results for au:Healy_J in:gr-qc

- We explore spinning, precessing, unequal mass binary black holes to display the long term angular orbital momentum flip dynamics. We consider two case studies of binaries with mass ratios $q=1/7$ and $q=1/15$ and a highly spinning large black hole with misaligned intrinsic spin $S_2/m_2^2=0.85$. We perform full numerical simulations to evolve them down to merger for nearly 14 and 18 orbits respectively and a full $L$-flip cycle. The pattern of radiation of such systems is of particular interest displaying strong polarization-dependent variation of amplitudes at precessional frequencies leading to interesting observational consequences for ground, space, and pulsar timing based gravitational wave detectors. These features can be exploited to observe different ranges of binary masses in one frequency band.
- Mar 01 2018 gr-qc astro-ph.CO arXiv:1802.10194v2The detection of gravitational waves with Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo has enabled novel tests of general relativity, including direct study of the polarization of gravitational waves. While general relativity allows for only two tensor gravitational-wave polarizations, general metric theories can additionally predict two vector and two scalar polarizations. The polarization of gravitational waves is encoded in the spectral shape of the stochastic gravitational-wave background, formed by the superposition of cosmological and individually-unresolved astrophysical sources. Using data recorded by Advanced LIGO during its first observing run, we search for a stochastic background of generically-polarized gravitational waves. We find no evidence for a background of any polarization, and place the first direct bounds on the contributions of vector and scalar polarizations to the stochastic background. Under log-uniform priors for the energy in each polarization, we limit the energy-densities of tensor, vector, and scalar modes at 95% credibility to $\Omega^T_0 < 5.6 \times 10^{-8}$, $\Omega^V_0 < 6.4\times 10^{-8}$, and $\Omega^S_0 < 1.1\times 10^{-7}$ at a reference frequency $f_0 = 25$ Hz.
- Feb 15 2018 gr-qc arXiv:1802.05241v1We report on a new all-sky search for periodic gravitational waves in the frequency band 475-2000 Hz and with a frequency time derivative in the range of [-1.0e-8, +1e-9] Hz/s. Potential signals could be produced by a nearby spinning and slightly non-axisymmetric isolated neutron star in our galaxy. This search uses the data from Advanced LIGO's first observational run O1. No gravitational wave signals were observed, and upper limits were placed on their strengths. For completeness, results from the separately published low frequency search 20-475 Hz are included as well. Our lowest upper limit on worst-case (linearly polarized) strain amplitude h_0 is 4e-25 near 170 Hz, while at the high end of our frequency range we achieve a worst-case upper limit of 1.3e-24. For a circularly polarized source (most favorable orientation), the smallest upper limit obtained is ~1.5e-25.
- We present the results of 74 new simulations of nonprecessing spinning black hole binaries with mass ratios $q=m_1/m_2$ in the range $1/7\leq q\leq1$ and individual spins covering the parameter space $-0.95\leq\alpha_{1,2}\leq0.95$ with one runs with spins of $\pm0.95$. We supplement those runs with 107 previous simulations to study the hangup effect in black hole mergers, i.e. the delay or prompt merger of spinning holes with respect to non spinning binaries. We perform the numerical evolution for typically the last ten orbits before the merger and down to the formation of the final remnant black hole. This allows us to study the hangup effect for unequal mass binaries leading us to identify the spin variable that controls the number of orbits before merger as $\vec{S}_{hu}\cdot{\hat{L}},$ where $\vec{S}_{hu}=(1+\frac12\frac{m_2}{m_1})\vec{S}_1+(1+\frac12\frac{m_1}{m_2})\vec{S}_2$. We also combine the total results of those 181 simulations to obtain improved fitting formulae for the remnant final black hole mass, spin and recoil velocity as well as for the peak luminosity and peak frequency of the gravitational strain, and find new correlations among them. This accurate new set of simulations enhances the number of available numerical relativity waveforms available for parameter estimation of gravitational wave observations.
- Dec 19 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.GA arXiv:1712.05836v2In response to LIGO's observation of GW170104, we performed a series of full numerical simulations of binary black holes, each designed to replicate likely realizations of its dynamics and radiation. These simulations have been performed at multiple resolutions and with two independent techniques to solve Einstein's equations. For the nonprecessing and precessing simulations, we demonstrate the two techniques agree mode by mode, at a precision substantially in excess of statistical uncertainties in current LIGO's observations. Conversely, we demonstrate our full numerical solutions contain information which is not accurately captured with the approximate phenomenological models commonly used to infer compact binary parameters. To quantify the impact of these differences on parameter inference for GW170104 specifically, we compare the predictions of our simulations and these approximate models to LIGO's observations of GW170104.
- 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.
