results for au:Collaboration_Virgo in:gr-qc

- Mar 01 2018 gr-qc astro-ph.CO arXiv:1802.10194v2The detection of gravitational waves with Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo has enabled novel tests of general relativity, including direct study of the polarization of gravitational waves. While general relativity allows for only two tensor gravitational-wave polarizations, general metric theories can additionally predict two vector and two scalar polarizations. The polarization of gravitational waves is encoded in the spectral shape of the stochastic gravitational-wave background, formed by the superposition of cosmological and individually-unresolved astrophysical sources. Using data recorded by Advanced LIGO during its first observing run, we search for a stochastic background of generically-polarized gravitational waves. We find no evidence for a background of any polarization, and place the first direct bounds on the contributions of vector and scalar polarizations to the stochastic background. Under log-uniform priors for the energy in each polarization, we limit the energy-densities of tensor, vector, and scalar modes at 95% credibility to $\Omega^T_0 < 5.6 \times 10^{-8}$, $\Omega^V_0 < 6.4\times 10^{-8}$, and $\Omega^S_0 < 1.1\times 10^{-7}$ at a reference frequency $f_0 = 25$ Hz.
- Feb 15 2018 gr-qc arXiv:1802.05241v1We report on a new all-sky search for periodic gravitational waves in the frequency band 475-2000 Hz and with a frequency time derivative in the range of [-1.0e-8, +1e-9] Hz/s. Potential signals could be produced by a nearby spinning and slightly non-axisymmetric isolated neutron star in our galaxy. This search uses the data from Advanced LIGO's first observational run O1. No gravitational wave signals were observed, and upper limits were placed on their strengths. For completeness, results from the separately published low frequency search 20-475 Hz are included as well. Our lowest upper limit on worst-case (linearly polarized) strain amplitude h_0 is 4e-25 near 170 Hz, while at the high end of our frequency range we achieve a worst-case upper limit of 1.3e-24. For a circularly polarized source (most favorable orientation), the smallest upper limit obtained is ~1.5e-25.
- Dec 05 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.CO arXiv:1712.01168v2Cosmic strings are topological defects which can be formed in GUT-scale phase transitions in the early universe. They are also predicted to form in the context of string theory. The main mechanism for a network of Nambu-Goto cosmic strings to lose energy is through the production of loops and the subsequent emission of gravitational waves, thus offering an experimental signature for the existence of cosmic strings. Here we report on the analysis conducted to specifically search for gravitational-wave bursts from cosmic string loops in the data of Advanced LIGO 2015-2016 observing run (O1). No evidence of such signals was found in the data, and as a result we set upper limits on the cosmic string parameters for three recent loop distribution models. In this paper, we initially derive constraints on the string tension $G\mu$ and the intercommutation probability, using not only the burst analysis performed on the O1 data set, but also results from the previously published LIGO stochastic O1 analysis, pulsar timing arrays, cosmic microwave background and Big-Bang nucleosynthesis experiments. We show that these data sets are complementary in that they probe gravitational waves produced by cosmic string loops during very different epochs. Finally, we show that the data sets exclude large parts of the parameter space of the three loop distribution models we consider.
- 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.
- Nov 16 2017 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1711.05578v1On June 8, 2017 at 02:01:16.49 UTC, a gravitational-wave signal from the merger of two stellar-mass black holes was observed by the two Advanced LIGO detectors with a network signal-to-noise ratio of 13. This system is the lightest black hole binary so far observed, with component masses $12^{+7}_{-2}\,M_\odot$ and $7^{+2}_{-2}\,M_\odot$ (90% credible intervals). These lie in the range of measured black hole masses in low-mass X-ray binaries, thus allowing us to compare black holes detected through gravitational waves with electromagnetic observations. The source's luminosity distance is $340^{+140}_{-140}$ Mpc, corresponding to redshift $0.07^{+0.03}_{-0.03}$. We verify that the signal waveform is consistent with the predictions of general relativity.
