results for au:Hannam_M in:gr-qc

- 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:1712.01168v1Cosmic 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 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.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 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.
- First higher-multipole model of gravitational waves from spinning and coalescing black-hole binariesAug 02 2017 gr-qc arXiv:1708.00404v4Gravitational-wave observations of binary black holes currently rely on theoretical models that predict the dominant multipoles (l,m) of the radiation during inspiral, merger and ringdown. We introduce a simple method to include the subdominant multipoles to binary black hole gravitational waveforms, given a frequency-domain model for the dominant multipoles. The amplitude and phase of the original model are appropriately stretched and rescaled using post-Newtonian results (for the inspiral), perturbation theory (for the ringdown), and a smooth transition between the two. No additional tuning to numerical-relativity simulations is required. We apply a variant of this method to the non-precessing PhenomD model. The result, PhenomHM, constitutes the first higher-multipole model of spinning black-hole binaries, and currently includes the (l,m) = (2,2), (3,3), (4,4), (2,1), (3,2), (4,3) radiative moments. Comparisons with numerical-relativity waveforms demonstrate that PhenomHM is more accurate than dominant-multipole-only models for all binary configurations, and typically improves the measurement of binary properties.
- 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.
- Jan 02 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1612.09566v2For a brief moment, a binary black hole (BBH) merger can be the most powerful astrophysical event in the visible universe. Here we present a model fit for this gravitational-wave peak luminosity of nonprecessing quasicircular BBH systems as a function of the masses and spins of the component black holes, based on numerical relativity (NR) simulations and the hierarchical fitting approach introduced by X. Jiménez-Forteza et al. [Phys. Rev. D 95, 064024 (2017), arXiv:1611.00332]. This fit improves over previous results in accuracy and parameter-space coverage and can be used to infer posterior distributions for the peak luminosity of future astrophysical signals like GW150914 and GW151226. The model is calibrated to the l<=6 modes of 378 nonprecessing NR simulations up to mass ratios of 18 and dimensionless spin magnitudes up to 0.995, and includes unequal-spin effects. We also constrain the fit to perturbative numerical results for large mass ratios. Studies of key contributions to the uncertainty in NR peak luminosities, such as (i) mode selection, (ii) finite resolution, (iii) finite extraction radius, and (iv) different methods for converting NR waveforms to luminosity, allow us to use NR simulations from four different codes as a homogeneous calibration set. This study of systematic fits to combined NR and large-mass-ratio data, including higher modes, also paves the way for improved inspiral-merger-ringdown waveform models.
- 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 02 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1611.00332v2Numerical relativity is an essential tool in studying the coalescence of binary black holes (BBHs). It is still computationally prohibitive to cover the BBH parameter space exhaustively, making phenomenological fitting formulas for BBH waveforms and final-state properties important for practical applications. We describe a general hierarchical bottom-up fitting methodology to design and calibrate fits to numerical relativity simulations for the three-dimensional parameter space of quasicircular nonprecessing merging BBHs, spanned by mass ratio and by the individual spin components orthogonal to the orbital plane. Particular attention is paid to incorporating the extreme-mass-ratio limit and to the subdominant unequal-spin effects. As an illustration of the method, we provide two applications, to the final spin and final mass (or equivalently: radiated energy) of the remnant black hole. Fitting to 427 numerical relativity simulations, we obtain results broadly consistent with previously published fits, but improving in overall accuracy and particularly in the approach to extremal limits and for unequal-spin configurations. We also discuss the importance of data quality studies when combining simulations from diverse sources, how detailed error budgets will be necessary for further improvements of these already highly accurate fits, and how this first detailed study of unequal-spin effects helps in choosing the most informative parameters for future numerical relativity runs.
- 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 ${2.3^{+1.7}_{-1.1}}^{\circ}$ (${4.3^{+3.1}_{-1.9}}^{\circ}$).
- Jun 16 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.CO arXiv:1606.04856v3The first observational run of the Advanced LIGO detectors, from September 12, 2015 to January 19, 2016, saw the first detections of gravitational waves from binary black hole mergers. In this paper we present full results from a search for binary black hole merger signals with total masses up to $100 M_\odot$ and detailed implications from our observations of these systems. Our search, based on general-relativistic models of gravitational wave signals from binary black hole systems, unambiguously identified two signals, GW150914 and GW151226, with a significance of greater than $5\sigma$ over the observing period. It also identified a third possible signal, LVT151012, with substantially lower significance, and with an 87% probability of being of astrophysical origin. We provide detailed estimates of the parameters of the observed systems. Both GW150914 and GW151226 provide an unprecedented opportunity to study the two-body motion of a compact-object binary in the large velocity, highly nonlinear regime. We do not observe any deviations from general relativity, and place improved empirical bounds on several high-order post-Newtonian coefficients. From our observations we infer stellar-mass binary black hole merger rates lying in the range $9-240 \mathrm{Gpc}^{-3} \mathrm{yr}^{-1}$. These observations are beginning to inform astrophysical predictions of binary black hole formation rates, and indicate that future observing runs of the Advanced detector network will yield many more gravitational wave detections.
