results for au:Nichols_D 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.HE arXiv:1710.02327v2Spinning neutron stars asymmetric with respect to their rotation axis are potential sources of continuous gravitational waves for ground-based interferometric detectors. In the case of known pulsars a fully coherent search, based on matched filtering, which uses the position and rotational parameters obtained from electromagnetic observations, can be carried out. Matched filtering maximizes the signal-to-noise (SNR) ratio, but a large sensitivity loss is expected in case of even a very small mismatch between the assumed and the true signal parameters. For this reason, \it narrow-band analyses methods have been developed, allowing a fully coherent search for gravitational waves from known pulsars over a fraction of a hertz and several spin-down values. In this paper we describe a narrow-band search of eleven pulsars using data from Advanced LIGO's first observing run. Although we have found several initial outliers, further studies show no significant evidence for the presence of a gravitational wave signal. Finally, we have placed upper limits on the signal strain amplitude lower than the spin-down limit for 5 of the 11 targets over the bands searched: in the case of J1813-1749 the spin-down limit has been beaten for the first time. For an additional 3 targets, the median upper limit across the search bands is below the spin-down limit. This is the most sensitive narrow-band search for continuous gravitational waves carried out so far.
- Sep 28 2017 gr-qc arXiv:1709.09203v1We present results from the first directed search for nontensorial gravitational waves. While general relativity allows for tensorial (plus and cross) modes only, a generic metric theory may, in principle, predict waves with up to six different polarizations. This analysis is sensitive to continuous signals of scalar, vector or tensor polarizations, and does not rely on any specific theory of gravity. After searching data from the first observation run of the advanced LIGO detectors for signals at twice the rotational frequency of 200 known pulsars, we find no evidence of gravitational waves of any polarization. We report the first upper limits for scalar and vector strains, finding values comparable in magnitude to previously-published limits for tensor strain. Our results may be translated into constraints on specific alternative theories of gravity.
- Sep 28 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1709.09660v3On August 14, 2017 at 10:30:43 UTC, the Advanced Virgo detector and the two Advanced LIGO detectors coherently observed a transient gravitational-wave signal produced by the coalescence of two stellar mass black holes, with a false-alarm-rate of $\lesssim$ 1 in 27000 years. The signal was observed with a three-detector network matched-filter signal-to-noise ratio of 18. The inferred masses of the initial black holes are $30.5_{-3.0}^{+5.7}$ Msun and $25.3_{-4.2}^{+2.8}$ Msun (at the 90% credible level). The luminosity distance of the source is $540_{-210}^{+130}~\mathrm{Mpc}$, corresponding to a redshift of $z=0.11_{-0.04}^{+0.03}$. A network of three detectors improves the sky localization of the source, reducing the area of the 90% credible region from 1160 deg$^2$ using only the two LIGO detectors to 60 deg$^2$ using all three detectors. For the first time, we can test the nature of gravitational wave polarizations from the antenna response of the LIGO-Virgo network, thus enabling a new class of phenomenological tests of gravity.
- Jul 11 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.IM arXiv:1707.02667v2We report on an all-sky search for periodic gravitational waves in the frequency band 20-475 Hz and with a frequency time derivative in the range of [-1.0, +0.1]e-8 Hz/s. Such a signal could be produced by a nearby spinning and slightly non-axisymmetric isolated neutron star in our galaxy. This search uses the data from Advanced LIGO's first observational run, O1. No periodic gravitational wave signals were observed, and upper limits were placed on their strengths. The lowest upper limits on worst-case (linearly polarized) strain amplitude h0 are 4e-25 near 170 Hz. For a circularly polarized source (most favorable orientation), the smallest upper limits obtained are 1.5e-25. These upper limits refer to all sky locations and the entire range of frequency derivative values. For a population-averaged ensemble of sky locations and stellar orientations, the lowest upper limits obtained for the strain amplitude are 2.5e-25.
