results for au:Etienne_Z in:gr-qc

- Many codes have been developed to study highly relativistic, magnetized flows around and inside compact objects. Depending on the adopted formalism, some of these codes evolve the vector potential $\mathbf{A}$, and others evolve the magnetic field $\mathbf{B}=\nabla\times\mathbf{A}$ directly. Given that these codes possess unique strengths, sometimes it is desirable to start a simulation using a code that evolves $\mathbf{B}$ and complete it using a code that evolves $\mathbf{A}$. Thus transferring the data from one code to another would require an inverse curl algorithm. This paper describes two new inverse curl techniques in the context of Cartesian numerical grids: a cell-by-cell method, which scales approximately linearly with the numerical grid, and a global linear algebra approach, which has worse scaling properties but is generally more robust (e.g., in the context of a magnetic field possessing some nonzero divergence). We demonstrate these algorithms successfully generate smooth vector potential configurations in challenging special and general relativistic contexts.
- Mar 20 2018 gr-qc arXiv:1803.06346v1When a gravitational wave is detected by Advanced LIGO/Virgo, sophisticated parameter estimation (PE) pipelines spring into action. These pipelines leverage approximants to generate large numbers of theoretical gravitational waveform predictions to characterize the detected signal. One of the most accurate and physically comprehensive classes of approximants in wide use is the "Spinning Effective One Body--Numerical Relativity" (SEOBNR) family. Waveform generation with these approximants can be computationally expensive, which has limited their usefulness in multiple data analysis contexts. In prior work we improved the performance of the aligned-spin approximant SEOBNR version 2 (v2) by nearly 300x. In this work we focus on optimizing the full eight-dimensional, precessing approximant SEOBNR version 3 (v3). While several v2 optimizations were implemented during its development, v3 is far too slow for use in state-of-the-art source characterization efforts for long-inspiral detections. Completion of a PE run after such a detection could take centuries to complete using v3. Here we develop and implement a host of optimizations for v3, calling the optimized approximant v3_Opt. Our optimized approximant is about 340x faster than v3, and generates waveforms that are numerically indistinguishable.
- 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 28 2018 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1802.09625v3Numerical relativity codes that do not make assumptions on spatial symmetries most commonly adopt Cartesian coordinates. While these coordinates have many attractive features, spherical coordinates are much better suited to take advantage of approximate symmetries in a number of astrophysical objects, including single stars, black holes and accretion disks. While the appearance of coordinate singularities often spoils numerical relativity simulations in spherical coordinates, especially in the absence of any symmetry assumptions, it has recently been demonstrated that these problems can be avoided if the coordinate singularities are handled analytically. This is possible with the help of a reference-metric version of the Baumgarte-Shapiro-Shibata-Nakamura formulation together with a proper rescaling of tensorial quantities. In this paper we report on an implementation of this formalism in the Einstein Toolkit. We adapt the Einstein Toolkit infrastructure, originally designed for Cartesian coordinates, to handle spherical coordinates, by providing appropriate boundary conditions at both inner and outer boundaries. We perform numerical simulations for a disturbed Kerr black hole, extract the gravitational wave signal, and demonstrate that the noise in these signals is orders of magnitude smaller when computed on spherical grids rather than Cartesian grids. With the public release of our new Einstein Toolkit thorns, our methods for numerical relativity in spherical coordinates will become available to the entire numerical relativity community.
- 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 22 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1712.07658v2We report on a new open-source, user-friendly numerical relativity code package called SENR/NRPy+. Our code extends previous implementations of the BSSN reference-metric formulation to a much broader class of curvilinear coordinate systems, making it ideally-suited to modeling physical configurations with approximate or exact symmetries. In the context of modeling black hole dynamics, it is orders of magnitude more efficient than other widely used open-source numerical relativity codes. NRPy+ provides a Python-based interface in which equations are written in natural tensorial form and output at arbitrary finite difference order as highly efficient C code, putting complex tensorial equations at the scientist's fingertips without the need for an expensive software license. SENR provides the algorithmic framework that combines the C codes generated by NRPy+ into a functioning numerical relativity code. We validate against two other established, state-of-the-art codes, and achieve excellent agreement. For the first time we demonstrate--in the context of puncture, trumpet, and dual black hole evolutions--nearly exponential convergence of constraint violation and gravitational waveform errors to zero as the order of spatial finite difference derivatives is increased, while holding the spherical-like coordinate grids fixed at moderate resolution. Such behavior outside the horizons is remarkable, as numerical errors do not converge to zero inside horizons, and all points along the polar axis are coordinate singularities. The formulation addresses such coordinate singularities via cell-centered grids and a simple change of basis that analytically regularizes tensor components with respect to the coordinates. Future plans include extending this formulation to allow dynamical coordinate grids and bispherical-like distribution of points to efficiently capture orbiting compact binary dynamics.