- Oct 26 2017 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1710.09320v1The first observation of a binary neutron star coalescence by the Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo gravitational-wave detectors offers an unprecedented opportunity to study matter under the most extreme conditions. After such a merger, a compact remnant is left over whose nature depends primarily on the masses of the inspiralling objects and on the equation of state of nuclear matter. This could be either a black hole or a neutron star (NS), with the latter being either long-lived or too massive for stability implying delayed collapse to a black hole. Here, we present a search for gravitational waves from the remnant of the binary neutron star merger GW170817 using data from Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo. We search for short ($\lesssim1$ s) and intermediate-duration ($\lesssim 500$ s) signals, which includes gravitational-wave emission from a hypermassive NS or supramassive NS, respectively. We find no signal from the post-merger remnant. Our derived strain upper limits are more than an order of magnitude larger than those predicted by most models. For short signals, our best upper limit on the root-sum-square of the gravitational-wave strain emitted from 1--4 kHz is $h_{\rm rss}^{50\%}=2.1\times 10^{-22}$ Hz$^{-1/2}$ at 50% detection efficiency. For intermediate-duration signals, our best upper limit at 50% detection efficiency is $h_{\rm rss}^{50\%}=8.4\times 10^{-22}$ Hz$^{-1/2}$ for a millisecond magnetar model, and $h_{\rm rss}^{50\%}=5.9\times 10^{-22}$ Hz$^{-1/2}$ for a bar-mode model. These results indicate that post-merger emission from a similar event may be detectable when advanced detectors reach design sensitivity or with next-generation detectors.
- Oct 17 2017 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1710.05834v2On 2017 August 17, the gravitational-wave event GW170817 was observed by the Advanced LIGO and Virgo detectors, and the gamma-ray burst (GRB) GRB 170817A was observed independently by the Fermi Gamma-ray Burst Monitor, and the Anticoincidence Shield for the Spectrometer for the International Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory. The probability of the near-simultaneous temporal and spatial observation of GRB 170817A and GW170817 occurring by chance is $5.0\times 10^{-8}$. We therefore confirm binary neutron star mergers as a progenitor of short GRBs. The association of GW170817 and GRB 170817A provides new insight into fundamental physics and the origin of short gamma-ray bursts. We use the observed time delay of $(+1.74 \pm 0.05)\,$s between GRB 170817A and GW170817 to: (i) constrain the difference between the speed of gravity and the speed of light to be between $-3\times 10^{-15}$ and $+7\times 10^{-16}$ times the speed of light, (ii) place new bounds on the violation of Lorentz invariance, (iii) present a new test of the equivalence principle by constraining the Shapiro delay between gravitational and electromagnetic radiation. We also use the time delay to constrain the size and bulk Lorentz factor of the region emitting the gamma rays. GRB 170817A is the closest short GRB with a known distance, but is between 2 and 6 orders of magnitude less energetic than other bursts with measured redshift. A new generation of gamma-ray detectors, and subthreshold searches in existing detectors, will be essential to detect similar short bursts at greater distances. Finally, we predict a joint detection rate for the Fermi Gamma-ray Burst Monitor and the Advanced LIGO and Virgo detectors of 0.1--1.4 per year during the 2018-2019 observing run and 0.3--1.7 per year at design sensitivity.
- Oct 17 2017 gr-qc arXiv:1710.05837v1The LIGO Scientific and Virgo Collaborations have announced the first detection of gravitational waves from the coalescence of two neutron stars. The merger rate of binary neutron stars estimated from this event suggests that distant, unresolvable binary neutron stars create a significant astrophysical stochastic gravitational-wave background. The binary neutron star background will add to the background from binary black holes, increasing the amplitude of the total astrophysical background relative to previous expectations. In the Advanced LIGO-Virgo frequency band most sensitive to stochastic backgrounds (near 25 Hz), we predict a total astrophysical background with amplitude $\Omega_{\rm GW} (f=25 \text{Hz}) = 1.8_{-1.3}^{+2.7} \times 10^{-9}$ with $90\%$ confidence, compared with $\Omega_{\rm GW} (f=25 \text{Hz}) = 1.1_{-0.7}^{+1.2} \times 10^{-9}$ from binary black holes alone. Assuming the most probable rate for compact binary mergers, we find that the total background may be detectable with a signal-to-noise-ratio of 3 after 40 months of total observation time, based on the expected timeline for Advanced LIGO and Virgo to reach their design sensitivity.
