc^3 per Myr at the 90% confidence level.
- Jan 24 2012 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1201.4413v3We present the results of a LIGO search for gravitational waves (GWs) associated with GRB 051103, a short-duration hard-spectrum gamma-ray burst (GRB) whose electromagnetically determined sky position is coincident with the spiral galaxy M81, which is 3.6 Mpc from Earth. Possible progenitors for short-hard GRBs include compact object mergers and soft gamma repeater (SGR) giant flares. A merger progenitor would produce a characteristic GW signal that should be detectable at the distance of M81, while GW emission from an SGR is not expected to be detectable at that distance. We found no evidence of a GW signal associated with GRB 051103. Assuming weakly beamed gamma-ray emission with a jet semi-angle of 30 deg we exclude a binary neutron star merger in M81 as the progenitor with a confidence of 98%. Neutron star-black hole mergers are excluded with > 99% confidence. If the event occurred in M81 our findings support the the hypothesis that GRB 051103 was due to an SGR giant flare, making it the most distant extragalactic magnetar observed to date.
- Dec 22 2011 gr-qc arXiv:1112.5004v4A stochastic background of gravitational waves is expected to arise from a superposition of many incoherent sources of gravitational waves, of either cosmological or astrophysical origin. This background is a target for the current generation of ground-based detectors. In this article we present the first joint search for a stochastic background using data from the LIGO and Virgo interferometers. In a frequency band of 600-1000 Hz, we obtained a 95% upper limit on the amplitude of $\Omega_{\rm GW}(f) = \Omega_3 (f/900 \mathrm{Hz})^3$, of $\Omega_3 < 0.33$, assuming a value of the Hubble parameter of $h_{100}=0.72$. These new limits are a factor of seven better than the previous best in this frequency band.
- Dec 01 2011 gr-qc arXiv:1111.7314v4We report on a search for gravitational waves from coalescing compact binaries using LIGO and Virgo observations between July 7, 2009 and October 20, 2010. We searched for signals from binaries with total mass between 2 and 25 solar masses; this includes binary neutron stars, binary black holes, and binaries consisting of a black hole and neutron star. The detectors were sensitive to systems up to 40 Mpc distant for binary neutron stars, and further for higher mass systems. No gravitational-wave signals were detected. We report upper limits on the rate of compact binary coalescence as a function of total mass, including the results from previous LIGO and Virgo observations. The cumulative 90%-confidence rate upper limits of the binary coalescence of binary neutron star, neutron star- black hole and binary black hole systems are 1.3 x 10^-4, 3.1 x 10^-5 and 6.4 x 10^-6 Mpc^-3yr^-1, respectively. These upper limits are up to a factor 1.4 lower than previously derived limits. We also report on results from a blind injection challenge.
- Oct 04 2011 gr-qc arXiv:1110.0208v1We report on an all-sky search for periodic gravitational waves in the frequency band 50-800 Hz and with the frequency time derivative in the range of 0 through -6e-9 Hz/s. Such a signal could be produced by a nearby spinning and slightly non-axisymmetric isolated neutron star in our galaxy. After recent improvements in the search program that yielded a 10x increase in computational efficiency, we have searched in two years of data collected during LIGO's fifth science run and have obtained the most sensitive all-sky upper limits on gravitational wave strain to date. Near 150 Hz our upper limit on worst-case linearly polarized strain amplitude $h_0$ is 1e-24, while at the high end of our frequency range we achieve a worst-case upper limit of 3.8e-24 for all polarizations and sky locations. These results constitute a factor of two improvement upon previously published data. A new detection pipeline utilizing a Loosely Coherent algorithm was able to follow up weaker outliers, increasing the volume of space where signals can be detected by a factor of 10, but has not revealed any gravitational wave signals. The pipeline has been tested for robustness with respect to deviations from the model of an isolated neutron star, such as caused by a low-mass or long-period binary companion.
- Sep 17 2011 astro-ph.IM gr-qc arXiv:1109.3498v2Aims. A transient astrophysical event observed in both gravitational wave (GW) and electromagnetic (EM) channels would yield rich scientific rewards. A first program initiating EM follow-ups to possible transient GW events has been developed and exercised by the LIGO and Virgo community in association with several partners. In this paper, we describe and evaluate the methods used to promptly identify and localize GW event candidates and to request images of targeted sky locations. Methods. During two observing periods (Dec 17 2009 to Jan 8 2010 and Sep 2 to Oct 20 2010), a low-latency analysis pipeline was used to identify GW event candidates and to reconstruct maps of possible sky locations. A catalog of nearby galaxies and Milky Way globular clusters was used to select the most promising sky positions to be imaged, and this directional information was delivered to EM observatories with time lags of about thirty minutes. A Monte Carlo simulation has been used to evaluate the low-latency GW pipeline's ability to reconstruct source positions correctly. Results. For signals near the detection threshold, our low-latency algorithms often localized simulated GW burst signals to tens of square degrees, while neutron star/neutron star inspirals and neutron star/black hole inspirals were localized to a few hundred square degrees. Localization precision improves for moderately stronger signals. The correct sky location of signals well above threshold and originating from nearby galaxies may be observed with ~50% or better probability with a few pointings of wide-field telescopes.
- Aug 09 2011 gr-qc astro-ph.IM arXiv:1108.1423v2Einstein gravitational-wave Telescope (ET) is a design study funded by the European Commission to explore the technological challenges of and scientific benefits from building a third generation gravitational wave detector. The three-year study, which concluded earlier this year, has formulated the conceptual design of an observatory that can support the implementation of new technology for the next two to three decades. The goal of this talk is to introduce the audience to the overall aims and objectives of the project and to enumerate ET's potential to influence our understanding of fundamental physics, astrophysics and cosmology.
- Apr 15 2011 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1104.2712v2