- 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 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 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.
- Oct 06 2017 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1710.02132v2Binary black hole (BBH) mergers provide a prime source for current and future interferometric GW observatories. Massive BBH mergers may often take place in plasma-rich environments, leading to the exciting possibility of a concurrent electromagnetic (EM) signal observable by traditional astronomical facilities. However, many critical questions about the generation of such counterparts remain unanswered. We explore mechanisms that may drive EM counterparts with magnetohydrodynamic simulations treating a range of scenarios involving equal-mass black-hole binaries immersed in an initially homogeneous fluid with uniform, orbitally aligned magnetic fields. We find that the time development of Poynting luminosity, which may drive jet-like emissions, is relatively insensitive to aspects of the initial configuration. In particular, over a significant range of initial values, the central magnetic field strength is effectively regulated by the gas flow to yield a Poynting luminosity of $10^{45}-10^{46} \rho_{-13} M_8^2 \, {\rm erg}\,{\rm s}^{-1}$, with BBH mass scaled to $M_8 \equiv M/(10^8 M_{\odot})$ and ambient density $\rho_{-13} \equiv \rho/(10^{-13} \, {\rm g} \, {\rm cm}^{-3})$. We also calculate the direct plasma synchrotron emissions processed through geodesic ray-tracing. Despite lensing effects and dynamics, we find the observed synchrotron flux varies little leading up to merger.
- 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.
- Apr 04 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1704.00599v2We present GiRaFFE, the first open-source general relativistic force-free electrodynamics (GRFFE) code for dynamical, numerical-relativity generated spacetimes. GiRaFFE adopts the strategy pioneered by McKinney and modified by Paschalidis and Shapiro to convert a GR magnetohydrodynamic (GRMHD) code into a GRFFE code. In short, GiRaFFE exists as a modification of IllinoisGRMHD, a user-friendly, open-source, dynamical-spacetime GRMHD code. Both GiRaFFE and IllinoisGRMHD leverage the Einstein Toolkit's highly-scalable infrastructure to make possible large-scale simulations of magnetized plasmas in strong, dynamical spacetimes on adaptive-mesh refinement (AMR) grids. We demonstrate that GiRaFFE passes a large suite of both flat and curved-spacetime code tests passed by a number of other state-of-the-art GRFFE codes, and is thus ready for production-scale simulations of GRFFE phenomena of key interest to relativistic astrophysics.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Jan 15 2016 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1601.03393v2The Spinning Effective One Body-Numerical Relativity (SEOBNR) series of gravitational wave approximants are among the best available for Advanced LIGO data analysis. Unfortunately, SEOBNR codes as they currently exist within LALSuite are generally too slow to be directly useful for standard Markov-Chain Monte Carlo-based parameter estimation (PE). Reduced-Order Models (ROMs) of SEOBNR have been developed for this purpose, but there is no known way to make ROMs of the full eight-dimensional intrinsic parameter space more efficient for PE than the SEOBNR codes directly. So as a proof of principle, we have sped up the original LALSuite SEOBNRv2 approximant code, which models waveforms from aligned-spin systems, by nearly 300x. Our optimized code shortens the timescale for conducting PE with this approximant to months, assuming a purely serial analysis, so that even modest parallelization combined with our optimized code will make running the full PE pipeline with SEOBNR codes directly a realistic possibility. A number of our SEOBNRv2 optimizations have already been applied to SEOBNRv3, a new approximant capable of modeling sources with all eight (precessing) intrinsic degrees of freedom. We anticipate that once all of our optimizations have been applied to SEOBNRv3, a similar speed-up may be achieved.
- Jan 30 2015 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1501.07276v2In the extreme violence of merger and mass accretion, compact objects like black holes and neutron stars are thought to launch some of the most luminous outbursts of electromagnetic and gravitational wave energy in the Universe. Modeling these systems realistically is a central problem in theoretical astrophysics, but has proven extremely challenging, requiring the development of numerical relativity codes that solve Einstein's equations for the spacetime, coupled to the equations of general relativistic (ideal) magnetohydrodynamics (GRMHD) for the magnetized fluids. Over the past decade, the Illinois Numerical Relativity (ILNR) Group's dynamical spacetime GRMHD code has proven itself as a robust and reliable tool for theoretical modeling of such GRMHD phenomena. However, the code was written "by experts and for experts" of the code, with a steep learning curve that would severely hinder community adoption if it were open-sourced. Here we present IllinoisGRMHD, which is an open-source, highly-extensible rewrite of the original closed-source GRMHD code of the ILNR Group. Reducing the learning curve was the primary focus of this rewrite, with the goal of facilitating community involvement in the code's use and development, as well as the minimization of human effort in generating new science. IllinoisGRMHD also saves computer time, generating roundoff-precision identical output to the original code on adaptive-mesh grids, but nearly twice as fast at scales of hundreds to thousands of cores.