- Oct 17 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1710.05832v1On August 17, 2017 at 12:41:04 UTC the Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo gravitational-wave detectors made their first observation of a binary neutron star inspiral. The signal, GW170817, was detected with a combined signal-to-noise ratio of 32.4 and a false-alarm-rate estimate of less than one per $8.0\times10^4$ years. We infer the component masses of the binary to be between 0.86 and 2.26 $M_\odot$, in agreement with masses of known neutron stars. Restricting the component spins to the range inferred in binary neutron stars, we find the component masses to be in the range 1.17 to 1.60 $M_\odot$, with the total mass of the system $2.74^{+0.04}_{-0.01}\,M_\odot$. The source was localized within a sky region of 28 deg$^2$ (90% probability) and had a luminosity distance of $40^{+8}_{-14}$ Mpc, the closest and most precisely localized gravitational-wave signal yet. The association with the gamma-ray burst GRB 170817A, detected by Fermi-GBM 1.7 s after the coalescence, corroborates the hypothesis of a neutron star merger and provides the first direct evidence of a link between these mergers and short gamma-ray bursts. Subsequent identification of transient counterparts across the electromagnetic spectrum in the same location further supports the interpretation of this event as a neutron star merger. This unprecedented joint gravitational and electromagnetic observation provides insight into astrophysics, dense matter, gravitation and cosmology.
- Oct 17 2017 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1710.05833v2On 2017 August 17 a binary neutron star coalescence candidate (later designated GW170817) with merger time 12:41:04 UTC was observed through gravitational waves by the Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo detectors. The Fermi Gamma-ray Burst Monitor independently detected a gamma-ray burst (GRB 170817A) with a time delay of $\sim$1.7 s with respect to the merger time. From the gravitational-wave signal, the source was initially localized to a sky region of 31 deg$^2$ at a luminosity distance of $40^{+8}_{-8}$ Mpc and with component masses consistent with neutron stars. The component masses were later measured to be in the range 0.86 to 2.26 Msun. An extensive observing campaign was launched across the electromagnetic spectrum leading to the discovery of a bright optical transient (SSS17a, now with the IAU identification of AT 2017gfo) in NGC 4993 (at $\sim$40 Mpc) less than 11 hours after the merger by the One-Meter, Two Hemisphere (1M2H) team using the 1 m Swope Telescope. The optical transient was independently detected by multiple teams within an hour. Subsequent observations targeted the object and its environment. Early ultraviolet observations revealed a blue transient that faded within 48 hours. Optical and infrared observations showed a redward evolution over $\sim$10 days. Following early non-detections, X-ray and radio emission were discovered at the transient's position $\sim$9 and $\sim$16 days, respectively, after the merger. Both the X-ray and radio emission likely arise from a physical process that is distinct from the one that generates the UV/optical/near-infrared emission. No ultra-high-energy gamma-rays and no neutrino candidates consistent with the source were found in follow-up searches. (Abridged)
- 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.
- Oct 09 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1710.02327v2Spinning neutron stars asymmetric with respect to their rotation axis are potential sources of continuous gravitational waves for ground-based interferometric detectors. In the case of known pulsars a fully coherent search, based on matched filtering, which uses the position and rotational parameters obtained from electromagnetic observations, can be carried out. Matched filtering maximizes the signal-to-noise (SNR) ratio, but a large sensitivity loss is expected in case of even a very small mismatch between the assumed and the true signal parameters. For this reason, \it narrow-band analyses methods have been developed, allowing a fully coherent search for gravitational waves from known pulsars over a fraction of a hertz and several spin-down values. In this paper we describe a narrow-band search of eleven pulsars using data from Advanced LIGO's first observing run. Although we have found several initial outliers, further studies show no significant evidence for the presence of a gravitational wave signal. Finally, we have placed upper limits on the signal strain amplitude lower than the spin-down limit for 5 of the 11 targets over the bands searched: in the case of J1813-1749 the spin-down limit has been beaten for the first time. For an additional 3 targets, the median upper limit across the search bands is below the spin-down limit. This is the most sensitive narrow-band search for continuous gravitational waves carried out so far.