- We evolve a binary black hole system bearing a mass ratio of $q=m_1/m_2=2/3$ and individual spins of $S^z_1/m_1^2=0.95$ and $S^z_2/m_2^2=-0.95$ in a configuration where the large black hole has its spin antialigned with the orbital angular momentum, $L^z$, and the small black hole has its spin aligned with $L^z$. This configuration was chosen to measure the maximum recoil of the remnant black hole for nonprecessing binaries. We find that the remnant black hole recoils at 500km/s, the largest recorded value from numerical simulations for aligned spin configurations. The remnant mass, spin, and gravitational waveform peak luminosity and frequency also provide a valuable point in parameter space for source modeling.
- 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.
- 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 08 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1706.01980v2We demonstrate that numerical relativity codes based on the moving punctures formalism are capable of evolving nearly maximally spinning black hole binaries. We compare a new evolution of an equal-mass, aligned-spin binary with dimensionless spin chi=0.99 using puncture-based data with recent simulations of the SXS Collaboration. We find that the overlap of our new waveform with the published results of the SXS Collaboration is larger than 0.999. To generate our new waveform, we use the recently introduced HiSpID puncture data, the CCZ4 evolution system, and a modified lapse condition that helps keep the horizon radii reasonably large.
- 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.
- May 30 2017 gr-qc arXiv:1705.09833v1We present and assess a Bayesian method to interpret gravitational wave signals from binary black holes. Our method directly compares gravitational wave data to numerical relativity simulations. This procedure bypasses approximations used in semi-analytical models for compact binary coalescence. In this work, we use only the full posterior parameter distribution for generic nonprecessing binaries, drawing inferences away from the set of NR simulations used, via interpolation of a single scalar quantity (the marginalized log-likelihood, $\ln {\cal L}$) evaluated by comparing data to nonprecessing binary black hole simulations. We also compare the data to generic simulations, and discuss the effectiveness of this procedure for generic sources. We specifically assess the impact of higher order modes, repeating our interpretation with both $l\le2$ as well as $l\le3$ harmonic modes. Using the $l\le3$ higher modes, we gain more information from the signal and can better constrain the parameters of the gravitational wave signal. We assess and quantify several sources of systematic error that our procedure could introduce, including simulation resolution and duration; most are negligible. We show through examples that our method can recover the parameters for equal mass, zero spin; GW150914-like; and unequal mass, precessing spin sources. Our study of this new parameter estimation method demonstrates we can quantify and understand the systematic and statistical error. This method allows us to use higher order modes from numerical relativity simulations to better constrain the black hole binary parameters.
- We present the results of 14 simulations of nonspinning black hole binaries with mass ratios $q=m_1/m_2$ in the range $1/100\leq q\leq1$. For each of these simulations we perform three runs at increasing resolution to assess the finite difference errors and to extrapolate the results to infinite resolution. For $q\geq 1/6$, we follow the evolution of the binary typically for the last ten orbits prior to merger. By fitting the results of these simulations, we accurately model the peak luminosity, peak waveform frequency and amplitude, and the recoil of the remnant hole for unequal mass nonspinning binaries. We verify the accuracy of these new models and compare them to previously existing empirical formulas. These new fits provide a basis for a hierarchical approach to produce more accurate remnant formulas in the generic precessing case. They also provide input to gravitational waveform modeling.
- 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.
- The RIT numerical relativity group is releasing a public catalog of black-hole-binary waveforms. The initial release of the catalog consists of 126 recent simulations that include precessing and non precessing systems with mass ratios $q=m_1/m_2$ in the range $1/6\leq q\leq1$. The catalog contains information about the initial data of the simulation, the waveforms extrapolated to infinity, as well as information about the peak luminosity and final remnant black hole properties. These waveforms can be used to independently interpret gravitational wave signals from laser interferometric detectors and
- Feb 06 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.CO arXiv:1702.00872v1We use post-Newtonian (PN) approximations to determine the initial orbital and spin parameters of black hole binaries that lead to low-eccentricity inspirals when evolved with numerical relativity techniques. In particular, we seek initial configurations that lead to very small eccentricities at small separations, as is expected for astrophysical systems. We consider three cases: (i) quasicircular orbits with no radial velocity, (ii) quasicircular orbits with an initial radial velocity determined by radiation reaction, and (iii) parameters obtained form evolution of the PN equations of motion from much larger separations. We study seven cases of spinning, nonprecessing, unequal mass binaries. We then use several definitions of the eccentricity, based on orbital separations and waveform phase and amplitude, and find that using the complete 3PN Hamiltonian for quasicircular orbits to obtain the tangential orbital momentum, and using the highest-known-order radiation reaction expressions to obtain the radial momentum, leads to the lowest eccentricity. The accuracy of this method even exceeds that of inspiral data based on 3PN and 4PN evolutions.
- 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.