- Jul 11 2017 gr-qc arXiv:1707.02669v2We report results of a deep all-sky search for periodic gravitational waves from isolated neutron stars in data from the first Advanced LIGO observing run. This search investigates the low frequency range of Advanced LIGO data, between 20 and 100 Hz, much of which was not explored in initial LIGO. The search was made possible by the computing power provided by the volunteers of the Einstein@Home project. We find no significant signal candidate and set the most stringent upper limits to date on the amplitude of gravitational wave signals from the target population, corresponding to a sensitivity depth of 48.7 [1/$\sqrt{{\textrm{Hz}}}$]. At the frequency of best strain sensitivity, near 100 Hz, we set 90% confidence upper limits of $1.8 \times 10^{-25}$. At the low end of our frequency range, 20 Hz, we achieve upper limits of $3.9 \times 10^{-24}$. At 55 Hz we can exclude sources with ellipticities greater than $10^{-5}$ within 100 pc of Earth with fiducial value of the principal moment of inertia of $10^{38} \textrm{kg m}^2$.
- Jun 13 2017 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1706.03119v3We present the results of a semicoherent search for continuous gravitational waves from the low-mass X-ray binary Scorpius X-1, using data from the first Advanced LIGO observing run. The search method uses details of the modelled, parametrized continuous signal to combine coherently data separated by less than a specified coherence time, which can be adjusted to trade off sensitivity against computational cost. A search was conducted over the frequency range from 25 Hz to 2000 Hz, spanning the current observationally-constrained range of the binary orbital parameters. No significant detection candidates were found, and frequency-dependent upper limits were set using a combination of sensitivity estimates and simulated signal injections. The most stringent upper limit was set at 175 Hz, with comparable limits set across the most sensitive frequency range from 100 Hz to 200 Hz. At this frequency, the 95 pct upper limit on signal amplitude h0 is 2.3e-25 marginalized over the unknown inclination angle of the neutron star's spin, and 8.03e-26 assuming the best orientation (which results in circularly polarized gravitational waves). These limits are a factor of 3-4 stronger than those set by other analyses of the same data, and a factor of about 7 stronger than the best upper limits set using initial LIGO data. In the vicinity of 100 Hz, the limits are a factor of between 1.2 and 3.5 above the predictions of the torque balance model, depending on inclination angle, if the most likely inclination angle of 44 degrees is assumed, they are within a factor of 1.7.
- Jun 07 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1706.01812v1We describe the observation of GW170104, a gravitational-wave signal produced by the coalescence of a pair of stellar-mass black holes. The signal was measured on January 4, 2017 at 10:11:58.6 UTC by the twin advanced detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory during their second observing run, with a network signal-to-noise ratio of 13 and a false alarm rate less than 1 in 70,000 years. The inferred component black hole masses are $31.2^{+8.4}_{-6.0}\,M_\odot$ and $19.4^{+5.3}_{-5.9}\,M_\odot$ (at the 90% credible level). The black hole spins are best constrained through measurement of the effective inspiral spin parameter, a mass-weighted combination of the spin components perpendicular to the orbital plane, $\chi_\mathrm{eff} = -0.12^{+0.21}_{-0.30}.$ This result implies that spin configurations with both component spins positively aligned with the orbital angular momentum are disfavored. The source luminosity distance is $880^{+450}_{-390}~\mathrm{Mpc}$ corresponding to a redshift of $z = 0.18^{+0.08}_{-0.07}$. We constrain the magnitude of modifications to the gravitational-wave dispersion relation and perform null tests of general relativity. Assuming that gravitons are dispersed in vacuum like massive particles, we bound the graviton mass to $m_g \le 7.7 \times 10^{-23}~\mathrm{eV}/c^2$. In all cases, we find that GW170104 is consistent with general relativity.