- We compare GW150914 directly to simulations of coalescing binary black holes in full general relativity, accounting for all the spin-weighted quadrupolar modes, and separately accounting for all the quadrupolar and octopolar modes. Consistent with the posterior distributions reported in LVC_PE[1] (at 90% confidence), we find the data are compatible with a wide range of nonprecessing and precessing simulations. Followup simulations performed using previously-estimated binary parameters most resemble the data. Comparisons including only the quadrupolar modes constrain the total redshifted mass Mz ∈[64 - 82M_⊙], mass ratio q = m2/m1 ∈[0.6,1], and effective aligned spin \chi_eff ∈[-0.3, 0.2], where \chi_eff = (S1/m1 + S2/m2) ⋅\hatL /M. Including both quadrupolar and octopolar modes, we find the mass ratio is even more tightly constrained. Simulations with extreme mass ratios and effective spins are highly inconsistent with the data, at any mass. Several nonprecessing and precessing simulations with similar mass ratio and \chi_eff are consistent with the data. Though correlated, the components' spins (both in magnitude and directions) are not significantly constrained by the data. For nonprecessing binaries, interpolating between simulations, we reconstruct a posterior distribution consistent with previous results. The final black hole's redshifted mass is consistent with Mf,z between 64.0 - 73.5M_⊙and the final black hole's dimensionless spin parameter is consistent with af = 0.62 - 0.73. As our approach invokes no intermediate approximations to general relativity and can strongly reject binaries whose radiation is inconsistent with the data, our analysis provides a valuable complement to LVC_PE[1].
- Jun 06 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1606.01210v1This paper presents updated estimates of source parameters for GW150914, a binary black-hole coalescence event detected by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) on September 14, 2015 [1]. Reference presented parameter estimation [2] of the source using a 13-dimensional, phenomenological precessing-spin model (precessing IMRPhenom) and a 11-dimensional nonprecessing effective-one-body (EOB) model calibrated to numerical-relativity simulations, which forces spin alignment (nonprecessing EOBNR). Here we present new results that include a 15-dimensional precessing-spin waveform model (precessing EOBNR) developed within the EOB formalism. We find good agreement with the parameters estimated previously [2], and we quote updated component masses of $35^{+5}_{-3}\mathrm{M}_\odot$ and $30^{+3}_{-4}\mathrm{M}_\odot$ (where errors correspond to 90% symmetric credible intervals). We also present slightly tighter constraints on the dimensionless spin magnitudes of the two black holes, with a primary spin estimate $0.65$ and a secondary spin estimate $0.75$ at 90% probability. Reference [2] estimated the systematic parameter-extraction errors due to waveform-model uncertainty by combining the posterior probability densities of precessing IMRPhenom and nonprecessing EOBNR. Here we find that the two precessing-spin models are in closer agreement, suggesting that these systematic errors are smaller than previously quoted.
- May 12 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.IM arXiv:1605.03233v2We report on a comprehensive all-sky search for periodic gravitational waves in the frequency band 100-1500 Hz and with a frequency time derivative in the range of $[-1.18, +1.00]\times 10^{-8}$ Hz/s. Such a signal could be produced by a nearby spinning and slightly non-axisymmetric isolated neutron star in our galaxy. This search uses the data from the Initial LIGO sixth science run and covers a larger parameter space with respect to any past search. A Loosely Coherent detection pipeline was applied to follow up weak outliers in both Gaussian (95% recovery rate) and non-Gaussian (75% recovery rate) bands. No gravitational wave signals were observed, and upper limits were placed on their strength. Our smallest upper limit on worst-case (linearly polarized) strain amplitude $h_0$ is ${9.7}\times 10^{-25}$ near 169 Hz, while at the high end of our frequency range we achieve a worst-case upper limit of ${5.5}\times 10^{-24}$. Both cases refer to all sky locations and entire range of frequency derivative values.
- May 09 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1605.01785v2We present results from a search for gravitational-wave bursts coincident with a set of two core-collapse supernovae observed between 2007 and 2011. We employ data from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO), the Virgo gravitational-wave observatory, and the GEO 600 gravitational-wave observatory. The targeted core-collapse supernovae were selected on the basis of (1) proximity (within approximately 15 Mpc), (2) tightness of observational constraints on the time of core collapse that defines the gravitational-wave search window, and (3) coincident operation of at least two interferometers at the time of core collapse. We find no plausible gravitational-wave candidates. We present the probability of detecting signals from both astrophysically well-motivated and more speculative gravitational-wave emission mechanisms as a function of distance from Earth, and discuss the implications for the detection of gravitational waves from core-collapse supernovae by the upgraded Advanced LIGO and Virgo detectors.
- Apr 28 2016 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1604.07864v3This Supplement provides supporting material for arXiv:1602.08492 . We briefly summarize past electromagnetic (EM) follow-up efforts as well as the organization and policy of the current EM follow-up program. We compare the four probability sky maps produced for the gravitational-wave transient GW150914, and provide additional details of the EM follow-up observations that were performed in the different bands.
- Mar 01 2016 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1602.08492v4A gravitational-wave (GW) transient was identified in data recorded by the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors on 2015 September 14. The event, initially designated G184098 and later given the name GW150914, is described in detail elsewhere. By prior arrangement, preliminary estimates of the time, significance, and sky location of the event were shared with 63 teams of observers covering radio, optical, near-infrared, X-ray, and gamma-ray wavelengths with ground- and space-based facilities. In this Letter we describe the low-latency analysis of the GW data and present the sky localization of the first observed compact binary merger. We summarize the follow-up observations reported by 25 teams via private Gamma-ray Coordinates Network circulars, giving an overview of the participating facilities, the GW sky localization coverage, the timeline and depth of the observations. As this event turned out to be a binary black hole merger, there is little expectation of a detectable electromagnetic (EM) signature. Nevertheless, this first broadband campaign to search for a counterpart of an Advanced LIGO source represents a milestone and highlights the broad capabilities of the transient astronomy community and the observing strategies that have been developed to pursue neutron star binary merger events. Detailed investigations of the EM data and results of the EM follow-up campaign are being disseminated in papers by the individual teams.