- Sep 28 2017 gr-qc arXiv:1709.09203v1We present results from the first directed search for nontensorial gravitational waves. While general relativity allows for tensorial (plus and cross) modes only, a generic metric theory may, in principle, predict waves with up to six different polarizations. This analysis is sensitive to continuous signals of scalar, vector or tensor polarizations, and does not rely on any specific theory of gravity. After searching data from the first observation run of the advanced LIGO detectors for signals at twice the rotational frequency of 200 known pulsars, we find no evidence of gravitational waves of any polarization. We report the first upper limits for scalar and vector strains, finding values comparable in magnitude to previously-published limits for tensor strain. Our results may be translated into constraints on specific alternative theories of gravity.
- Sep 28 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1709.09660v3On August 14, 2017 at 10:30:43 UTC, the Advanced Virgo detector and the two Advanced LIGO detectors coherently observed a transient gravitational-wave signal produced by the coalescence of two stellar mass black holes, with a false-alarm-rate of $\lesssim$ 1 in 27000 years. The signal was observed with a three-detector network matched-filter signal-to-noise ratio of 18. The inferred masses of the initial black holes are $30.5_{-3.0}^{+5.7}$ Msun and $25.3_{-4.2}^{+2.8}$ Msun (at the 90% credible level). The luminosity distance of the source is $540_{-210}^{+130}~\mathrm{Mpc}$, corresponding to a redshift of $z=0.11_{-0.04}^{+0.03}$. A network of three detectors improves the sky localization of the source, reducing the area of the 90% credible region from 1160 deg$^2$ using only the two LIGO detectors to 60 deg$^2$ using all three detectors. For the first time, we can test the nature of gravitational wave polarizations from the antenna response of the LIGO-Virgo network, thus enabling a new class of phenomenological tests of gravity.
- Jul 11 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.IM arXiv:1707.02667v2We report on an all-sky search for periodic gravitational waves in the frequency band 20-475 Hz and with a frequency time derivative in the range of [-1.0, +0.1]e-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 Advanced LIGO's first observational run, O1. No periodic gravitational wave signals were observed, and upper limits were placed on their strengths. The lowest upper limits on worst-case (linearly polarized) strain amplitude h0 are 4e-25 near 170 Hz. For a circularly polarized source (most favorable orientation), the smallest upper limits obtained are 1.5e-25. These upper limits refer to all sky locations and the entire range of frequency derivative values. For a population-averaged ensemble of sky locations and stellar orientations, the lowest upper limits obtained for the strain amplitude are 2.5e-25.
- Jul 11 2017 gr-qc arXiv:1707.02669v2We report results of a deep all-sky search for periodic gravitational waves from isolated neutron stars in data from the first Advanced LIGO observing run. This search investigates the low frequency range of Advanced LIGO data, between 20 and 100 Hz, much of which was not explored in initial LIGO. The search was made possible by the computing power provided by the volunteers of the Einstein@Home project. We find no significant signal candidate and set the most stringent upper limits to date on the amplitude of gravitational wave signals from the target population, corresponding to a sensitivity depth of 48.7 [1/$\sqrt{{\textrm{Hz}}}$]. At the frequency of best strain sensitivity, near 100 Hz, we set 90% confidence upper limits of $1.8 \times 10^{-25}$. At the low end of our frequency range, 20 Hz, we achieve upper limits of $3.9 \times 10^{-24}$. At 55 Hz we can exclude sources with ellipticities greater than $10^{-5}$ within 100 pc of Earth with fiducial value of the principal moment of inertia of $10^{38} \textrm{kg m}^2$.
- Jun 13 2017 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1706.03119v3We present the results of a semicoherent search for continuous gravitational waves from the low-mass X-ray binary Scorpius X-1, using data from the first Advanced LIGO observing run. The search method uses details of the modelled, parametrized continuous signal to combine coherently data separated by less than a specified coherence time, which can be adjusted to trade off sensitivity against computational cost. A search was conducted over the frequency range from 25 Hz to 2000 Hz, spanning the current observationally-constrained range of the binary orbital parameters. No significant detection candidates were found, and frequency-dependent upper limits were set using a combination of sensitivity estimates and simulated signal injections. The most stringent upper limit was set at 175 Hz, with comparable limits set across the most sensitive frequency range from 100 Hz to 200 Hz. At this frequency, the 95 pct upper limit on signal amplitude h0 is 2.3e-25 marginalized over the unknown inclination angle of the neutron star's spin, and 8.03e-26 assuming the best orientation (which results in circularly polarized gravitational waves). These limits are a factor of 3-4 stronger than those set by other analyses of the same data, and a factor of about 7 stronger than the best upper limits set using initial LIGO data. In the vicinity of 100 Hz, the limits are a factor of between 1.2 and 3.5 above the predictions of the torque balance model, depending on inclination angle, if the most likely inclination angle of 44 degrees is assumed, they are within a factor of 1.7.