- We report results from simulations in general relativity of magnetized disks accreting onto merging black hole binaries, starting from relaxed disk initial data. The simulations feature an effective, rapid radiative cooling scheme as a limiting case of future treatments with radiative transfer. Here we evolve the systems after binary-disk decoupling through inspiral and merger, and analyze the dependence on the binary mass ratio with $q\equiv m_{\rm bh}/M_{\rm BH}=1,1/2,$ and $1/4$. We find that the luminosity associated with local cooling is larger than the luminosity associated with matter kinetic outflows, while the electromagnetic (Poynting) luminosity associated with bulk transport of magnetic field energy is the smallest. The cooling luminosity around merger is only marginally smaller than that of a single, non-spinning black hole. Incipient jets are launched independently of the mass ratio, while the same initial disk accreting on a single non-spinning black hole does not lead to a jet, as expected. For all mass ratios we see a transient behavior in the collimated, magnetized outflows lasting $2-5 ( M/10^8M_\odot ) \rm days$ after merger: the outflows become increasingly magnetically dominated and accelerated to higher velocities, boosting the Poynting luminosity. These sudden changes can alter the electromagnetic emission across the jet and potentially help distinguish mergers of black holes in AGNs from single accreting black holes based on jet morphology alone.
- Apr 29 2014 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1404.6523v2Robust gauge conditions are critically important to the stability and accuracy of numerical relativity (NR) simulations involving compact objects. Most of the NR community use the highly robust---though decade-old---moving-puncture (MP) gauge conditions for such simulations. It has been argued that in binary black hole (BBH) evolutions adopting this gauge, noise generated near adaptive-mesh-refinement (AMR) boundaries does not converge away cleanly with increasing resolution, severely limiting gravitational waveform accuracy at computationally feasible resolutions. We link this noise to a sharp (short-wavelength), initial outgoing gauge wave crossing into progressively lower resolution AMR grids, and present improvements to the standard MP gauge conditions that focus on stretching, smoothing, and more rapidly settling this outgoing wave. Our best gauge choice greatly reduces gravitational waveform noise during inspiral, yielding less fluctuation in convergence order and $\sim 40%$ lower waveform phase and amplitude errors at typical resolutions. Noise in other physical quantities of interest is also reduced, and constraint violations drop by more than an order of magnitude. We expect these improvements will carry over to simulations of all types of compact binary systems, as well as other $N$+1 formulations of gravity for which MP-like gauge conditions can be chosen.
- 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]
- We report on simulations in general relativity of magnetized disks onto black hole binaries. We vary the binary mass ratio from 1:1 to 1:10 and evolve the systems when they orbit near the binary-disk decoupling radius. We compare (surface) density profiles, accretion rates (relative to a single, non-spinning black hole), variability, effective $\alpha$-stress levels and luminosities as functions of the mass ratio. We treat the disks in two limiting regimes: rapid radiative cooling and no radiative cooling. The magnetic field lines clearly reveal jets emerging from both black hole horizons and merging into one common jet at large distances. The magnetic fields give rise to much stronger shock heating than the pure hydrodynamic flows, completely alter the disk structure, and boost accretion rates and luminosities. Accretion streams near the horizons are among the densest structures; in fact, the 1:10 no-cooling evolution results in a refilling of the cavity. The typical effective temperature in the bulk of the disk is $\sim 10^5 (M/10^8 M_\odot)^{-1/4} (L/L_{\rm edd})^{1/4} {\rm K}$ yielding characteristic thermal frequencies $\sim 10^{15} (M/10^8 M_\odot)^{-1/4} (L/L_{\rm edd})^{1/4}(1+z)^{-1}{\rm Hz} $. These systems are thus promising targets for many extragalactic optical surveys, such as LSST, WFIRST, and PanSTARRS.