- In Advanced LIGO, detection and astrophysical source parameter estimation of the binary black hole merger GW150914 requires a calibrated estimate of the gravitational-wave strain sensed by the detectors. Producing an estimate from each detector's differential arm length control loop readout signals requires applying time domain filters, which are designed from a frequency domain model of the detector's gravitational-wave response. The gravitational-wave response model is determined by the detector's opto-mechanical response and the properties of its feedback control system. The measurements used to validate the model and characterize its uncertainty are derived primarily from a dedicated photon radiation pressure actuator, with cross-checks provided by optical and radio frequency references. We describe how the gravitational-wave readout signal is calibrated into equivalent gravitational-wave-induced strain and how the statistical uncertainties and systematic errors are assessed. Detector data collected over 38 calendar days, from September 12 to October 20, 2015, contain the event GW150914 and approximately 16 of coincident data used to estimate the event false alarm probability. The calibration uncertainty is less than 10% in magnitude and 10 degrees in phase across the relevant frequency band 20 Hz to 1 kHz.
- Feb 12 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1602.03840v2On September 14, 2015, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detected a gravitational-wave transient (GW150914); we characterize the properties of the source and its parameters. The data around the time of the event were analyzed coherently across the LIGO network using a suite of accurate waveform models that describe gravitational waves from a compact binary system in general relativity. GW150914 was produced by a nearly equal mass binary black hole of $36^{+5}_{-4} M_\odot$ and $29^{+4}_{-4} M_\odot$; for each parameter we report the median value and the range of the 90% credible interval. The dimensionless spin magnitude of the more massive black hole is bound to be $<0.7$ (at 90% probability). The luminosity distance to the source is $410^{+160}_{-180}$ Mpc, corresponding to a redshift $0.09^{+0.03}_{-0.04}$ assuming standard cosmology. The source location is constrained to an annulus section of $610$ deg$^2$, primarily in the southern hemisphere. The binary merges into a black hole of $62^{+4}_{-4} M_\odot$ and spin $0.67^{+0.05}_{-0.07}$. This black hole is significantly more massive than any other inferred from electromagnetic observations in the stellar-mass regime.
- On September 14, 2015 at 09:50:45 UTC the two detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) simultaneously observed the binary black hole merger GW150914. We report the results of a matched-filter search using relativistic models of compact-object binaries that recovered GW150914 as the most significant event during the coincident observations between the two LIGO detectors from September 12 to October 20, 2015. GW150914 was observed with a matched filter signal-to-noise ratio of 24 and a false alarm rate estimated to be less than 1 event per 203 000 years, equivalent to a significance greater than 5.1 \sigma.
- Feb 12 2016 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1602.03842v3A transient gravitational-wave signal, GW150914, was identified in the twin Advanced LIGO detectors on September 14, 2015 at 09:50:45 UTC. To assess the implications of this discovery, the detectors remained in operation with unchanged configurations over a period of 39 d around the time of the signal. At the detection statistic threshold corresponding to that observed for GW150914, our search of the 16 days of simultaneous two-detector observational data is estimated to have a false alarm rate (FAR) of $< 4.9 \times 10^{-6} \, \mathrm{yr}^{-1}$, yielding a $p$-value for GW150914 of $< 2 \times 10^{-7}$. Parameter estimation followup on this trigger identifies its source as a binary black hole (BBH) merger with component masses $(m_1, m_2) = \left(36^{+5}_{-4},29^{+4}_{-4}\right) \, M_\odot$ at redshift $z = 0.09^{+0.03}_{-0.04}$ (median and 90\% credible range). Here we report on the constraints these observations place on the rate of BBH coalescences. Considering only GW150914, assuming that all BBHs in the Universe have the same masses and spins as this event, imposing a search FAR threshold of 1 per 100 years, and assuming that the BBH merger rate is constant in the comoving frame, we infer a 90% credible range of merger rates between $2$--$53 \, \mathrm{Gpc}^{-3} \mathrm{yr}^{-1}$ (comoving frame). Incorporating all search triggers that pass a much lower threshold while accounting for the uncertainty in the astrophysical origin of each trigger, we estimate a higher rate, ranging from $13$--$600 \, \mathrm{Gpc}^{-3} \mathrm{yr}^{-1}$ depending on assumptions about the BBH mass distribution. All together, our various rate estimates fall in the conservative range $2$--$600 \, \mathrm{Gpc}^{-3} \mathrm{yr}^{-1}$.
- Dec 17 2015 gr-qc arXiv:1512.04955v1Measurements of black-hole spins from gravitational-wave observations of black-hole binaries with ground-based detectors are expected to be hampered by partial degeneracies in the gravitational-wave phasing: between the two component spins, and between the spins and the binary's mass ratio, at least for signals that are dominated by the binary's inspiral. Through the merger and ringdown, however, a different set of degeneracies apply. This suggests the possibility that, if the inspiral, merger and ringdown are all within the sensitive frequency band of a detector, we may be able to break these degeneracies and more accurately measure both spins. In this work we investigate our ability to measure individual spins for non-precessing binaries, for a range of configurations and signal strengths, and conclude that in general the spin of the larger black hole will be measurable (at best) with observations from Advanced LIGO and Virgo. This implies that in many applications waveform models parameterized by only one \empheffective spin will be sufficient. Our work does not consider precessing binaries or sub-dominant harmonics, although we provide some arguments why we expect that these will not qualitatively change our conclusions.
- 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.