- Jun 07 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1706.01812v1We describe the observation of GW170104, a gravitational-wave signal produced by the coalescence of a pair of stellar-mass black holes. The signal was measured on January 4, 2017 at 10:11:58.6 UTC by the twin advanced detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory during their second observing run, with a network signal-to-noise ratio of 13 and a false alarm rate less than 1 in 70,000 years. The inferred component black hole masses are $31.2^{+8.4}_{-6.0}\,M_\odot$ and $19.4^{+5.3}_{-5.9}\,M_\odot$ (at the 90% credible level). The black hole spins are best constrained through measurement of the effective inspiral spin parameter, a mass-weighted combination of the spin components perpendicular to the orbital plane, $\chi_\mathrm{eff} = -0.12^{+0.21}_{-0.30}.$ This result implies that spin configurations with both component spins positively aligned with the orbital angular momentum are disfavored. The source luminosity distance is $880^{+450}_{-390}~\mathrm{Mpc}$ corresponding to a redshift of $z = 0.18^{+0.08}_{-0.07}$. We constrain the magnitude of modifications to the gravitational-wave dispersion relation and perform null tests of general relativity. Assuming that gravitons are dispersed in vacuum like massive particles, we bound the graviton mass to $m_g \le 7.7 \times 10^{-23}~\mathrm{eV}/c^2$. In all cases, we find that GW170104 is consistent with general relativity.
- Apr 18 2017 gr-qc arXiv:1704.04628v4During their first observational run, the two Advanced LIGO detectors attained an unprecedented sensitivity, resulting in the first direct detections of gravitational-wave signals and GW151226, produced by stellar-mass binary black hole systems. This paper reports on an all-sky search for gravitational waves (GWs) from merging intermediate mass black hole binaries (IMBHBs). The combined results from two independent search techniques were used in this study: the first employs a matched-filter algorithm that uses a bank of filters covering the GW signal parameter space, while the second is a generic search for GW transients (bursts). No GWs from IMBHBs were detected, therefore, we constrain the rate of several classes of IMBHB mergers. The most stringent limit is obtained for black holes of individual mass $100\,M_\odot$, with spins aligned with the binary orbital angular momentum. For such systems, the merger rate is constrained to be less than $0.93~\mathrm{Gpc^{-3}\,yr}^{-1}$ in comoving units at the $90\%$ confidence level, an improvement of nearly 2 orders of magnitude over previous upper limits.
- Apr 13 2017 gr-qc arXiv:1704.03719v3Results are presented from a semi-coherent search for continuous gravitational waves from the brightest low-mass X-ray binary, Scorpius X-1, using data collected during the first Advanced LIGO observing run (O1). The search combines a frequency domain matched filter (Bessel-weighted $\mathcal{F}$-statistic) with a hidden Markov model to track wandering of the neutron star spin frequency. No evidence of gravitational waves is found in the frequency range 60-650 Hz. Frequentist 95% confidence strain upper limits, $h_0^{95\%} = 4.0\times10^{-25}$, $8.3\times10^{-25}$, and $3.0\times10^{-25}$ for electromagnetically restricted source orientation, unknown polarization, and circular polarization, respectively, are reported at 106 Hz. They are $\leq 10$ times higher than the theoretical torque-balance limit at 106 Hz.