- Jul 22 2013 gr-qc arXiv:1307.5307v3The Numerical-Relativity-Analytical-Relativity (NRAR) collaboration is a joint effort between members of the numerical relativity, analytical relativity and gravitational-wave data analysis communities. The goal of the NRAR collaboration is to produce numerical-relativity simulations of compact binaries and use them to develop accurate analytical templates for the LIGO/Virgo Collaboration to use in detecting gravitational-wave signals and extracting astrophysical information from them. We describe the results of the first stage of the NRAR project, which focused on producing an initial set of numerical waveforms from binary black holes with moderate mass ratios and spins, as well as one non-spinning binary configuration which has a mass ratio of 10. All of the numerical waveforms are analysed in a uniform and consistent manner, with numerical errors evaluated using an analysis code created by members of the NRAR collaboration. We compare previously-calibrated, non-precessing analytical waveforms, notably the effective-one-body (EOB) and phenomenological template families, to the newly-produced numerical waveforms. We find that when the binary's total mass is ~100-200 solar masses, current EOB and phenomenological models of spinning, non-precessing binary waveforms have overlaps above 99% (for advanced LIGO) with all of the non-precessing-binary numerical waveforms with mass ratios <= 4, when maximizing over binary parameters. This implies that the loss of event rate due to modelling error is below 3%. Moreover, the non-spinning EOB waveforms previously calibrated to five non-spinning waveforms with mass ratio smaller than 6 have overlaps above 99.7% with the numerical waveform with a mass ratio of 10, without even maximizing on the binary parameters.
- Apr 08 2013 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1304.1805v3We perform the first general relativistic force-free simulations of neutron star (NS) magnetospheres in orbit about spinning and non-spinning black holes. We find promising precursor electromagnetic emission: typical Poynting luminosities at, e.g., an orbital separation of 6.6 times the NS radius are L ~ 6 x 10^42 erg/s for a 1.4 solar-mass NS with a 10^13G polar magnetic field. The Poynting flux peaks within a broad beam of ~40 degrees in the azimuthal direction and within ~60 degrees from the orbital plane, establishing a possible lighthouse effect. Our calculations, though preliminary, preview more detailed simulations of these systems that we plan to perform in the future.
- 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.
- Apr 02 2013 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1304.0457v2TwoPunctures is perhaps the most widely-adopted code for generating binary black hole "puncture" initial data and interpolating these (spectral) data onto evolution grids. In typical usage, the bulk of this code's run time is spent in its spectral interpolation routine. We announce a new publicly-available spectral interpolation routine that improves the performance of the original interpolation routine by a factor of ~100, yielding results consistent with the original spectral interpolation routine to roundoff precision. This note serves as a guide for installing this routine both in the original standalone TwoPunctures code and the Einstein Toolkit supported version of this code.
- The inspiral and merger of a binary neutron star (NSNS) can lead to the formation of a hypermassive neutron star (HMNS). As the HMNS loses thermal pressure due to neutrino cooling and/or centrifugal support due to gravitational wave (GW) emission, and/or magnetic breaking of differential rotation it will collapse to a black hole. To assess the importance of shock-induced thermal pressure and cooling, we adopt an idealized equation of state and perform NSNS simulations in full GR through late inspiral, merger, and HMNS formation, accounting for cooling. We show that thermal pressure contributes significantly to the support of the HMNS against collapse and that thermal cooling accelerates its "delayed" collapse. Our simulations demonstrate explicitly that cooling can induce the catastrophic collapse of a hot hypermassive neutron star formed following the merger of binary neutron stars. Thus, cooling physics is important to include in NSNS merger calculations to accurately determine the lifetime of the HMNS remnant and to extract information about the NS equation of state, cooling mechanisms, bar instabilities and B-fields from the GWs emitted during the transient phase prior to BH formation.
- We present results from the first fully general relativistic, magnetohydrodynamic (GRMHD) simulations of an equal-mass black hole binary (BHBH) in a magnetized, circumbinary accretion disk. We simulate both the pre and post-decoupling phases of a BHBH-disk system and both "cooling" and "no-cooling" gas flows. Prior to decoupling, the competition between the binary tidal torques and the effective viscous torques due to MHD turbulence depletes the disk interior to the binary orbit. However, it also induces a two-stream accretion flow and mildly relativistic polar outflows from the BHs. Following decoupling, but before gas fills the low-density "hollow" surrounding the remnant, the accretion rate is reduced, while there is a prompt electromagnetic (EM) luminosity enhancement following merger due to shock heating and accretion onto the spinning BH remnant. This investigation, though preliminary, previews more detailed GRMHD simulations we plan to perform in anticipation of future, simultaneous detections of gravitational and EM radiation from a merging BHBH-disk system.