- Aug 31 2015 gr-qc arXiv:1508.07253v2We present a new frequency-domain phenomenological model of the gravitational-wave signal from the inspiral, merger and ringdown of non-precessing (aligned-spin) black-hole binaries. The model is calibrated to 19 hybrid effective-one-body--numerical-relativity waveforms up to mass ratios of 1:18 and black-hole spins of $|a/m| \sim 0.85$ ($0.98$ for equal-mass systems). The inspiral part of the model consists of an extension of frequency-domain post-Newtonian expressions, using higher-order terms fit to the hybrids. The merger-ringdown is based on a phenomenological ansatz that has been significantly improved over previous models. The model exhibits mismatches of typically less than 1\% against all 19 calibration hybrids, and an additional 29 verification hybrids, which provide strong evidence that, over the calibration region, the model is sufficiently accurate for all relevant gravitational-wave astronomy applications with the Advanced LIGO and Virgo detectors. Beyond the calibration region the model produces physically reasonable results, although we recommend caution in assuming that \emphany merger-ringdown waveform model is accurate outside its calibration region. As an example, we note that an alternative non-precessing model, SEOBNRv2 (calibrated up to spins of only 0.5 for unequal-mass systems), exhibits mismatch errors of up to 10\% for high spins outside its calibration region. We conclude that waveform models would benefit most from a larger number of numerical-relativity simulations of high-aligned-spin unequal-mass binaries.
- Aug 31 2015 gr-qc arXiv:1508.07250v2In this paper we discuss the anatomy of frequency-domain gravitational-wave signals from non-precessing black-hole coalescences with the goal of constructing accurate phenomenological waveform models. We first present new numerical-relativity simulations for mass ratios up to 18 including spins. From a comparison of different post-Newtonian approximants with numerical-relativity data we select the uncalibrated SEOBNRv2 model as the most appropriate for the purpose of constructing hybrid post-Newtonian/numerical-relativity waveforms, and we discuss how we prepare time-domain and frequency-domain hybrid data sets. We then use our data together with results in the literature to calibrate simple explicit expressions for the final spin and radiated energy. Equipped with our prediction for the final state we then develop a simple and accurate merger-ringdown-model based on modified Lorentzians in the gravitational wave amplitude and phase, and we discuss a simple method to represent the low frequency signal augmenting the TaylorF2 post-Newtonian approximant with terms corresponding to higher orders in the post-Newtonian expansion. We finally discuss different options for modelling the small intermediate frequency regime between inspiral and merger-ringdown. A complete phenomenological model based on the present work is presented in a companion paper.
- Jan 06 2015 gr-qc arXiv:1501.00918v2Gravitational waveforms which describe the inspiral, merger and ringdown of coalescing binaries are usually constructed by synthesising information from perturbative descriptions, in particular post-Newtonian theory and black-hole perturbation theory, with numerical solutions of the full Einstein equations. In this paper we discuss the "glueing" of numerical and post-Newtonian waveforms to produce hybrid waveforms which include subdominant spherical harmonics ("higher order modes"), and focus in particular on the process of consistently aligning the waveforms, which requires a comparison of both descriptions and a discussion of their imprecisions. We restrict to the non-precessing case, and illustrate the process using numerical waveforms of up to mass ratio $q=18$ produced with the BAM code, and publicly available waveforms from the SXS catalogue. The results also suggest new ways of analysing finite radius errors in numerical simulations.
- 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.
- Sep 09 2014 gr-qc arXiv:1409.2349v2We study the effect of non-quadrupolar modes in the detection and parameter estimation of gravitational waves (GWs) from non-spinning black-hole binaries. We evaluate the loss of signal-to-noise ratio and the systematic errors in the estimated parameters when one uses a quadrupole-mode template family to detect GW signals with all the relevant modes, for target signals with total masses $20 M_\odot \leq M \leq 250 M_\odot$ and mass ratios $1 \leq q \leq 18$. Target signals are constructed by matching numerical-relativity simulations describing the late inspiral, merger and ringdown of the binary with post-Newtonian/effective-one-body waveforms describing the early inspiral. We find that waveform templates modeling only the quadrupolar modes of the GW signal are sufficient (loss of detection rate $< 10\%$) for the detection of GWs with mass ratios $q\leq4$ using advanced GW observatories. Neglecting the effect of non-quadrupole modes will introduce systematic errors in the estimated parameters. The systematic errors are larger than the expected $1\,\sigma$ statistical errors for binaries with large, unequal masses ($q\gtrsim4, M \gtrsim 150 M_\odot$), for sky-averaged signal-to-noise ratios larger than $8$. We provide a summary of the regions in the parameter space where neglecting non-quadrupole modes will cause unacceptable loss of detection rates and unacceptably large systematic biases in the estimated parameters.
- Aug 11 2014 gr-qc arXiv:1408.1810v2Gravitational waves (GWs) emitted by generic black-hole binaries show a rich structure that directly reflects the complex dynamics introduced by the precession of the orbital plane, which poses a real challenge to the development of generic waveform models. Recent progress in modelling these signals relies on an approximate decoupling between the non-precessing secular inspiral and a precession-induced rotation. However, the latter depends in general on all physical parameters of the binary which makes modelling efforts as well as understanding parameter-estimation prospects prohibitively complex. Here we show that the dominant precession effects can be captured by a reduced set of spin parameters. Specifically, we introduce a single \empheffective precession spin parameter, $\chi_p$, which is defined from the spin components that lie in the orbital plane at some (arbitrary) instant during the inspiral. We test the efficacy of this parameter by considering binary inspiral configurations specified by the physical parameters of a corresponding non-precessing-binary configuration (total mass, mass ratio, and spin components (anti-)parallel to the orbital angular momentum), plus the effective precession spin applied to the larger black hole. We show that for an overwhelming majority of random precessing configurations, the precession dynamics during the inspiral are well approximated by our equivalent configurations. Our results suggest that in the comparable-mass regime waveform models with only three spin parameters faithfully represent generic waveforms, which has practical implications for the prospects of GW searches, parameter estimation and the numerical exploration of the precessing-binary parameter space.