- Nov 01 2016 gr-qc arXiv:1610.09713v2We present the results of 61 new simulations of nonprecessing spinning black hole binaries with mass ratios $q=m_1/m_2$ in the range $1/3\leq q\leq1$ and individual spins covering the parameter space $-0.85\leq\alpha_{1,2}\leq0.85$. We additionally perform 10 new simulations of nonspinning black hole binaries with mass ratios covering the range $1/6\leq q<1$. We follow the evolution for typically the last ten orbits before merger down to the formation of the final remnant black hole. This allows for assessment of the accuracy of our previous empirical formulae for relating the binary parameters to the remnant final black hole mass, spin and recoil. We use the new simulation to improve the fit to the above remnant formulae and add a formula for the peak luminosity of gravitational waves, produced around the merger of the two horizons into one. We find excellent agreement (typical errors $\sim0.1-0.2\%$) for the mass and spin, and within $\sim5\%$ for the recoil and peak luminosity. These formulae have direct application to parameter estimation techniques applied to LIGO observations of gravitational waves from binary black hole mergers.
- Jul 20 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1607.05377v1In fall of 2015, the two LIGO detectors measured the gravitational wave signal GW150914, which originated from a pair of merging black holes. In the final 0.2 seconds (about 8 gravitational-wave cycles) before the amplitude reached its maximum, the observed signal swept up in amplitude and frequency, from 35 Hz to 150 Hz. The theoretical gravitational-wave signal for merging black holes, as predicted by general relativity, can be computed only by full numerical relativity, because analytic approximations fail near the time of merger. Moreover, the nearly-equal masses, moderate spins, and small number of orbits of GW150914 are especially straightforward and efficient to simulate with modern numerical-relativity codes. In this paper, we report the modeling of GW150914 with numerical-relativity simulations, using black-hole masses and spins consistent with those inferred from LIGO's measurement. In particular, we employ two independent numerical-relativity codes that use completely different analytical and numerical methods to model the same merging black holes and to compute the emitted gravitational waveform; we find excellent agreement between the waveforms produced by the two independent codes. These results demonstrate the validity, impact, and potential of current and future studies using rapid-response, targeted numerical-relativity simulations for better understanding gravitational-wave observations.
- 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.HE arXiv:1605.03204v1This paper introduces a catalog of gravitational waveforms from the bank of simulations by the numerical relativity effort at Georgia Tech. Currently, the catalog consists of 452 distinct waveforms from more than 600 binary black hole simulations: 128 of the waveforms are from binaries with black hole spins aligned with the orbital angular momentum, and 324 are from precessing binary black hole systems. The waveforms from binaries with non-spinning black holes have mass-ratios $q = m_1/m_2 \le 15$, and those with precessing, spinning black holes have $q \le 8$. The waveforms expand a moderate number of orbits in the late inspiral, the burst during coalescence, and the ring-down of the final black hole. Examples of waveforms in the catalog matched against the widely used approximate models are presented. In addition, predictions of the mass and spin of the final black hole by phenomenological fits are tested against the results from the simulation bank. The role of the catalog in interpreting the GW150914 event and future massive binary black-hole search in LIGO is discussed. The Georgia Tech catalog is publicly available at einstein.gatech.edu/catalog.
- 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.
- We give a unified description of the flip-flop effect in spinning binary black holes and the anti-alignment instability in terms of real and imaginary flip-flop frequencies. We find that this instability is only effective for mass ratios $0.5<q<1$. We provide analytic expressions that determine the region of parameter space for which the instability occurs in terms of maps of the mass ratio and spin magnitudes $(q,\alpha_1,\alpha_2)$. This restricts the priors of parameter estimation techniques for the observation of gravitational waves from binary black holes and it is relevant for astrophysical modeling and final recoil computations of such binary systems.
- We use fully nonlinear numerical relativity techniques to study high energy head-on collision of nonspinning, equal-mass black holes to estimate the maximum gravitational radiation emitted by these systems. Our simulations include improvements in the construction of initial data, subsequent full numerical evolutions, and the computation of waveforms at infinity. The new initial data significantly reduces the spurious radiation content, allowing for initial speeds much closer to the speed of light, i.e. $v\sim0.99c$. Using these new techniques, We estimate the maximum radiated energy from head-on collisions to be $E_{\text{max}}/M_{\text{ADM}}=0.13\pm0.01$. This value differs from the second-order perturbative $(0.164)$ and zero-frequency-limit $(0.17)$ analytic computations, but is close to those obtained by thermodynamic arguments $(0.134)$ and by previous numerical estimates $(0.14\pm0.03)$.
- We study the spin dynamics of individual black holes in a binary system. In particular we focus on the polar precession of spins and the possibility of a complete flip of spins with respect to the orbital plane. We perform a full numerical simulation that displays these characteristics. We evolve equal mass binary spinning black holes for $t=20,000M$ from an initial proper separation of $d=25M$ down to merger after 48.5 orbits. We compute the gravitational radiation from this system and compare it to 3.5 post-Newtonian generated waveforms finding close agreement. We then further use 3.5 post-Newtonian evolutions to show the extension of this spin flip-flop phenomenon to unequal mass binaries. We also provide analytic expressions to approximate the maximum flip-flop angle and frequency in terms of the binary spins and mass ratio parameters at a given orbital radius. Finally we discuss the effect this spin flip-flop would have on accreting matter and other potential observational effects.