- Jan 26 2012 gr-qc arXiv:1201.5319v1The Numerical INJection Analysis (NINJA) project is a collaborative effort between members of the numerical relativity and gravitational wave data analysis communities. The purpose of NINJA is to study the sensitivity of existing gravitational-wave search and parameter-estimation algorithms using numerically generated waveforms, and to foster closer collaboration between the numerical relativity and data analysis communities. The first NINJA project used only a small number of injections of short numerical-relativity waveforms, which limited its ability to draw quantitative conclusions. The goal of the NINJA-2 project is to overcome these limitations with long post-Newtonian - numerical relativity hybrid waveforms, large numbers of injections, and the use of real detector data. We report on the submission requirements for the NINJA-2 project and the construction of the waveform catalog. Eight numerical relativity groups have contributed 63 hybrid waveforms consisting of a numerical portion modelling the late inspiral, merger, and ringdown stitched to a post-Newtonian portion modelling the early inspiral. We summarize the techniques used by each group in constructing their submissions. We also report on the procedures used to validate these submissions, including examination in the time and frequency domains and comparisons of waveforms from different groups against each other. These procedures have so far considered only the $(\ell,m)=(2,2)$ mode. Based on these studies we judge that the hybrid waveforms are suitable for NINJA-2 studies. We note some of the plans for these investigations.
- As a neutron star (NS) is tidally disrupted by a black hole (BH) companion at the end of a BH-NS binary inspiral, its magnetic fields will be stretched and amplified. If sufficiently strong, these magnetic fields may impact the gravitational waveforms, merger evolution and mass of the remnant disk. Formation of highly-collimated magnetic field lines in the disk+spinning BH remnant may launch relativistic jets, providing the engine for a short-hard GRB. We analyze this scenario through fully general relativistic, magnetohydrodynamic (GRMHD) BHNS simulations from inspiral through merger and disk formation. Different initial magnetic field configurations and strengths are chosen for the NS interior for both nonspinning and moderately spinning (a/M=0.75) BHs aligned with the orbital angular momentum. Only strong interior (Bmax~10^17 G) initial magnetic fields in the NS significantly influence merger dynamics, enhancing the remnant disk mass by 100% and 40% in the nonspinning and spinning BH cases, respectively. However, detecting the imprint of even a strong magnetic field may be challenging for Advanced LIGO. Though there is no evidence of mass outflows or magnetic field collimation during the preliminary simulations we have performed, higher resolution, coupled with longer disk evolutions and different initial magnetic field configurations, may be required to definitively assess the possibility of BHNS binaries as short-hard GRB progenitors.
- We recently developed a new general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic code with adaptive mesh refinement that evolves the electromagnetic (EM) vector potential (A) instead of the magnetic fields directly. Evolving A enables one to use any interpolation scheme on refinement level boundaries and still guarantee that the magnetic field remains divergenceless. As in classical EM, a gauge choice must be made when evolving A, and we chose a straightforward "algebraic" gauge condition to simplify the A evolution equation. However, magnetized black hole-neutron star (BHNS) simulations in this gauge exhibit unphysical behavior, including the spurious appearance of strong magnetic fields on refinement level boundaries. This spurious behavior is exacerbated when matter crosses refinement boundaries during tidal disruption of the NS. Applying Kreiss-Oliger dissipation to the evolution of the magnetic vector potential A slightly weakens this spurious magnetic effect, but with undesired consequences. We demonstrate via an eigenvalue analysis and a numerical study that zero-speed modes in the algebraic gauge, coupled with the frequency filtering that occurs on refinement level boundaries, are responsible for the creation of spurious magnetic fields. We show that the EM Lorenz gauge exhibits no zero-speed modes, and as a consequence, spurious magnetic effects are quickly propagated away, allowing for long-term, stable magnetized BHNS evolutions. Our study demonstrates how the EM gauge degree of freedom can be chosen to one's advantage, and that for magnetized BHNS simulations the Lorenz gauge constitutes a major improvement over the algebraic gauge.