- 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.
- 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]
- Dec 14 2013 gr-qc arXiv:1312.3641v1The inspiral and merger of two orbiting black holes is among the most promising sources for the first (hopefully imminent) direct detection of gravitational waves (GWs), and measurements of these signals could provide a wealth of information about astrophysics, fundamental physics and cosmology. Detection and measurement require a theoretical description of the GW signals from all possible black-hole-binary configurations, which can include complicated precession effects due to the black-hole spins. Modelling the GW signal from generic precessing binaries is therefore one of the most urgent theoretical challenges facing GW astronomy. This article briefly reviews the phenomenology of generic-binary dynamics and waveforms, and recent advances in modelling them.
- Aug 16 2013 gr-qc arXiv:1308.3271v2The construction of a model of the gravitational-wave (GW) signal from generic configurations of spinning-black-hole binaries, through inspiral, merger and ringdown, is one of the most pressing theoretical problems in the build-up to the era of GW astronomy. We present the first such model in the frequency domain, "PhenomP", which captures the basic phenomenology of the seven-dimensional parameter space of binary configurations with only three key physical parameters. Two of these (the binary's mass ratio and an effective total spin parallel to the orbital angular momentum, which determines the inspiral rate) define an underlying non-precessing-binary model. The non-precessing-binary waveforms are then "twisted up" with approximate expressions for the precessional motion, which require only one additional physical parameter, an effective precession spin, $\chi_p$. All other parameters (total mass, sky location, orientation and polarisation, and initial phase) can be specified trivially. The model is constructed in the frequency domain, which will be essential for efficient GW searches and source measurements. We have tested the model's fidelity for GW applications by comparison against hybrid post-Newtonian-numerical-relativity waveforms at a variety of configurations --although we did not use these numerical simulations in the construction of the model. Our model can be used to develop GW searches, to study the implications for astrophysical measurements, and as a simple conceptual framework to form the basis of generic-binary waveform modelling in the advanced-detector era.
- 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.
- Jun 11 2013 gr-qc arXiv:1306.2320v1Gravitational-wave signals from black-hole binaries with non-precessing spins are described by four parameters -- each black hole's mass and spin. It has been shown that the dominant spin effects can be modeled by a \emphsingle spin parameter, leading to the development of several \emphthree-parameter waveform models. Previous studies indicate that these models should be adequate for gravitational-wave detection. In this paper we focus on the systematic biases that would result from using them to estimate binary parameters, and consider a one-parameter family of configurations at one choice of mass ratio and effective single spin. We find that for low-mass binaries within that family of configurations, where the observable waveform is dominated by the inspiral, the systematic bias in all physical parameters is smaller than the parameter uncertainty due to degeneracies between the mass ratio and the spins, at least up to signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) of 50. For higher-mass binaries, where the merger and ringdown make a greater contribution to the observed signal, the bias in the mass ratio is comparable to its uncertainty at SNRs of only $\sim$30, and the bias in the measurement of the total spin is \emphlarger than the uncertainty defined by the 90% confidence region even at an SNR of only 10. Although this bias may be mitigated in future models by a better choice of single-effective-spin parameter, these results suggest that it may be possible to accurately measure \emphboth black-hole spins in intermediate-mass binaries.
- Apr 03 2013 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1304.0670v4We 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 considered the most promising for multi-messenger astronomy. The ability to localize the sources of the detected signals depends on the geographical distribution of the detectors and their relative sensitivity, and 90% credible regions can be as large as thousands of square degrees when only two sensitive detectors are operational. Determining the sky position of a significant fraction of detected signals to areas of 5 square degrees to 20 square degees 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.
- Jan 24 2013 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1301.5616v2Gravitational-wave observations of compact binaries have the potential to uncover the distribution of masses and angular momenta of black holes and neutron stars in the universe. The binary components' physical parameters can be inferred from their effect on the phasing of the gravitational-wave signal, but a partial degeneracy between the components' mass ratio and their angular momenta limits our ability to measure the individual component masses. At the typical signal amplitudes expected by the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (signal-to-noise ratios between 10 and 20), we show that it will in many cases be difficult to distinguish whether the components are neutron stars or black holes. We identify when the masses of the binary components could be unambiguously measured outside the range of current observations: a system with a chirp mass $\mathcal{M} \le 0.871 $ M$_\odot$ would unambiguously contain the smallest-mass neutron star observed, and a system with $\mathcal{M} \ge 2.786 \Msun$ must contain a black hole. However, additional information would be needed to distinguish between a binary containing two 1.35 M$_\odot$ neutron stars and an exotic neutron-star--black-hole binary. We also identify those configurations that could be unambiguously identified as black-hole binaries, and show how the observation of an electromagnetic counterpart to a neutron-star--black-hole binary could be used to constrain the black-hole spin.
- Nov 05 2012 gr-qc arXiv:1211.0546v1We explore the degeneracy between mass and spin in gravitational waveforms emitted by black-hole binary coalescences. We focus on spin-aligned waveforms and obtain our results using phenomenological models that were tuned to numerical-relativity simulations. A degeneracy is known for low-mass binaries (particularly neutron-star binaries), where gravitational-wave detectors are sensitive to only the inspiral phase, and the waveform can be modelled by post-Newtonian theory. Here, we consider black-hole binaries, where detectors will also be sensitive to the merger and ringdown, and demonstrate that the degeneracy persists across a broad mass range. At low masses, the degeneracy is between mass ratio and total spin, with chirp mass accurately determined. At higher masses, the degeneracy persists but is not so clearly characterised by constant chirp mass as the merger and ringdown become more significant. We consider the importance of this degeneracy both for performing searches (including searches where only non-spinning templates are used) and in parameter extraction from observed systems. We compare observational capabilities between the early (~2015) and final (2018 onwards) versions of the Advanced LIGO detector.