- We derive an analytical expression for extracting the gravitational waveforms at null infinity using the Weyl scalar $\psi_4$ measured at a finite radius. Our expression is based on a series solution in orders of 1/r to the equations for gravitational perturbations about a spinning black hole. We compute this expression to order $1/r^2$ and include the spin parameter $a$ of the Kerr background. We test the accuracy of this extraction procedure by measuring the waveform for a merging black-hole binary at ten different extraction radii (in the range r/M=75-190) and for three different resolutions in the convergence regime. We find that the extraction formula provides a set of values for the radiated energy and momenta that at finite extraction radii converges towards the expected values with increasing resolution, which is not the case for the `raw' waveform at finite radius. We also examine the phase and amplitude errors in the waveform as a function of observer location and again observe the benefits of using our extraction formula. The leading corrections to the phase are ${\cal O}(1/r)$ and to the amplitude are ${\cal O}(1/r^2)$. This method provides a simple and practical way of estimating the waveform at infinity, and may be especially useful for scenarios such as well separated binaries, where the radiation zone is far from the sources, that would otherwise require extended simulation grids in order to extrapolate the `raw' waveform to infinity. Thus this method saves important computational resources and provides an estimate of errors.
- One century after its formulation, Einstein's general relativity has made remarkable predictions and turned out to be compatible with all experimental tests. Most of these tests probe the theory in the weak-field regime, and there are theoretical and experimental reasons to believe that general relativity should be modified when gravitational fields are strong and spacetime curvature is large. The best astrophysical laboratories to probe strong-field gravity are black holes and neutron stars, whether isolated or in binary systems. We review the motivations to consider extensions of general relativity. We present a (necessarily incomplete) catalog of modified theories of gravity for which strong-field predictions have been computed and contrasted to Einstein's theory, and we summarize our current understanding of the structure and dynamics of compact objects in these theories. We discuss current bounds on modified gravity from binary pulsar and cosmological observations, and we highlight the potential of future gravitational wave measurements to inform us on the behavior of gravity in the strong-field regime.
- Nov 03 2014 gr-qc arXiv:1410.8607v3We solve the Hamiltonian and momentum constraints of general relativity for two black holes with nearly extremal spins and relativistic boosts in the puncture formalism. We use a non-conformally-flat ansatz with an attenuated superposition of two Lorentz-boosted, conformally Kerr or conformally Schwarzschild 3-metrics and their corresponding extrinsic curvatures. We compare evolutions of these data with the standard Bowen-York conformally flat ansatz (technically limited to intrinsic spins $\chi=S/M^2_{\text{ADM}}=0.928$ and boosts $P/M_{\text{ADM}}=0.897$), finding, typically, an order of magnitude smaller burst of spurious radiation and agreement with inspiral and merger. As a first case study, we evolve two equal-mass black holes from rest with an initial separation of $d=12M$ and spins $\chi_i=S_i/m_i^2=0.99$, compute the waveforms produced by the collision, the energy and angular momentum radiated, and the recoil of the final remnant black hole. We find that the black-hole trajectories curve at close separations, leading to the radiation of angular momentum. We also study orbiting nonspinning and moderate-spin black-hole binaries and compare these with standard Bowen-York data. We find a substantial reduction in the nonphysical initial burst of radiation which leads to cleaner waveforms. Finally, we study the case of orbiting binary black-hole systems with spin magnitude $\chi_i=0.95$ in an aligned configuration and compare waveform and final remnant results with those of the SXS Collaboration, finding excellent agreement. This represents the first moving punctures evolution of orbiting and spinning black holes exceeding the Bowen-York limit. Finally, we study different choices of the initial lapse and lapse evolution equation in the moving punctures approach to improve the accuracy and efficiency of the simulations.
- We study binary spinning black holes to display the long term individual spin dynamics. We perform a full numerical simulation starting at an initial proper separation of $d\approx25M$ between equal mass holes and evolve them down to merger for nearly 48 orbits, 3 precession cycles, and half of a flip-flop cycle. The simulation lasts for $t=20000M$ and displays a total change in the orientation of the spin of one of the black holes from initially aligned with the orbital angular momentum to a complete anti-alignment after half of a flip-flop cycle. We compare this evolution with an integration of the 3.5 Post-Newtonian equations of motion and spin evolution to show that this process continuously flip-flops the spin during the lifetime of the binary until merger. We also provide lower order analytic expressions for the maximum flip-flop angle and frequency. We discuss the effects this dynamics may have on spin growth in accreting binaries and on the observational consequences for galactic and supermassive binary black holes.
- We demonstrate that in binary black hole mergers there is a direct correlation between the frequency of the gravitational wave at peak amplitude and the mass and spin of the final black hole. This correlation could potentially assist with the analysis of gravitational wave observations from binary black hole mergers.