- Apr 18 2017 gr-qc arXiv:1704.04628v4During their first observational run, the two Advanced LIGO detectors attained an unprecedented sensitivity, resulting in the first direct detections of gravitational-wave signals and GW151226, produced by stellar-mass binary black hole systems. This paper reports on an all-sky search for gravitational waves (GWs) from merging intermediate mass black hole binaries (IMBHBs). The combined results from two independent search techniques were used in this study: the first employs a matched-filter algorithm that uses a bank of filters covering the GW signal parameter space, while the second is a generic search for GW transients (bursts). No GWs from IMBHBs were detected, therefore, we constrain the rate of several classes of IMBHB mergers. The most stringent limit is obtained for black holes of individual mass $100\,M_\odot$, with spins aligned with the binary orbital angular momentum. For such systems, the merger rate is constrained to be less than $0.93~\mathrm{Gpc^{-3}\,yr}^{-1}$ in comoving units at the $90\%$ confidence level, an improvement of nearly 2 orders of magnitude over previous upper limits.
- Apr 13 2017 gr-qc arXiv:1704.03719v3Results are presented from a semi-coherent search for continuous gravitational waves from the brightest low-mass X-ray binary, Scorpius X-1, using data collected during the first Advanced LIGO observing run (O1). The search combines a frequency domain matched filter (Bessel-weighted $\mathcal{F}$-statistic) with a hidden Markov model to track wandering of the neutron star spin frequency. No evidence of gravitational waves is found in the frequency range 60-650 Hz. Frequentist 95% confidence strain upper limits, $h_0^{95\%} = 4.0\times10^{-25}$, $8.3\times10^{-25}$, and $3.0\times10^{-25}$ for electromagnetically restricted source orientation, unknown polarization, and circular polarization, respectively, are reported at 106 Hz. They are $\leq 10$ times higher than the theoretical torque-balance limit at 106 Hz.
- The spin memory effect is a recently predicted relativistic phenomenon in asymptotically flat spacetimes that become nonradiative infinitely far in the past and future. Between these early and late times, the magnetic-parity part of the time integral of the gravitational-wave strain can undergo a nonzero change; this difference is the spin memory effect. Families of freely falling observers around an isolated source can measure this effect, in principle, and fluxes of angular momentum per unit solid angle (or changes in superspin charges) generate the effect. The spin memory effect had not been computed explicitly for astrophysical sources of gravitational waves, such as compact binaries. In this paper, we compute the spin memory in terms of a set of radiative multipole moments of the gravitational-wave strain. The result of this calculation allows us to establish the following results about the spin memory: (i) We find that the accumulation of the spin memory behaves in a qualitatively different way from that of the displacement memory effect for nonspinning, quasicircular compact binaries in the post-Newtonian approximation: the spin memory undergoes a large secular growth over the duration of the inspiral, whereas for the displacement effect this increase is small. (ii) The rate at which the spin memory grows is equivalent to a nonlinear, but nonoscillatory and nonhereditary effect in the gravitational waveform that had been previously calculated for nonspinning, quasicircular compact binaries. (iii) This rate of build-up of the spin memory could potentially be detected by future gravitational-wave detectors by carefully combining the measured waveforms from hundreds of gravitational-wave detections of compact binaries.
- Feb 09 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1602.02453v2The coalescences of stellar-mass black-hole binaries through their inspiral, merger, and ringdown are among the most promising sources for ground-based gravitational-wave (GW) detectors. If a GW signal is observed with sufficient signal-to-noise ratio, the masses and spins of the black holes can be estimated from just the inspiral part of the signal. Using these estimates of the initial parameters of the binary, the mass and spin of the final black hole can be uniquely predicted making use of general-relativistic numerical simulations. In addition, the mass and spin of the final black hole can be independently estimated from the merger--ringdown part of the signal. If the binary black hole dynamics is correctly described by general relativity (GR), these independent estimates have to be consistent with each other. We present a Bayesian implementation of such a test of general relativity, which allows us to combine the constraints from multiple observations. Using kludge modified GR waveforms, we demonstrate that this test can detect sufficiently large deviations from GR, and outline the expected constraints from upcoming GW observations using the second-generation of ground-based GW detectors.