- Jul 13 2012 gr-qc arXiv:1207.3088v3One of the greatest theoretical challenges in the build-up to the era of second-generation gravitational-wave detectors is the modeling of generic binary waveforms. We introduce an approximation that has the potential to significantly simplify this problem. We show that generic precessing-binary inspiral waveforms (covering a seven-dimensional space of intrinsic parameters) can be mapped to a two-dimensional space of non-precessing binaries, characterized by the mass ratio and a single effective total spin. The mapping consists of a time-dependent rotation of the waveforms into the quadrupole-aligned frame, and is extremely accurate (matches $> 0.99$ with parameter biases in the total spin of $\Delta \chi \leq 0.04$), even in the case of transitional precession. In addition, we demonstrate a simple method to construct hybrid post-Newtonian--numerical-relativity precessing-binary waveforms in the quadrupole-aligned frame, and provide evidence that our approximate mapping can be used all the way to the merger. Finally, based on these results, we outline a general proposal for the construction of generic waveform models, which will be the focus of future work.
- Jul 03 2012 gr-qc astro-ph.CO arXiv:1207.0399v2We have performed an extensive numerical study of coalescing black-hole binaries to understand the gravitational-wave spectrum of quasi-normal modes excited in the merged black hole. Remarkably, we find that the masses and spins of the progenitor are clearly encoded in the mode spectrum of the ringdown signal. Some of the mode amplitudes carry the signature of the binary's mass ratio, while others depend critically on the spins. Simulations of precessing binaries suggest that our results carry over to generic systems. Using Bayesian inference, we demonstrate that it is possible to accurately measure the mass ratio and a proper combination of spins even when the binary is itself invisible to a detector. Using a mapping of the binary masses and spins to the final black hole spin, allows us to further extract the spin components of the progenitor. Our results could have tremendous implications for gravitational astronomy by facilitating novel tests of general relativity using merging black holes.
- Jun 05 2012 gr-qc astro-ph.CO arXiv:1206.0331v1The advanced interferometer network will herald a new era in observational astronomy. There is a very strong science case to go beyond the advanced detector network and build detectors that operate in a frequency range from 1 Hz-10 kHz, with sensitivity a factor ten better in amplitude. Such detectors will be able to probe a range of topics in nuclear physics, astronomy, cosmology and fundamental physics, providing insights into many unsolved problems in these areas.
- Mar 20 2012 gr-qc arXiv:1203.4258v2We present a new iterative method to reduce eccentricity in black-hole-binary simulations. Given a good first estimate of low-eccentricity starting momenta, we evolve puncture initial data for ~4 orbits and construct improved initial parameters by comparing the inspiral with post-Newtonian calculations. Our method is the first to be applied directly to the gravitational-wave (GW) signal, rather than the orbital motion. The GW signal is in general less contaminated by gauge effects, which, in moving-puncture simulations, limit orbital-motion-based measurements of the eccentricity to an uncertainty of $\Delta e \sim 0.002$, making it difficult to reduce the eccentricity below this value. Our new method can reach eccentricities below $10^{-3}$ in one or two iteration steps; we find that this is well below the requirements for GW astronomy in the advanced detector era. Our method can be readily adapted to any compact-binary simulation with GW emission, including black-hole-binary simulations that use alternative approaches, and neutron-star-binary simulations. We also comment on the differences in eccentricity estimates based on the strain $h$, and the Newman-Penrose scalar $\Psi_4$.
- 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.
- Aug 09 2011 gr-qc astro-ph.IM arXiv:1108.1423v2Einstein gravitational-wave Telescope (ET) is a design study funded by the European Commission to explore the technological challenges of and scientific benefits from building a third generation gravitational wave detector. The three-year study, which concluded earlier this year, has formulated the conceptual design of an observatory that can support the implementation of new technology for the next two to three decades. The goal of this talk is to introduce the audience to the overall aims and objectives of the project and to enumerate ET's potential to influence our understanding of fundamental physics, astrophysics and cosmology.
- Jul 07 2011 gr-qc arXiv:1107.0996v2With recent advances in post-Newtonian (PN) theory and numerical relativity (NR) it has become possible to construct inspiral-merger-ringdown waveforms by combining both descriptions into one hybrid signal. While addressing the reliability of such waveforms, previous studies have identified the PN contribution as the dominant source of error, which can be reduced by incorporating longer NR simulations. Here we overcome the two outstanding issues that make it difficult to determine the minimum NR simulation length necessary to produce suitably accurate hybrids: (1) the criteria for a GW search is the mismatch between the true waveform and a set of model waveforms, optimized over all waveforms in the model, but for discrete hybrids this optimization was not yet possible. (2) these calculations typically require that numerical waveforms already exist, while we develop an algorithm to estimate hybrid mismatches errors without numerical data. Our procedure relies on combining supposedly equivalent PN models at highest available order with common data in the NR regime, and their difference serves as a measure of the uncertainty assumed in each waveform. Contrary to some earlier studies, we estimate that ~10 NR orbits before merger should allow for the construction of waveform families that are accurate enough for detection in a broad range of parameters, only excluding highly spinning, unequal-mass systems. Nonspinning systems, even with high mass-ratio (q>=20) are well modeled for astrophysically reasonable component masses. The parameter bias is only of the order of 1% for total mass and symmetric mass-ratio and less than 0.1 for the dimensionless spin magnitude. We take the view that similar NR waveform lengths will remain the state of the art in the advanced detector era, and begin to assess the limits of the science that can be done with them.