- We present fully general relativistic (GR) simulations of binary white dwarf-neutron star (WDNS) inspiral and merger. The initial binary is in a circular orbit at the Roche critical separation. The goal is to determine the ultimate fate of such systems. We focus on binaries whose total mass exceeds the maximum mass (Mmax) a cold, degenerate EOS can support against gravitational collapse. The time and length scales span many orders of magnitude, making fully general relativistic hydrodynamic (GRHD) simulations computationally prohibitive. For this reason, we model the WD as a "pseudo-white dwarf" (pWD) as in our binary WDNS head-on collisions study [PRD83:064002,2011]. Our GRHD simulations of a pWDNS system with a 0.98-solar-mass WD and a 1.4-solar-mass NS show that the merger remnant is a spinning Thorne-Zytkow-like Object (TZlO) surrounded by a massive disk. The final total rest mass exceeds Mmax, but the remnant does not collapse promptly. To assess whether the object will ultimately collapse after cooling, we introduce radiative thermal cooling. We first apply our cooling algorithm to TZlOs formed in WDNS head-on collisions, and show that these objects collapse and form black holes on the cooling time scale, as expected. However, when we cool the spinning TZlO formed in the merger of a circular-orbit WDNS binary, the remnant does not collapse, demonstrating that differential rotational support is sufficient to prevent collapse. Given that the final total mass exceeds Mmax, magnetic fields and/or viscosity may redistribute angular momentum and ultimately lead to delayed collapse to a BH. We infer that the merger of realistic massive WDNS binaries likely will lead to the formation of spinning TZlOs that undergo delayed collapse.
- We simulate head-on collisions from rest at large separation of binary white dwarf -- neutron stars (WDNSs) in full general relativity. Our study serves as a prelude to our analysis of the circular binary WDNS problem. We focus on compact binaries whose total mass exceeds the maximum mass that a cold degenerate star can support, and our goal is to determine the fate of such systems. A fully general relativistic hydrodynamic computation of a realistic WDNS head-on collision is prohibitive due to the large range of dynamical time scales and length scales involved. For this reason, we construct an equation of state (EOS) which captures the main physical features of NSs while, at the same time, scales down the size of WDs. We call these scaled-down WD models "pseudo-WDs (pWDs)". Using pWDs, we can study these systems via a sequence of simulations where the size of the pWD gradually increases toward the realistic case. We perform two sets of simulations; One set studies the effects of the NS mass on the final outcome, when the pWD is kept fixed. The other set studies the effect of the pWD compaction on the final outcome, when the pWD mass and the NS are kept fixed. All simulations show that 14%-18% of the initial total rest mass escapes to infinity. All remnant masses still exceed the maximum rest mass that our cold EOS can support (1.92 solar masses), but no case leads to prompt collapse to a black hole. This outcome arises because the final configurations are hot. All cases settle into spherical, quasiequilibrium configurations consisting of a cold NS core surrounded by a hot mantle, resembling Thorne-Zytkow objects. Extrapolating our results to realistic WD compactions, we predict that the likely outcome of a head-on collision of a realistic, massive WDNS system will be the formation of a quasiequilibrium Thorne-Zytkow-like object.
- Jul 19 2010 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1007.2848v1We have written and tested a new general relativistic magnetohydrodynamics (GRMHD) code, capable of evolving MHD fluids in dynamical spacetimes with adaptive-mesh refinement (AMR). Our code solves the Einstein-Maxwell-MHD system of coupled equations in full 3+1 dimensions, evolving the metric via the Baumgarte-Shapiro Shibata-Nakamura (BSSN) formalism and the MHD and magnetic induction equations via a conservative, high-resolution shock-capturing scheme. The induction equations are recast as an evolution equation for the magnetic vector potential, which exists on a grid that is staggered with respect to the hydrodynamic and metric variables. The divergenceless constraint div(B)=0 is enforced by the curl of the vector potential. Our MHD scheme is fully compatible with AMR, so that fluids at AMR refinement boundaries maintain div(B)=0. In simulations with uniform grid spacing, our MHD scheme is numerically equivalent to a commonly used, staggered-mesh constrained-transport scheme. We present code validation test results, both in Minkowski and curved spacetimes. They include magnetized shocks, nonlinear Alfvén waves, cylindrical explosions, cylindrical rotating disks, magnetized Bondi tests, and the collapse of a magnetized rotating star. Some of the more stringent tests involve black holes. We find good agreement between analytic and numerical solutions in these tests, and achieve convergence at the expected order.
- Jan 26 2010 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1001.4077v1We propose a new radial coordinate to write the Kerr metric in puncture form. Unlike the quasi-radial coordinate introduced previously, the horizon radius remains finite in our radial coordinate in the extreme Kerr limit a/M -> 1. This significantly improves the accuracy of the evolution of black holes with spins close to the extreme Kerr limit. We are able to evolve accurately both stationary and boosted black holes with spins as high as a/M=0.99 using initial data constructed in these new puncture coordinates. Initial data of compact binaries with rapidly spinning black holes can be constructed using our proposed new puncture metric for the background conformal metric. Our simulations for single black holes suggest that such initial data can be evolved successfully by the moving puncture technique.