- Feb 08 2016 gr-qc arXiv:1602.01847v1For observers in curved spacetimes, elements of the dual space of the set of linearized Poincaré transformations from an observer's tangent space to itself can be naturally interpreted as local linear and angular momenta. We present an operational procedure by which observers can measure such quantities using only information about the spacetime curvature at their location. When applied by observers near spacelike or null infinity in stationary, vacuum, asymptotically flat spacetimes, there is a sense in which the procedure yields the well-defined linear and angular momenta of the spacetime. We also describe a general method by which observers can transport local linear and angular momenta from one point to another, which improves previous prescriptions. This transport is not path independent in general, but becomes path independent for the measured momenta in the same limiting regime. The transport prescription is defined in terms of differential equations, but it can also be interpreted as parallel transport in a particular direct-sum vector bundle. Using the curvature of the connection on this bundle, we compute and discuss the holonomy of the transport law. We anticipate that these measurement and transport definitions may ultimately prove useful for clarifying the physical interpretation of the Bondi-Metzner-Sachs charges of asymptotically flat spacetimes.
- In a study of the quasinormal mode frequencies of nearly extremal black holes, we pointed out a bifurcation of the mode spectrum into modes with finite decay and modes with vanishing decay in the extremal limit. We provided analytic and semi-analytic results identifying which families of modes bifurcated, and when modes with finite decay rates exist when approaching the extremal limit. In a recent note (arXiv:1510.05604), Hod suggests that additional modes asymptote to finite decay at extremely high spin parameter, based on past work by Detweiler. We search for these suggested modes and find no evidence of their existence. In addition, we point out an inconsistency in the derivation of the proposed modes, which further indicates that these damped modes do not exist.
- Isolated objects in asymptotically flat spacetimes in general relativity are characterized by their conserved charges associated with the Bondi-Metzner-Sachs (BMS) group. These charges include total energy, linear momentum, intrinsic angular momentum and center-of-mass location, and, in addition, an infinite number of supermomentum charges associated with supertranslations. Recently, it has been suggested that the BMS symmetry algebra should be enlarged to include an infinite number of additional symmetries known as superrotations. We show that the corresponding charges are finite and well defined, and can be divided into electric parity "super center-of-mass" charges and magnetic parity "superspin" charges. The supermomentum charges are associated with ordinary gravitational-wave memory, and the super center-of-mass charges are associated with total (ordinary plus null) gravitational-wave memory, in the terminology of Bieri and Garfinkle. Superspin charges are associated with the ordinary piece of spin memory. Some of these charges can give rise to black-hole hair, as described by Strominger and Zhiboedov. We clarify how this hair evades the no-hair theorems.
- Dec 15 2014 gr-qc arXiv:1412.4077v3An affine transport equation was used recently to study properties of angular momentum and gravitational-wave memory effects in general relativity. In this paper, we investigate local properties of this transport equation in greater detail. Associated with this transport equation is a map between the tangent spaces at two points on a curve. This map consists of a homogeneous (linear) part given by the parallel transport map along the curve plus an inhomogeneous part, which is related to the development of a curve in a manifold into an affine tangent space. For closed curves, the affine transport equation defines a "generalized holonomy" that takes the form of an affine map on the tangent space. We explore the local properties of this generalized holonomy by using covariant bitensor methods to compute the generalized holonomy around geodesic polygon loops. We focus on triangles and "parallelogramoids" with sides formed from geodesic segments. For small loops, we recover the well-known result for the leading-order linear holonomy ($\sim$ Riemann $\times$ area), and we derive the leading-order inhomogeneous part of the generalized holonomy ($\sim$ Riemann $\times$ area$^{3/2}$). Our bitensor methods let us naturally compute higher-order corrections to these leading results. These corrections reveal the form of the finite-size effects that enter into the holonomy for larger loops; they could also provide quantitative errors on the leading-order results for finite loops.