- We perform a set of 36 nonprecessing black-hole binary simulations with spins either aligned or counteraligned with the orbital angular momentum in order to model the final mass, spin, and recoil of the merged black hole as a function of the individual black hole spin magnitudes and the mass ratio of the progenitors. We find that the maximum recoil for these configurations is $V_{max}=526\pm23\,km/s$, which occurs when the progenitor spins are maximal, the mass ratio is $q_{max}=m_1/m_2=0.623\pm0.038$, the smaller black-hole spin is aligned with the orbital angular momentum, and the larger black-hole spin is counteraligned ($\alpha_1=-\alpha_2=1$). This maximum recoil is about $80\,km/s$ larger than previous estimates, but most importantly, because the maximum occurs for smaller mass ratios, the probability for a merging binary to recoil faster than $400\,km/s$ can be as large as $17\%$, while the probability for recoils faster than $250\, km/s$ can be as large as $45\%$. We provide explicit phenomenological formulas for the final mass, spin, and recoil as a function of the individual BH spins and the mass difference between the two black holes. Here we include terms up through fourth-order in the initial spins and mass difference, and find excellent agreement (within a few percent) with independent results available in the literature. The maximum radiated energy is $E_{\rm rad}/m\approx11.3\%$ and final spin $\alpha_{\rm rem}^{\rm max}\approx0.952$ for equal mass, aligned maximally spinning binaries.
- Jun 23 2014 gr-qc arXiv:1406.5426v2Despite recent progress in numerical simulations of the coalescence of binary black hole systems, highly asymmetric spinning systems and the construction of accurate physical templates remain challenging and computationally expensive. We explore the feasibility of a prompt and robust test of whether the signals exhibit evidence for generic features that can educate new simulations. We form catalogs of numerical relativity waveforms with distinct physical effects and compute the relative probability that a gravitational wave signal belongs to each catalog. We introduce an algorithm designed to perform this task for coalescence signals using principal component analysis of waveform catalogs and Bayesian model selection and demonstrate its effectiveness.
- Apr 14 2014 gr-qc arXiv:1404.3197v4While black hole perturbation theory predicts a rich quasi-normal mode structure, technical challenges have limited the numerical study of excitations to the fundamental, lowest order modes caused by the coalescence of black holes. Here, we present a robust method to identify quasi-normal mode excitations beyond the fundamentals within currently available numerical relativity waveforms. In applying this method to waveforms of initially non-spinning black hole binaries, of mass ratios 1 to 15, we find not only the fundamental quasi-normal mode amplitudes, but also overtones, and evidence for 2nd order quasi-normal modes. We find that the mass-ratio dependence of quasi-normal mode excitation is very well modeled by a Post-Newtonian like sum in symmetric mass ratio. Concurrently, we find that the mass ratio dependence of some quasi-normal modes is qualitatively different from their Post-Newtonian inspired counterparts, suggesting that the imprints of nonlinear merger are more evident in some modes than in others. We present new fitting formulas for the related quasi-normal mode excitations, as well as for remnant black hole spin and mass. We also discuss the relevance of our results in terms of gravitational wave detection and characterization.
- 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]
- Oct 09 2013 gr-qc arXiv:1310.1955v2We investigate non-spherically symmetric, scalar field collapse of a family of initial data consisting of a spherically symmetric profile with a deformation proportional to the real part of the spherical harmonic $Y_{21}(\theta,\varphi)$. Independent of the strength of the anisotropy in the data, we find that supercritical collapse yields a black hole mass scaling $M_h \propto (p-p^*)^\gamma$ with $\gamma \approx 0.37$, a value remarkably close to the critical exponent obtained by Choptuik in his pioneering study in spherical symmetry. We also find hints of discrete self-similarity. However, the collapse experiments are not sufficiently close to the critical solution to unequivocally claim that the detected periodicity is from critical collapse echoing.
- 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 12 2013 gr-qc astro-ph.CO arXiv:1304.3176v3Previous analytic and numerical calculations suggest that, at each instant, the emission from a precessing black hole binary closely resembles the emission from a nonprecessing analog. In this paper we quantitatively explore the validity and limitations of that correspondence, extracting the radiation from a large collection of roughly two hundred generic black hole binary merger simulations both in the simulation frame and in a corotating frame that tracks precession. To a first approximation, the corotating-frame waveforms resemble nonprecessing analogs, based on similarity over a band-limited frequency interval defined using a fiducial detector (here, advanced LIGO) and the source's total mass $M$. By restricting attention to masses $M\in 100, 1000 M_\odot$, we insure our comparisons are sensitive only to our simulated late-time inspiral, merger, and ringdown signals. In this mass region, every one of our precessing simulations can be fit by some physically similar member of the \textttIMRPhenomB phenomenological waveform family to better than 95%; most fit significantly better. The best-fit parameters at low and high mass correspond to natural physical limits: the pre-merger orbit and post-merger perturbed black hole. Our results suggest that physically-motivated synthetic signals can be derived by viewing radiation from suitable nonprecessing binaries in a suitable nonintertial reference frame. While a good first approximation, precessing systems have degrees of freedom (i.e., the transverse spins) which a nonprecessing simulation cannot reproduce. We quantify the extent to which these missing degrees of freedom limit the utility of synthetic precessing signals for detection and parameter estimation.