- 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 01 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.IM arXiv:1606.09619v2We report results of a deep all-sky search for periodic gravitational waves from isolated neutron stars in data from the S6 LIGO science run. The search was possible thanks to the computing power provided by the volunteers of the Einstein@Home distributed computing project. We find no significant signal candidate and set the most stringent upper limits to date on the amplitude of gravitational wave signals from the target population. At the frequency of best strain sensitivity, between $170.5$ and $171$ Hz we set a 90% confidence upper limit of ${5.5}^{-25}$, while at the high end of our frequency range, around 505 Hz, we achieve upper limits $\simeq {10}^{-24}$. At $230$ Hz we can exclude sources with ellipticities greater than $10^{-6}$ within 100 pc of Earth with fiducial value of the principal moment of inertia of $10^{38} \textrm{kg m}^2$. If we assume a higher (lower) gravitational wave spindown we constrain farther (closer) objects to higher (lower) ellipticities.
- 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.
- Jun 16 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1606.04855v1We report the observation of a gravitational-wave signal produced by the coalescence of two stellar-mass black holes. The signal, GW151226, was observed by the twin detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) on December 26, 2015 at 03:38:53 UTC. The signal was initially identified within 70 s by an online matched-filter search targeting binary coalescences. Subsequent off-line analyses recovered GW151226 with a network signal-to-noise ratio of 13 and a significance greater than 5 $\sigma$. The signal persisted in the LIGO frequency band for approximately 1 s, increasing in frequency and amplitude over about 55 cycles from 35 to 450 Hz, and reached a peak gravitational strain of $3.4_{-0.9}^{+0.7} \times 10^{-22}$. The inferred source-frame initial black hole masses are $14.2_{-3.7}^{+8.3} M_{\odot}$ and $7.5_{-2.3}^{+2.3} M_{\odot}$ and the final black hole mass is $20.8_{-1.7}^{+6.1} M_{\odot}$. We find that at least one of the component black holes has spin greater than 0.2. This source is located at a luminosity distance of $440_{-190}^{+180}$ Mpc corresponding to a redshift $0.09_{-0.04}^{+0.03}$. All uncertainties define a 90 % credible interval. This second gravitational-wave observation provides improved constraints on stellar populations and on deviations from general relativity.
- 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.
- The gravitational-wave signal GW150914 was first identified on Sept 14 2015 by searches for short-duration gravitational-wave transients. These searches identify time-correlated transients in multiple detectors with minimal assumptions aboutthe signal morphology, allowing them to be sensitive to gravitational waves emitted by a wide range of sources including binary black-hole mergers. Over the observational period from September 12th to October 20th 2015, these transient searches were sensitive to binary black-hole mergers similar to GW150914 to an average distance of $\sim 600$ Mpc. In this paper, we describe the analyses that first detected GW150914 as well as the parameter estimation and waveform reconstruction techniques that initially identified GW150914 as the merger of two black holes. We find that the reconstructed waveform is consistent with the signal from a binary black-hole merger with a chirp mass of $\sim 30 \, M_\odot$ and a total mass before merger of $\sim 70 \, M_\odot$ in the detector frame.
- On September 14, 2015, a gravitational wave signal from a coalescing black hole binary system was observed by the Advanced LIGO detectors. This paper describes the transient noise backgrounds used to determine the significance of the event (designated GW150914) and presents the results of investigations into potential correlated or uncorrelated sources of transient noise in the detectors around the time of the event. The detectors were operating nominally at the time of GW150914. We have ruled out environmental influences and non-Gaussian instrument noise at either LIGO detector as the cause of the observed gravitational wave signal.
- Feb 12 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1602.03837v1On September 14, 2015 at 09:50:45 UTC the two detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory simultaneously observed a transient gravitational-wave signal. The signal sweeps upwards in frequency from 35 to 250 Hz with a peak gravitational-wave strain of $1.0 \times 10^{-21}$. It matches the waveform predicted by general relativity for the inspiral and merger of a pair of black holes and the ringdown of the resulting single black hole. The signal 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. The source lies at a luminosity distance of $410^{+160}_{-180}$ Mpc corresponding to a redshift $z = 0.09^{+0.03}_{-0.04}$. In the source frame, the initial black hole masses are $36^{+5}_{-4} M_\odot$ and $29^{+4}_{-4} M_\odot$, and the final black hole mass is $62^{+4}_{-4} M_\odot$, with $3.0^{+0.5}_{-0.5} M_\odot c^2$ radiated in gravitational waves. All uncertainties define 90% credible intervals.These observations demonstrate the existence of binary stellar-mass black hole systems. This is the first direct detection of gravitational waves and the first observation of a binary black hole merger.