- Nov 18 2014 gr-qc arXiv:1411.4599v4We define a procedure by which observers can measure a type of special-relativistic linear and angular momentum $(P^a, J^{ab})$ at a point in a curved spacetime using only the spacetime geometry in a neighborhood of that point. The method is chosen to yield the conventional results in stationary spacetimes near future null infinity. We also explore the extent to which spatially separated observers can compare the values of angular momentum that they measure and find consistent results. We define a generalization of parallel transport along curves which gives a prescription for transporting values of angular momentum along curves that yields the correct result in special relativity. If observers use this prescription, then they will find that the angular momenta they measure are observer dependent, because of the effects of spacetime curvature. The observer dependence can be quantified by a kind of generalized holonomy. We show that bursts of gravitational waves with memory generically give rise to a nontrivial generalized holonomy: there is, in this context, a close relation between the observer dependence of angular momentum and the gravitational-wave memory effect.
- Dec 20 2012 gr-qc arXiv:1212.4730v1We compare the nature of electromagnetic fields and of gravitational fields in linearized general relativity. We carry out this comparison both mathematically and visually. In particular the "lines of force" visualizations of electromagnetism are contrasted with the recently introduced tendex/vortex eigenline technique for visualizing gravitational fields. Specific solutions, visualizations, and comparisons are given for an oscillating point quadrupole source. Among the similarities illustrated are the quasistatic nature of the near fields, the transverse 1/r nature of the far fields, and the interesting intermediate field structures connecting these two limiting forms. Among the differences illustrated are the meaning of field line motion, and of the flow of energy.
- We show that nearly extremal Kerr black holes have two distinct sets of quasinormal modes, which we call zero-damping modes (ZDMs) and damped modes (DMs). The ZDMs exist for all harmonic indices $l$ and $m \ge 0$, and their frequencies cluster onto the real axis in the extremal limit. The DMs have nonzero damping for all black hole spins; they exist for all counterrotating modes ($m<0$) and for corotating modes with $0\leq \mu\lesssim \mu_c=0.74$ (in the eikonal limit), where $\mu\equiv m/(l+1/2)$. When the two families coexist, ZDMs and DMs merge to form a single set of quasinormal modes as the black hole spin decreases. Using the effective potential for perturbations of the Kerr spacetime, we give intuitive explanations for the absence of DMs in certain areas of the spectrum and for the branching of the spectrum into ZDMs and DMs at large spins.
- Aug 16 2012 gr-qc arXiv:1208.3034v3When one splits spacetime into space plus time, the Weyl curvature tensor (which equals the Riemann tensor in vacuum) splits into two spatial, symmetric, traceless tensors: the tidal field $E$, which produces tidal forces, and the frame-drag field $B$, which produces differential frame dragging. In recent papers, we and colleagues have introduced ways to visualize these two fields: tidal tendex lines (integral curves of the three eigenvector fields of $E$) and their tendicities (eigenvalues of these eigenvector fields); and the corresponding entities for the frame-drag field: frame-drag vortex lines and their vorticities. These entities fully characterize the vacuum Riemann tensor. In this paper, we compute and depict the tendex and vortex lines, and their tendicities and vorticities, outside the horizons of stationary (Schwarzschild and Kerr) black holes; and we introduce and depict the black holes' horizon tendicity and vorticity (the normal-normal components of $E$ and $B$ on the horizon). For Schwarzschild and Kerr black holes, the horizon tendicity is proportional to the horizon's intrinsic scalar curvature, and the horizon vorticity is proportional to an extrinsic scalar curvature. We show that, for horizon-penetrating time slices, all these entities ($E$, $B$, the tendex lines and vortex lines, the lines' tendicities and vorticities, and the horizon tendicities and vorticities) are affected only weakly by changes of slicing and changes of spatial coordinates, within those slicing and coordinate choices that are commonly used for black holes. [Abstract is abbreviated.]