- 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.
- Feb 28 2013 gr-qc arXiv:1302.6953v2Matched filtering is a popular data analysis framework used to search for gravitational wave signals emitted by compact object binaries. The templates used in matched filtering searches are constructed predominantly from the quadrupolar mode because this mode is the energetically most dominant channel. However, for highly precessing binaries or binaries with moderately large mass ratios, significant power is also carried by higher-order modes. We investigate how the inclusion of higher modes in the templates increases the prospects for detecting gravitational waves. Specifically, we use numerical relativity waveforms from the late inspiral and coalescence of binary black holes to identify mode hierarchies that cover the sky of binary orientations. We show that the ordering in these hierarchies depends on the characteristics of the binary system and the mode strengths. Our study demonstrates that detecting moderately high precessing or unequal mass binaries requires the inclusion of higher modes in the templates banks.
- Oct 09 2012 gr-qc arXiv:1210.1891v1The inspiral and merger of black-hole binary systems are a promising source of gravitational waves. The most effective method to look for a signal with a well understood waveform, such as the binary black hole signal, is matched filtering against a library of model waveforms. Current model waveforms are comprised solely of the dominant radiation mode, the quadrupole mode, although it is known that there can be significant power in the higher-order modes. The binary black hole waveforms produced by numerical relativity are accurate through late inspiral, merger, and ringdown and include the higher-order modes. The available numerical-relativity waveforms span an increasing portion of the physical parameter space of unequal mass, spin and precession. In this paper, we investigate the degree to which gravitational-wave searches could be improved by the inclusion of higher modes in the model waveforms, for signals with a variety of initial mass ratios and generic spins. Our investigation studies how well the quadrupole-only waveform model matches the signal as a function of the inclination and orientation of the source and how the modes contribute to the distance reach into the Universe of Advanced LIGO for a fixed set of internal source parameters. The mismatch between signals and quadrupole-only waveform can be large, dropping below 0.97 for up to 65% of the source-sky for the non-precessing cases we studied, and over a larger area in one precessing case. There is a corresponding 30% increase in detection volume that could be achieved by adding higher modes to the search; however, this is mitigated by the fact that the mismatch is largest for signals which radiate the least energy and to which the search is therefore least sensitive. Likewise, the mismatch is largest in directions from the source along which the least energy is radiated.
- Sep 18 2012 gr-qc arXiv:1209.3712v2The short gravitational wave signal from the merger of compact binaries encodes a surprising amount of information about the strong-field dynamics of merger into frequencies accessible to ground-based interferometers. In this paper we describe a previously-unknown "precession" of the peak emission direction with time, both before and after the merger, about the total angular momentum direction. We demonstrate the gravitational wave polarization encodes the orientation of this direction to the line of sight. We argue the effects of polarization can be estimated nonparametrically, directly from the gravitational wave signal as seen along one line of sight, as a slowly-varying feature on top of a rapidly-varying carrier. After merger, our results can be interpreted as a coherent excitation of quasinormal modes of different angular orders, a superposition which naturally "precesses" and modulates the line-of-sight amplitude. Recent analytic calculations have arrived at a similar geometric interpretation. We suspect the line-of-sight polarization content will be a convenient observable with which to define new high-precision tests of general relativity using gravitational waves. Additionally, as the nonlinear merger process seeds the initial coherent perturbation, we speculate the amplitude of this effect provides a new probe of the strong-field dynamics during merger. To demonstrate the ubiquity of the effects we describe, we summarize the post-merger evolution of 104 generic precessing binary mergers. Finally, we provide estimates for the detectable impacts of precession on the waveforms from high-mass sources. These expressions may identify new precessing binary parameters whose waveforms are dissimilar from the existing sample.
- 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.
- Jan 11 2012 gr-qc astro-ph.CO arXiv:1201.2113v2The gravitational wave signature emitted from a merging binary depends on the orientation of an observer relative to the binary. Previous studies suggest that emission along the total initial or total final angular momenta leads to both the strongest and simplest signal from a precessing compact binary. In this paper we describe a concrete counterexample: a binary with $m_1/m_2=4$, $a_1=0.6 \hat{x} = -a_2$, placed in orbit in the x,y plane. We extract the gravitational wave emission along several proposed emission directions, including the initial (Newtonian) orbital angular momentum; the final (~ initial) total angular momentum; and the dominant principal axis of $<L_a L_b>_M$. Using several diagnostics, we show that the suggested preferred directions are not representative. For example, only for a handful of other directions (< 15%) will the gravitational wave signal have comparable shape to the one extracted along each of these fiducial directions, as measured by a generalized overlap (>0.95). We conclude that the information available in just one direction (or mode) does not adequately encode the complexity of orientation-dependent emission for even short signals from merging black hole binaries. Future investigations of precessing, unequal-mass binaries should carefully explore and model their orientation-dependent emission.