- May 27 2009 gr-qc arXiv:0905.4227v1The 2008 NRDA conference introduced the Numerical INJection Analysis project (NINJA), a new collaborative effort between the numerical relativity community and the data analysis community. NINJA focuses on modeling and searching for gravitational wave signatures from the coalescence of binary system of compact objects. We review the scope of this collaboration and the components of the first NINJA project, where numerical relativity groups shared waveforms and data analysis teams applied various techniques to detect them when embedded in colored Gaussian noise.
- Jan 29 2009 gr-qc arXiv:0901.4399v2The Numerical INJection Analysis (NINJA) project is a collaborative effort between members of the numerical relativity and gravitational-wave data analysis communities. The purpose of NINJA is to study the sensitivity of existing gravitational-wave search algorithms using numerically generated waveforms and to foster closer collaboration between the numerical relativity and data analysis communities. We describe the results of the first NINJA analysis which focused on gravitational waveforms from binary black hole coalescence. Ten numerical relativity groups contributed numerical data which were used to generate a set of gravitational-wave signals. These signals were injected into a simulated data set, designed to mimic the response of the Initial LIGO and Virgo gravitational-wave detectors. Nine groups analysed this data using search and parameter-estimation pipelines. Matched filter algorithms, un-modelled-burst searches and Bayesian parameter-estimation and model-selection algorithms were applied to the data. We report the efficiency of these search methods in detecting the numerical waveforms and measuring their parameters. We describe preliminary comparisons between the different search methods and suggest improvements for future NINJA analyses.
- Black hole-neutron star (BHNS) binary mergers are candidate engines for generating both short-hard gamma-ray bursts (SGRBs) and detectable gravitational waves. Using our most recent conformal thin-sandwich BHNS initial data and our fully general relativistic hydrodynamics code, which is now AMR-capable, we are able to efficiently and accurately simulate these binaries from large separations through inspiral, merger, and ringdown. We evolve the metric using the BSSN formulation with the standard moving puncture gauge conditions and handle the hydrodynamics with a high-resolution shock-capturing scheme. We explore the effects of BH spin (aligned and anti-aligned with the orbital angular momentum) by evolving three sets of initial data with BH:NS mass ratio q=3: the data sets are nearly identical, except the BH spin is varied between a/M = -0.5 (anti-aligned), 0.0, and 0.75. The number of orbits before merger increases with a/M, as expected. We also study the nonspinning BH case in more detail, varying q between 1, 3, and 5. We calculate gravitational waveforms for the cases we simulate and compare them to binary black-hole waveforms. Only a small disk (< 0.01 M_sun) forms for the anti-aligned spin case (a/M = -0.5) and for the most extreme mass ratio case (q=5). By contrast, a massive (M_disk is about 0.2 M_sun), hot disk forms in the rapidly spinning (a/M = 0.75) aligned BH case. Such a disk could drive a SGRB,possibly by, e.g., producing a copious flux of neutrino-antineutino pairs.
- Oct 01 2008 gr-qc arXiv:0810.0006v2We propose and explore a "stationary 1+log" slicing condition for the construction of solutions to Einstein's constraint equations. For stationary spacetimes, these initial data will give a stationary foliation when evolved with "moving puncture" gauge conditions that are often used in black hole evolutions. The resulting slicing is time-independent and agrees with the slicing generated by being dragged along a time-like Killing vector of the spacetime. When these initial data are evolved with moving puncture gauge conditions, numerical errors arising from coordinate evolution are minimized. In the construction of initial data for binary black holes it is often assumed that there exists an approximate helical Killing vector that generates the binary's orbit. We show that, unfortunately, 1+log slices that are stationary with respect to such a helical Killing vector cannot be asymptotically flat, unless the spacetime possesses an additional axial Killing vector.
- Binary neutron stars (NSNS) are expected to be among the leading sources of gravitational waves observable by ground-based laser interferometers and may be the progenitors of short-hard gamma ray bursts. We present a series of general relativistic NSNS coalescence simulations both for unmagnetized and magnetized stars. We adopt quasiequilibrium initial data for circular, irrotational binaries constructed in the conformal thin-sandwich (CTS) framework. We adopt the BSSN formulation for evolving the metric and a high-resolution shock-capturing scheme to handle the magnetohydrodynamics. Our simulations of unmagnetized binaries confirm the results of Shibata, Taniguchi and Uryu (2003). In cases in which the mergers result in a prompt collapse to a black hole, we are able to use puncture gauge conditions to extend the evolution and determine the mass of the material that forms a disk. We find that the disk mass is less than 2% of the total mass in all cases studied. We then add a small poloidal magnetic field to the initial configurations and study the subsequent evolution. For cases in which the remnant is a hypermassive neutron star, we see measurable differences in both the amplitude and phase of the gravitational waveforms following the merger. For cases in which the remnant is a black hole surrounded by a disk, the disk mass and the gravitational waveforms are about the same as the unmagnetized cases. Magnetic fields substantially affect the long-term, secular evolution of a hypermassive neutron star (driving `delayed collapse') and an accretion disk around a nascent black hole.