- Jul 06 2011 gr-qc arXiv:1107.0854v3Perturbed Kerr black holes emit gravitational radiation, which (for the practical purposes of gravitational-wave astronomy) consists of a superposition of damped sinusoids termed quasi-normal modes. The frequencies and time-constants of the modes depend only on the mass and spin of the black hole - a consequence of the no-hair theorem. It has been proposed that a measurement of two or more quasi-normal modes could be used to confirm that the source is a black hole and to test if general relativity continues to hold in ultra-strong gravitational fields. In this paper we propose a practical approach to testing general relativity with quasi-normal modes. We will also argue that the relative amplitudes of the various quasi-normal modes encode important information about the origin of the perturbation that caused them. This helps in inferring the nature of the perturbation from an observation of the emitted quasi-normal modes. In particular, we will show that the relative amplitudes of the different quasi-normal modes emitted in the process of the merger of a pair of nonspinning black holes can be used to measure the component masses of the progenitor binary.
- Dec 15 2010 gr-qc arXiv:1012.2879v1We present a simple method to track the precession of a black-hole-binary system, using only information from the gravitational-wave (GW) signal. Our method consists of locating the frame from which the magnitude of the $(\ell=2,|m|=2)$ modes is maximized, which we denote the "quadrupole-aligned" frame. We demonstrate the efficacy of this method when applied to waveforms from numerical simulations. In the test case of an equal-mass nonspinning binary, our method locates the direction of the orbital angular momentum to within $(\Delta \theta, \Delta \phi) = (0.05^{\circ},0.2^{\circ})$. We then apply the method to a $q = M_2/M_1 = 3$ binary that exhibits significant precession. In general a spinning binary's orbital angular momentum $\mathbf{L}$ is \emphnot orthogonal to the orbital plane. Evidence that our method locates the direction of $\mathbf{L}$ rather than the normal of the orbital plane is provided by comparison with post-Newtonian (PN) results. Also, we observe that it accurately reproduces similar higher-mode amplitudes to a comparable non-spinning (and therefore non-precessing) binary, and that the frequency of the $(\ell=2,|m|=2)$ modes is consistent with the "total frequency" of the binary's motion. The simple form of the quadrupole-aligned waveform will be useful in attempts to analytically model the inspiral-merger-ringdown (IMR) signal of precessing binaries, and in standardizing the representation of waveforms for studies of accuracy and consistency of source modelling efforts, both numerical and analytical.
- Dec 07 2010 gr-qc arXiv:1012.0908v1Advanced gravitational wave detectors, currently under construction, are expected to directly observe gravitational wave signals of astrophysical origin. The Einstein Telescope, a third-generation gravitational wave detector, has been proposed in order to fully open up the emerging field of gravitational wave astronomy. In this article we describe sensitivity models for the Einstein Telescope and investigate potential limits imposed by fundamental noise sources. A special focus is set on evaluating the frequency band below 10Hz where a complex mixture of seismic, gravity gradient, suspension thermal and radiation pressure noise dominates. We develop the most accurate sensitivity model, referred to as ET-D, for a third-generation detector so far, including the most relevant fundamental noise contributions.
- Aug 18 2010 gr-qc arXiv:1008.2961v2One way to produce complete inspiral-merger-ringdown gravitational waveforms from black-hole-binary systems is to connect post-Newtonian (PN) and numerical-relativity (NR) results to create "hybrid" waveforms. Hybrid waveforms are central to the construction of some phenomenological models for GW search templates, and for tests of GW search pipelines. The dominant error source in hybrid waveforms arises from the PN contribution, and can be reduced by increasing the number of NR GW cycles that are included in the hybrid. Hybrid waveforms are considered sufficiently accurate for GW detection if their mismatch error is below 3% (i.e., a fitting factor about 0.97). We address the question of the length requirements of NR waveforms such that the final hybrid waveforms meet this requirement, considering nonspinning binaries with q = M_2/M_1 ∈[1,4] and equal-mass binaries with \chi = S_i/M_i^2 ∈[-0.5,0.5]. We conclude that for the cases we study simulations must contain between three (in the equal-mass nonspinning case) and ten (the \chi = 0.5 case) orbits before merger, but there is also evidence that these are the regions of parameter space for which the least number of cycles will be needed.
- Jul 28 2010 gr-qc arXiv:1007.4789v2We present gravitational waveforms for the last orbits and merger of black-hole-binary (BBH) systems along two branches of the BBH parameter space: equal-mass binaries with equal non-precessing spins, and nonspinning unequal-mass binaries. The waveforms are calculated from numerical solutions of Einstein's equations for black-hole binaries that complete between six and ten orbits before merger. Along the equal-mass spinning branch, the spin parameter of each BH is $\chi_i = S_i/M_i^2 \in [-0.85,0.85]$, and along the unequal-mass branch the mass ratio is $q =M_2/M_1 \in [1,4]$. We discuss the construction of low-eccentricity puncture initial data for these cases, the properties of the final merged BH, and compare the last 8-10 GW cycles up to $M\omega = 0.1$ with the phase and amplitude predicted by standard post-Newtonian (PN) approximants. As in previous studies, we find that the phase from the 3.5PN TaylorT4 approximant is most accurate for nonspinning binaries. For equal-mass spinning binaries the 3.5PN TaylorT1 approximant (including spin terms up to only 2.5PN order) gives the most robust performance, but it is possible to treat TaylorT4 in such a way that it gives the best accuracy for spins $\chi_i > -0.75$. When high-order amplitude corrections are included, the PN amplitude of the $(\ell=2,m=\pm2)$ modes is larger than the NR amplitude by between 2-4%.