- Gravitational wave observations will probe non-linear gravitational interactions and thus enable strong tests of Einstein's theory of general relativity. We present a numerical relativity study of the late inspiral and merger of binary black holes in scalar-tensor theories of gravity. We consider black hole binaries in an inhomogeneous scalar field, specifically binaries inside a scalar field bubble, in some cases with a potential. We calculate the emission of dipole radiation. We also show how these configurations trigger detectable differences between gravitational waves in scalar-tensor gravity and the corresponding waves in general relativity. We conclude that, barring an external mechanism to induce dynamics in the scalar field, scalar-tensor gravity binary black holes alone are not capable of awaking a dormant scalar field, and are thus observationally indistinguishable from their general relativistic counterparts.
- Sep 27 2011 gr-qc arXiv:1109.5224v1Previous studies have demonstrated that gravitational radiation reliably encodes information about the natural emission direction of the source (e.g., the orbital plane). In this paper, we demonstrate that these orientations can be efficiently estimated by the principal axes of <L_a L_b>, an average of the action of rotation group generators on the Weyl tensor at asymptotic infinity. Evaluating this average at each time provides the instantaneous emission direction. Further averaging across the entire signal yields an average orientation, closely connected to the angular components of the Fisher matrix. The latter direction is well-suited to data analysis and parameter estimation when the instantaneous emission direction evolves significantly. Finally, in the time domain, the average <L_a L_b> provides fast, invariant diagnostics of waveform quality.
- Jan 26 2011 gr-qc astro-ph.CO arXiv:1101.4684v2Modeling the late inspiral and merger of supermassive black holes is central to understanding accretion processes and the conditions under which electromagnetic emission accompanies gravitational waves. We use fully general relativistic, hydrodynamics simulations to investigate how electromagnetic signatures correlate with black hole spins, mass ratios, and the gaseous environment in this final phase of binary evolution. In all scenarios, we find some form of characteristic electromagnetic variability whose pattern depends on the spins and binary mass ratios. Binaries in hot accretion flows exhibit a flare followed by a sudden drop in luminosity associated with the plunge and merger, as well as quasi-periodic oscillations correlated with the gravitational waves during the inspiral. Conversely, circumbinary disk systems are characterized by a low luminosity of variable emission, suggesting challenging prospects for their detection.
- Dec 24 2010 gr-qc arXiv:1012.5172v2An accurate knowledge of the coalescing binary gravitational waveform is crucial for experimental searches as the ones performed by the LIGO-Virgo collaboration. Following an earlier paper by the same authors we refine the construction of analytical phenomenological waveforms describing the signal sourced by generically spinning binary systems. The gap between the initial inspiral part of the waveform, described by spin-Taylor approximants, and its final ring-down part, described by damped exponentials, is bridged by a phenomenological phase calibrated by comparison with the dominant spherical harmonic mode of a set of waveforms including both numerical and phenomenological waveforms of different type. All waveforms considered describe equal mass systems. The Advanced LIGO noise-weighted overlap integral between the numerical and phenomenological waveforms presented here ranges between 0.95 and 0.99 for a wide span of mass values.
- Oct 26 2010 gr-qc arXiv:1010.5200v1Recent years have witnessed tremendous progress in numerical relativity and an ever improving performance of ground-based interferometric gravitational wave detectors. In preparation for Advanced LIGO and a new era in gravitational wave astronomy, the numerical relativity and gravitational wave data analysis communities are collaborating to ascertain the most useful role for numerical relativity waveforms in the detection and characterization of binary black hole coalescences. In this paper, we explore the detectability of equal mass, merging black hole binaries with precessing spins and total mass M_T in [80,350]Msol, using numerical relativity waveforms and template-less search algorithms designed for gravitational wave bursts. In particular, we present a systematic study using waveforms produced by the MAYAKRANC code that are added to colored, Gaussian noise and analyzed with the Omega burst search algorithm. Detection efficiency is weighed against the orientation of one of the black-hole's spin axes. We find a strong correlation between the detection efficiency and the radiated energy and angular momentum, and that the inclusion of the l=2, m=+/-1,0 modes, at a minimum, is necessary to account for the full dynamics of precessing systems.