- Following a major upgrade, the two advanced detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) held their first observation run between September 2015 and January 2016. With a strain sensitivity of $10^{-23}/\sqrt{\mathrm{Hz}}$ at 100 Hz, the product of observable volume and measurement time exceeded that of all previous runs within the first 16 days of coincident observation. On September 14th, 2015 the Advanced LIGO detectors observed a transient gravitational-wave signal determined to be the coalescence of two black holes [Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 061102 (2016)], launching the era of gravitational-wave astronomy. The event, GW150914, was observed with a combined signal-to-noise ratio of 24 in coincidence by the two detectors. Here we present the main features of the detectors that enabled this observation. At full sensitivity, the Advanced LIGO detectors are designed to deliver another factor of three improvement in the signal-to-noise ratio for binary black hole systems similar in masses to GW150914.
- 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.
- Feb 12 2016 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1602.03846v1The discovery of the gravitational-wave source GW150914 with the Advanced LIGO detectors provides the first observational evidence for the existence of binary black-hole systems that inspiral and merge within the age of the Universe. Such black-hole mergers have been predicted in two main types of formation models, involving isolated binaries in galactic fields or dynamical interactions in young and old dense stellar environments. The measured masses robustly demonstrate that relatively "heavy" black holes ($\gtrsim 25\, M_\odot$) can form in nature. This discovery implies relatively weak massive-star winds and thus the formation of GW150914 in an environment with metallicity lower than $\sim 1/2$ of the solar value. The rate of binary black-hole mergers inferred from the observation of GW150914 is consistent with the higher end of rate predictions ($\gtrsim 1 \, \mathrm{Gpc}^{-3} \, \mathrm{yr}^{-1}$) from both types of formation models. The low measured redshift ($z \sim 0.1$) of GW150914 and the low inferred metallicity of the stellar progenitor imply either binary black-hole formation in a low-mass galaxy in the local Universe and a prompt merger, or formation at high redshift with a time delay between formation and merger of several Gyr. This discovery motivates further studies of binary-black-hole formation astrophysics. It also has implications for future detections and studies by Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo, and gravitational-wave detectors in space.
- 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 gr-qc arXiv:1602.03841v2The LIGO detection of GW150914 provides an unprecedented opportunity to study the two-body motion of a compact-object binary in the large velocity, highly nonlinear regime, and to witness the final merger of the binary and the excitation of uniquely relativistic modes of the gravitational field. We carry out several investigations to determine whether GW150914 is consistent with a binary black-hole merger in general relativity. We find that the final remnant's mass and spin, as determined from the low-frequency (inspiral) and high-frequency (post-inspiral) phases of the signal, are mutually consistent with the binary black-hole solution in general relativity. Furthermore, the data following the peak of GW150914 are consistent with the least-damped quasi-normal mode inferred from the mass and spin of the remnant black hole. By using waveform models that allow for parameterized general-relativity violations during the inspiral and merger phases, we perform quantitative tests on the gravitational-wave phase in the dynamical regime and we determine the first empirical bounds on several high-order post-Newtonian coefficients. We constrain the graviton Compton wavelength, assuming that gravitons are dispersed in vacuum in the same way as particles with mass, obtaining a $90\%$-confidence lower bound of $10^{13}$ km. In conclusion, within our statistical uncertainties, we find no evidence for violations of general relativity in the genuinely strong-field regime of gravity.
- 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 $2$--$600 \, \mathrm{Gpc}^{-3} \mathrm{yr}^{-1}$.
- The LIGO detection of the gravitational wave transient GW150914, from the inspiral and merger of two black holes with masses $\gtrsim 30\, \text{M}_\odot$, suggests a population of binary black holes with relatively high mass. This observation implies that the stochastic gravitational-wave background from binary black holes, created from the incoherent superposition of all the merging binaries in the Universe, could be higher than previously expected. Using the properties of GW150914, we estimate the energy density of such a background from binary black holes. In the most sensitive part of the Advanced LIGO/Virgo band for stochastic backgrounds (near 25 Hz), we predict $\Omega_\text{GW}(f=25 Hz) = 1.1_{-0.9}^{+2.7} \times 10^{-9}$ with 90\% confidence. This prediction is robustly demonstrated for a variety of formation scenarios with different parameters. The differences between models are small compared to the statistical uncertainty arising from the currently poorly constrained local coalescence rate. We conclude that this background is potentially measurable by the Advanced LIGO/Virgo detectors operating at their projected final sensitivity.