- Aug 16 2012 gr-qc arXiv:1208.3038v3In recent papers, we and colleagues have introduced a way to visualize the full vacuum Riemann curvature tensor using frame-drag vortex lines and their vorticities, and tidal tendex lines and their tendicities. We have also introduced the concepts of horizon vortexes and tendexes and 3-D vortexes and tendexes (regions where vorticities or tendicities are large). Using these concepts, we discover a number of previously unknown features of quasinormal modes of Schwarzschild and Kerr black holes. These modes can be classified by mode indexes (n,l,m), and parity, which can be electric [(-1)^l] or magnetic [(-1)^(l+1)]. Among our discoveries are these: (i) There is a near duality between modes of the same (n,l,m): a duality in which the tendex and vortex structures of electric-parity modes are interchanged with the vortex and tendex structures (respectively) of magnetic-parity modes. (ii) This near duality is perfect for the modes' complex eigenfrequencies (which are well known to be identical) and perfect on the horizon; it is slightly broken in the equatorial plane of a non-spinning hole, and the breaking becomes greater out of the equatorial plane, and greater as the hole is spun up; but even out of the plane for fast-spinning holes, the duality is surprisingly good. (iii) Electric-parity modes can be regarded as generated by 3-D tendexes that stick radially out of the horizon. As these "longitudinal," near-zone tendexes rotate or oscillate, they generate longitudinal-transverse near-zone vortexes and tendexes, and outgoing and ingoing gravitational waves. The ingoing waves act back on the longitudinal tendexes, driving them to slide off the horizon, which results in decay of the mode's strength. (iv) By duality, magnetic-parity modes are driven in this same manner by longitudinal, near-zone vortexes that stick out of the horizon. [Abstract abridged.]
- Jul 19 2012 gr-qc arXiv:1207.4253v1There is a well-known, intuitive geometric correspondence between high-frequency QNMs of Schwarzschild black holes and null geodesics that reside on the light-ring : the real part of the mode's frequency relates to the geodesic's orbital frequency, and the imaginary part of the frequency corresponds to the Lyapunov exponent of the orbit. For slowly rotating black holes, the QNM real frequency is a linear combination of a the orbit's precessional and orbital frequencies, but the correspondence is otherwise unchanged. In this paper, we find a relationship between the QNM frequencies of Kerr black holes of arbitrary (astrophysical) spins and general spherical photon orbits, which is analogous to the relationship for slowly rotating holes. To derive this result, we first use the WKB approximation to compute accurate algebraic expressions for large-l QNM frequencies. Comparing our WKB calculation to the leading-order, geometric-optics approximation to scalar-wave propagation in the Kerr spacetime, we then draw a correspondence between the real parts of the parameters of a QNM and the conserved quantities of spherical photon orbits. At next-to-leading order in this comparison, we relate the imaginary parts of the QNM parameters to coefficients that modify the amplitude of the scalar wave. With this correspondence, we find a geometric interpretation to two features of the QNM spectrum of Kerr black holes: First, for Kerr holes rotating near the maximal rate, a large number of modes have nearly zero damping; we connect this characteristic to the fact that a large number of spherical photon orbits approach the horizon in this limit. Second, for black holes of any spins, the frequencies of specific sets of modes are degenerate; we find that this feature arises when the spherical photon orbits corresponding to these modes form closed (as opposed to ergodically winding) curves.