- May 19 2010 gr-qc arXiv:1005.3306v3We present a new phenomenological gravitational waveform model for the inspiral and coalescence of non-precessing spinning black hole binaries. Our approach is based on a frequency domain matching of post-Newtonian inspiral waveforms with numerical relativity based binary black hole coalescence waveforms. We quantify the various possible sources of systematic errors that arise in matching post-Newtonian and numerical relativity waveforms, and we use a matching criteria based on minimizing these errors; we find that the dominant source of errors are those in the post-Newtonian waveforms near the merger. An analytical formula for the dominant mode of the gravitational radiation of non-precessing black hole binaries is presented that captures the phenomenology of the hybrid waveforms. Its implementation in the current searches for gravitational waves should allow cross-checks of other inspiral-merger-ringdown waveform families and improve the reach of gravitational wave searches.
- Sep 16 2009 gr-qc astro-ph.CO arXiv:0909.2867v3We present the first analytical inspiral-merger-ringdown gravitational waveforms from binary black holes (BBHs) with non-precessing spins, that is based on a description of the late-inspiral, merger and ringdown in full general relativity. By matching a post-Newtonian description of the inspiral to a set of numerical-relativity simulations, we obtain a waveform family with a conveniently small number of physical parameters. These waveforms will allow us to detect a larger parameter space of BBH coalescence, including a considerable fraction of precessing binaries in the comparable-mass regime, thus significantly improving the expected detection rates.
- Aug 24 2009 gr-qc arXiv:0908.3139v1Numerical-relativity (NR) simulations of compact binaries are expected to be an invaluable tool in gravitational-wave (GW) astronomy. The sensitivity of future detectors such as the Einstein Telescope (ET) will place much higher demands on NR simulations than first- and second-generation ground-based detectors. We discuss the issues facing compact-object simulations over the next decade, with an emphasis on estimating where the accuracy and parameter space coverage will be sufficient for ET and where significant work is needed.
- Aug 10 2009 gr-qc arXiv:0908.1063v4The most popular method to construct initial data for black-hole-binary simulations is the puncture method, in which compactified wormholes are given linear and angular momentum via the Bowen-York extrinsic curvature. When these data are evolved, they quickly approach a ``trumpet'' topology, suggesting that it would be preferable to use data that are in trumpet form from the outset. To achieve this, we extend the puncture method to allow the construction of Bowen-York trumpets, including an outline of an existence and uniqueness proof of the solutions. We construct boosted, spinning and binary Bowen-York puncture trumpets using a single-domain pseudospectral elliptic solver, and evolve the binary data and compare with standard wormhole-data results. We also show that for boosted trumpets the black-hole mass can be prescribed \it a priori, without recourse to the iterative procedure that is necessary for wormhole data.
- 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.
- May 05 2009 gr-qc arXiv:0905.0450v2We analyze stationary slicings of the Schwarzschild spacetime defined by members of the Bona-Masso family of slicing conditions. Our main focus is on the influence of a non-vanishing offset to the extrinsic curvature, which forbids the existence of standard Cauchy foliations but at the same time allows gauge choices that are adapted to include null infinity (scri) in the evolution. These hyperboloidal slicings are especially interesting for observing outgoing gravitational waves. We show that the standard 1+log slicing condition admits no overall regular hyperboloidal slicing, but by appropriately combining with harmonic slicing, we construct a gauge condition that leads to a strongly singularity-avoiding hyperboloidal foliation that connects the black hole to scri.
- 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.
- Jan 21 2009 gr-qc arXiv:0901.2931v2It is now possible to theoretically calculate the gravitational-wave signal from the inspiral, merger and ringdown of a black-hole-binary system. The late inspiral, merger and ringdown can be calculated in full general relativity using numerical methods. The numerical waveforms can then be either stitched to inspiral waveforms predicted by approximation techniques (in particular post-Newtonian calculations) that start at an arbitrarily low frequency, or used to calibrate free parameters in analytic models of the full waveforms. In this review I summarize the status of numerical-relativity (NR) waveforms that include at least ten cycles of the dominant mode of the GW signal before merger, which should be long enough to produce accurate, complete waveforms for GW observations.
- Jan 19 2009 gr-qc arXiv:0901.2437v3We quantify the consistency of numerical-relativity black-hole-binary waveforms for use in gravitational-wave (GW) searches with current and planned ground-based detectors. We compare previously published results for the $(\ell=2,| m | =2)$ mode of the gravitational waves from an equal-mass nonspinning binary, calculated by five numerical codes. We focus on the 1000M (about six orbits, or 12 GW cycles) before the peak of the GW amplitude and the subsequent ringdown. We find that the phase and amplitude agree within each code's uncertainty estimates. The mismatch between the $(\ell=2,| m| =2)$ modes is better than $10^{-3}$ for binary masses above $60 M_{\odot}$ with respect to the Enhanced LIGO detector noise curve, and for masses above $180 M_{\odot}$ with respect to Advanced LIGO, Virgo and Advanced Virgo. Between the waveforms with the best agreement, the mismatch is below $2 \times 10^{-4}$. We find that the waveforms would be indistinguishable in all ground-based detectors (and for the masses we consider) if detected with a signal-to-noise ratio of less than $\approx14$, or less than $\approx25$ in the best cases.