- Black hole-neutron star (BHNS) binaries are expected to be among the leading sources of gravitational waves observable by ground-based detectors, and may be the progenitors of short-hard gamma ray bursts (SGRBs) as well. Here, we discuss our new fully general relativistic calculations of merging BHNS binaries, which use high-accuracy, low-eccentricity, conformal thin-sandwich configurations as initial data. Our evolutions are performed using the moving puncture method and include a fully relativistic, high-resolution shock-capturing hydrodynamics treatment. Focusing on systems in which the neutron star is irrotational and the black hole is nonspinning with a 3:1 mass ratio, we investigate the inspiral, merger, and disk formation in the system. We find that the vast majority of material is promptly accreted and no more than 3% of the neutron star's rest mass is ejected into a tenuous, gravitationally bound disk. We find similar results for mass ratios of 2:1 and 1:1, even when we reduce the NS compaction in the 2:1 mass ratio case. These ambient disks reach temperatures suitable for triggering SGRBs, but their masses may be too small to produce the required total energy output. We measure gravitational waveforms and compute the effective strain in frequency space, finding measurable differences between our waveforms and those produced by binary black hole mergers within the advanced LIGO band. These differences appear at frequencies corresponding to the emission that occurs when the NS is tidally disrupted and accreted by the black hole. The resulting information about the radius of the neutron star may be used to constrain the neutron star equation of state.
- Many of the recent numerical simulations of binary black holes in vacuum adopt the moving puncture approach. This successful approach avoids the need to impose numerical excision of the black hole interior and is easy to implement. Here we wish to explore how well the same approach can be applied to moving black hole punctures in the presence of relativistic hydrodynamic matter. First, we evolve single black hole punctures in vacuum to calibrate our BSSN (Baumgarte-Shapiro-Shibata-Nakamura) implementation and to confirm that the numerical solution for the exterior spacetime is invariant to any ``junk'' (i.e., constraint-violating) initial data employed in the black hole interior. Then we focus on relativistic Bondi accretion onto a moving puncture Schwarzschild black hole as a numerical testbed for our high-resolution shock-capturing relativistic hydrodynamics scheme. We find that the hydrodynamical equations can be evolved successfully in the interior without imposing numerical excision. These results help motivate the adoption of the moving puncture approach to treat the binary black hole-neutron star problem using conformal thin-sandwich initial data.
- We follow the inspiral and merger of equal-mass black holes (BHs) by the moving puncture technique and demonstrate that both the exterior solution and the asymptotic gravitational waveforms are unchanged when the initial interior solution is replaced by constraint-violating ``junk'' initial data. We apply this result to evolve conformal thin-sandwich (CTS) binary BH initial data by filling their excised interiors with arbitrary, but smooth, initial data and evolving with standard puncture gauge choices. The waveforms generated for both puncture and filled-CTS initial data are remarkably similar, and there are only minor differences between irrotational and corotational CTS BH binaries. Even the interior solutions appear to evolve to the same constraint-satisfying solution at late times, independent of the initial data.
- We present long-term (~10^4 M) axisymmetric simulations of differentially rotating, magnetized neutron stars in the slow-rotation, weak magnetic field limit using a perturbative metric evolution technique. Although this approach yields results comparable to those obtained via nonperturbative (BSSN) evolution techniques, simulations performed with the perturbative metric solver require about 1/4 the computational resources at a given resolution. This computational efficiency enables us to observe and analyze the effects of magnetic braking and the magnetorotational instability (MRI) at very high resolution. Our simulations demonstrate that (1) MRI is not observed unless the fastest-growing mode wavelength is resolved by more than about 10 gridpoints; (2) as resolution is improved, the MRI growth rate converges, but due to the small-scale turbulent nature of MRI, the maximum growth amplitude increases, but does not exhibit convergence, even at the highest resolution; and (3) independent of resolution, magnetic braking drives the star toward uniform rotation as energy is sapped from differential rotation by winding magnetic fields.