- Sep 02 2011 gr-qc arXiv:1109.0081v2We adapt a method of matching post-Newtonian and black-hole-perturbation theories on a timelike surface (which proved useful for understanding head-on black-hole-binary collisions) to treat equal-mass, inspiralling black-hole binaries. We first introduce a radiation-reaction potential into this method, and we show that it leads to a self-consistent set of equations that describe the simultaneous evolution of the waveform and of the timelike matching surface. This allows us to produce a full inspiral-merger-ringdown waveform of the l=2, m=2,-2 modes of the gravitational waveform of an equal-mass black-hole-binary inspiral. These modes match those of numerical-relativity simulations well in phase, though less well in amplitude for the inspiral. As a second application of this method, we study a merger of black holes with spins antialigned in the orbital plane (the "superkick" configuration). During the ringdown of the superkick, the phases of the mass- and current-quadrupole radiation become locked together, because they evolve at the same quasinormal mode frequencies. We argue that this locking begins during merger, and we show that if the spins of the black holes evolve via geodetic precession in the perturbed black-hole spacetime of our model, then the spins precess at the orbital frequency during merger. In turn, this gives rise to the correct behavior of the radiation, and produces a kick similar to that observed in numerical simulations.
- Aug 30 2011 gr-qc arXiv:1108.5486v2When one splits spacetime into space plus time, the Weyl curvature tensor (vacuum Riemann tensor) gets split into two spatial, symmetric, and trace-free (STF) tensors: (i) the Weyl tensor's so-called "electric" part or tidal field, and (ii) the Weyl tensor's so-called "magnetic" part or frame-drag field. Being STF, the tidal field and frame-drag field each have three orthogonal eigenvector fields which can be depicted by their integral curves. We call the integral curves of the tidal field's eigenvectors tendex lines, we call each tendex line's eigenvalue its tendicity, and we give the name tendex to a collection of tendex lines with large tendicity. The analogous quantities for the frame-drag field are vortex lines, their vorticities, and vortexes. We build up physical intuition into these concepts by applying them to a variety of weak-gravity phenomena: a spinning, gravitating point particle, two such particles side by side, a plane gravitational wave, a point particle with a dynamical current-quadrupole moment or dynamical mass-quadrupole moment, and a slow-motion binary system made of nonspinning point particles. [Abstract is abbreviated; full abstract also mentions additional results.]
- Jul 16 2011 gr-qc arXiv:1107.2959v2A new method to visualize the curvature of spacetime was recently proposed. This method finds the eigenvectors of the "electric" and "magnetic" components of the Weyl tensor and, in analogy to the field lines of electromagnetism, uses the eigenvectors' integral curves to illustrate the spacetime curvature. Here we use this approach, along with well-known topological properties of fields on closed surfaces, to show that an arbitrary, radiating, asymptotically flat spacetime must have points near null infinity where the gravitational radiation vanishes. At the zeros of the gravitational radiation, the field of integral curves develops singular features analogous to the critical points of a vector field. We can, therefore, apply the topological classification of singular points of unoriented lines as a method to describe the radiation field. We provide examples of the structure of these points using linearized gravity and discuss an application to the extreme-kick black-hole-binary merger.
- When one splits spacetime into space plus time, the spacetime curvature (Weyl tensor) gets split into an "electric" part E_jk that describes tidal gravity and a "magnetic" part B_jk that describes differential dragging of inertial frames. We introduce tools for visualizing B_jk (frame-drag vortex lines, their vorticity, and vortexes) and E_jk (tidal tendex lines, their tendicity, and tendexes), and also visualizations of a black-hole horizon's (scalar) vorticity and tendicity. We use these tools to elucidate the nonlinear dynamics of curved spacetime in merging black-hole binaries.