- Jul 26 2010 gr-qc astro-ph.CO arXiv:1007.4213v2The next generation of ground-based gravitational wave detectors may detect a few mergers of comparable-mass M≃100-1000 Msun ("intermediate-mass'', or IMBH) spinning black holes. Black hole spin is known to have a significant impact on the orbit, merger signal, and post-merger ringdown of any binary with non-negligible spin. In particular, the detection volume for spinning binaries depends significantly on the component black hole spins. We provide a fit to the single-detector and isotropic-network detection volume versus (total) mass and arbitrary spin for equal-mass binaries. Our analysis assumes matched filtering to all significant available waveform power (up to l=6 available for fitting, but only l<= 4 significant) estimated by an array of 64 numerical simulations with component spins as large as S_1,2/M^2 <= 0.8. We provide a spin-dependent estimate of our uncertainty, up to S_1,2/M^2 <= 1. For the initial (advanced) LIGO detector, our fits are reliable for $M\in[100,500]M_\odot$ ($M\in[100,1600]M_\odot$). In the online version of this article, we also provide fits assuming incomplete information, such as the neglect of higher-order harmonics. We briefly discuss how a strong selection bias towards aligned spins influences the interpretation of future gravitational wave detections of IMBH-IMBH mergers.
- May 05 2010 gr-qc arXiv:1005.0551v2The quest for gravitational waves from coalescing binaries is customarily performed by the LIGO-Virgo collaboration via matched filtering, which requires a detailed knowledge of the signal. Complete analytical coalescence waveforms are currently available only for the non-precessing binary systems. In this paper we introduce complete phenomenological waveforms for the dominant quadrupolar mode of generically spinning systems. These waveforms are constructed by bridging the gap between the analytically known inspiral phase, described by spin Taylor (T4) approximants in the restricted waveform approximation, and the ring-down phase through a phenomenological intermediate phase, calibrated by comparison with specific, numerically generated waveforms, describing equal mass systems with dimension-less spin magnitudes equal to 0.6. The overlap integral between numerical and phenomenological waveforms ranges between 0.95 and 0.99.
- Jul 06 2009 gr-qc astro-ph.CO arXiv:0907.0671v2Zoom-whirl behavior has the reputation of being a rare phenomenon. The concern has been that gravitational radiation would drain angular momentum so rapidly that generic orbits would circularize before zoom-whirl behavior could play out, and only rare highly tuned orbits would retain their imprint. Using full numerical relativity, we catch zoom-whirl behavior despite dissipation. The larger the mass ratio, the longer the pair can spend in orbit before merging and therefore the more zooms and whirls seen. Larger spins also enhance zoom-whirliness. An important implication is that these eccentric orbits can merge during a whirl phase, before enough angular momentum has been lost to truly circularize the orbit. Waveforms will be modulated by the harmonics of zoom-whirls, showing quiet phases during zooms and louder glitches during whirls.
- We present results on the mass and spin of the final black hole from mergers of equal mass, spinning black holes. The study extends over a broad range of initial orbital configurations, from direct plunges to quasi-circular inspirals to more energetic orbits (generalizations of Newtonian elliptical orbits). It provides a comprehensive search of those configurations that maximize the final spin of the remnant black hole. We estimate that the final spin can reach a maximum spin $a/M_h \approx 0.99\pm 0.01$ for extremal black hole mergers. In addition, we find that, as one increases the orbital angular momentum from small values, the mergers produce black holes with mass and spin parameters $\lbrace M_h/M, a/M_h \rbrace$ ~spiraling around the values $\lbrace \hat M_h/M, \hat a/M_h \rbrace$ of a \it golden black hole. Specifically, $(M_h-\hat M_h)/M \propto e^{\pm B\,\phi}\cos{\phi}$ and $(a-\hat a)/M_h \propto e^{\pm C\,\phi}\sin{\phi}$, with $\phi$ a monotonically growing function of the initial orbital angular momentum. We find that the values of the parameters for the \emphgolden black hole are those of the final black hole obtained from the merger of a binary with the corresponding spinning black holes in a quasi-circular inspiral.
- Generic inspirals and mergers of binary black holes produce beamed emission of gravitational radiation that can lead to a gravitational recoil or kick of the final black hole. The kick velocity depends on the mass ratio and spins of the binary as well as on the dynamics of the binary configuration. Studies have focused so far on the most astrophysically relevant configuration of quasi-circular inspirals, for which kicks as large as 3,300 km/s have been found. We present the first study of gravitational recoil in hyperbolic encounters. Contrary to quasi-circular configurations, in which the beamed radiation tends to average during the inspiral, radiation from hyperbolic encounters is plunge dominated, resulting in an enhancement of preferential beaming. As a consequence, it is possible to achieve kick velocities as large as 10,000 km/s.
- The spin of the final black hole in the coalescence of nonspinning black holes is determined by the ``residual'' orbital angular momentum of the binary. This residual momentum consists of the orbital angular momentum that the binary is not able to shed in the process of merging. We study the angular momentum radiated, the spin of the final black hole and the gravitational bursts in a series of orbits ranging from almost direct infall to numerous orbits before infall that exhibit multiple bursts of radiation in the merger process. We show that the final black hole gets a maximum spin parameter $a/M_h \le 0.78$, and this maximum occurs for initial orbital angular momentum $L \approx M^2_h$.