- 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.
- Jul 08 2015 gr-qc astro-ph.IM arXiv:1507.01787v1The Multi-Band Template Analysis is a low-latency analysis pipeline for the detection of gravitational waves to triggering electromagnetic follow up observations. Coincident observation of gravitational waves and an electromagnetic counterpart will allow us to develop a complete picture of energetic astronomical events. We give an outline of the MBTA pipeline, as well as the procedure for distributing gravitational wave candidate events to our astronomical partners. We give some details of the recent work that has been done to improve the MBTA pipeline and are now making preparations for the advanced detector era.
- May 19 2015 gr-qc arXiv:1505.04621v1Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo are expected to make the first direct detections of gravitational waves (GW) in the next several years. Possible types of GW emission include short-duration bursts, signals from the coalescence of compact binaries consisting of neutron stars or black holes, continuous radiation from fast-spinning neutron stars, and stochastic background radiation of a primordial nature or resulting from the superposition of a large number of individually unresolvable sources. We describe the different approaches that have been developed to search for these different types of signals. In this paper we focus on the GW detection methods themselves; multi-messenger searches as well as further science enabled by detections are dealt with in separate contributions to this volume.
- 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.
- Jan 24 2014 gr-qc physics.ins-det arXiv:1401.6066v2The Virgo detector is a kilometer-scale interferometer for gravitational wave detection located near Pisa (Italy). About 13 months of data were accumulated during four science runs (VSR1, VSR2, VSR3 and VSR4) between May 2007 and September 2011, with increasing sensitivity. In this paper, the method used to reconstruct, in the range 10 Hz-10 kHz, the gravitational wave strain time series $h(t)$ from the detector signals is described. The standard consistency checks of the reconstruction are discussed and used to estimate the systematic uncertainties of the $h(t)$ signal as a function of frequency. Finally, an independent setup, the photon calibrator, is described and used to validate the reconstructed $h(t)$ signal and the associated uncertainties. The uncertainties of the $h(t)$ time series are estimated to be 8% in amplitude. The uncertainty of the phase of $h(t)$ is 50 mrad at 10 Hz with a frequency dependence following a delay of 8 $\mu$s at high frequency. A bias lower than $4\,\mathrm{\mu s}$ and depending on the sky direction of the GW is also present.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:1304.0670v6We 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 5-20 square degrees requires at least three detectors of sensitivity within a factor of ~2 of each other and with a broad frequency bandwidth. When all detectors, including KAGRA and the third LIGO detector in India, reach design sensitivity, a significant fraction of gravitational-wave signals will be localized to a few square degrees by gravitational-wave observations alone.
- The LIGO Scientific Collaboration and Virgo Collaboration have carried out joint searches in LIGO and Virgo data for periodic continuous gravitational waves. These analyses range from targeted searches for gravitational-wave signals from known pulsars, for which precise ephemerides from radio or X-ray observations are used in matched filters, to all-sky searches for unknown neutron stars, including stars in binary systems. Between these extremes lie directed searches for known stars of unknown spin frequency or for new unknown sources at specific locations, such as near the galactic center or in globular clusters. Recent and ongoing searches of each type will be summarized, along with prospects for future searches using data from the Advanced LIGO and Virgo detectors.
- Gravitational waves are radiative solutions of space-time dynamics predicted by Einstein's theory of General Relativity. A world-wide array of large-scale and highly sensitive interferometric detectors constantly scrutinizes the geometry of the local space-time with the hope to detect deviations that would signal an impinging gravitational wave from a remote astrophysical source. Finding the rare and weak signature of gravitational waves buried in non-stationary and non-Gaussian instrument noise is a particularly challenging problem. We will give an overview of the data-analysis techniques and associated observational results obtained so far by Virgo (in Europe) and LIGO (in the US), along with the prospects offered by the up-coming advanced versions of those detectors.