- Jul 14 2010 gr-qc arXiv:1007.2024v3Black-hole-binary coalescence is often divided into three stages: inspiral, merger and ringdown. The post-Newtonian (PN) approximation treats the inspiral phase, black-hole perturbation (BHP) theory describes the ringdown, and the nonlinear dynamics of spacetime characterize the merger. In this paper, we introduce a hybrid method that incorporates elements of PN and BHP theories, and we apply it to the head-on collision of black holes with transverse, anti-parallel spins. We compare our approximation technique with a full numerical-relativity simulation, and we find good agreement between the gravitational waveforms and the radiated energy and momentum. Our results suggest that PN and BHP theories may suffice to explain the main features of outgoing gravitational radiation for head-on mergers. This would further imply that linear perturbations to exact black-hole solutions can capture the nonlinear aspects of head-on binary-black-hole mergers accessible to observers far from the collision.
- Jul 07 2009 gr-qc arXiv:0907.0869v1Research on extracting science from binary-black-hole (BBH) simulations has often adopted a "scattering matrix" perspective: given the binary's initial parameters, what are the final hole's parameters and the emitted gravitational waveform? In contrast, we are using BBH simulations to explore the nonlinear dynamics of curved spacetime. Focusing on the head-on plunge, merger, and ringdown of a BBH with transverse, antiparallel spins, we explore numerically the momentum flow between the holes and the surrounding spacetime. We use the Landau-Lifshitz field-theory-in-flat-spacetime formulation of general relativity to define and compute the density of field energy and field momentum outside horizons and the energy and momentum contained within horizons, and we define the effective velocity of each apparent and event horizon as the ratio of its enclosed momentum to its enclosed mass-energy. We find surprisingly good agreement between the horizons' effective and coordinate velocities. To investigate the gauge dependence of our results, we compare pseudospectral and moving-puncture evolutions of physically similar initial data; although spectral and puncture simulations use different gauge conditions, we find remarkably good agreement for our results in these two cases. We also compare our simulations with the post-Newtonian trajectories and near-field energy-momentum. [Abstract abbreviated; full abstract also mentions additional results.]
- Feb 25 2009 gr-qc arXiv:0902.4077v1A brief overview is presented of a new Caltech/Cornell research program that is exploring the nonlinear dynamics of curved spacetime in binary black hole collisions and mergers, and of an initial project in this program aimed at elucidating the flow of linear momentum in black-hole binaries (BBHs). The "gauge-dependence" (arbitrariness) in the localization of linear momentum in BBHs is discussed, along with the hope that the qualitative behavior of linear momentum will be gauge-independent. Harmonic coordinates are suggested as a possibly preferred foundation for fixing the gauge associated with linear momentum. For a BBH or other compact binary, the Landau-Lifshitz formalism is used to define the momenta of the binary's individual bodies in terms of integrals over the bodies' surfaces or interiors, and define the momentum of the gravitational field (spacetime curvature) outside the bodies as a volume integral over the field's momentum density. These definitions will be used in subsequent papers that explore the internal nonlinear dynamics of BBHs via numerical relativity. This formalism is then used, in the 1.5PN approximation, to explore momentum flow between a binary's bodies and its gravitational field during the binary's orbital inspiral. Special attention is paid to momentum flow and conservation associated with synchronous spin-induced bobbing of the black holes, in the so-called "extreme-kick configuration" (where two identical black holes have their spins lying in their orbital plane and antialigned).
- Aug 20 2008 gr-qc arXiv:0808.2510v4The equations of the linearized first post-Newtonian approximation to general relativity are often written in "gravitoelectromagnetic" Maxwell-like form, since that facilitates physical intuition. Damour, Soffel and Xu (DSX) (as a side issue in their complex but elegant papers on relativistic celestial mechanics) have expressed the first post-Newtonian approximation, including all nonlinearities, in Maxwell-like form. This paper summarizes that DSX Maxwell-like formalism (which is not easily extracted from their celestial mechanics papers), and then extends it to include the post-Newtonian (Landau-Lifshitz-based) gravitational momentum density, momentum flux (i.e. gravitational stress tensor) and law of momentum conservation in Maxwell-like form. The authors and their colleagues have found these Maxwell-like momentum tools useful for developing physical intuition into numerical-relativity simulations of compact binaries with spin.