results for au:Pfeiffer_H 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 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:1712.01168v1Cosmic 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 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.
- We present $\texttt{ENIGMA}$, a time domain, inspiral-merger-ringdown waveform model that describes non-spinning binary black holes systems that evolve on moderately eccentric orbits. The inspiral evolution is described using a consistent combination of post-Newtonian theory, self-force and black hole perturbation theory. Assuming eccentric binaries that circularize prior to coalescence, we smoothly match the eccentric inspiral with a stand-alone, quasi-circular merger, which is constructed using machine learning algorithms that are trained with quasi-circular numerical relativity waveforms. We show that $\texttt{ENIGMA}$ reproduces with excellent accuracy the dynamics of quasi-circular compact binaries. We validate $\texttt{ENIGMA}$ using a set of $\texttt{Einstein Toolkit}$ eccentric numerical relativity waveforms, which describe eccentric binary black hole mergers with mass-ratios between $1 \leq q \leq 5.5$, and eccentricities $e_0 \lesssim 0.2$ ten orbits before merger. We use this model to explore in detail the physics that can be extracted with moderately eccentric, non-spinning binary black hole mergers. We use $\texttt{ENIGMA}$ to show that GW150914, GW151226, GW170104, GW170814 and GW170608 can be effectively recovered with spinning, quasi-circular templates if the eccentricity of these events at a gravitational wave frequency of 10Hz satisfies $e_0\leq \{0.175,\, 0.125,\,0.175,\,0.175,\, 0.125\}$, respectively. We show that if these systems have eccentricities $e_0\sim 0.1$ at a gravitational wave frequency of 10Hz, they can be misclassified as quasi-circular binaries due to parameter space degeneracies between eccentricity and spin corrections. Using our catalog of eccentric numerical relativity simulations, we discuss the importance of including higher-order waveform multipoles in gravitational wave searches of eccentric binary black hole mergers.
- 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.
- Sep 08 2017 gr-qc arXiv:1709.02007v1We present a prescription for computing gravitational waveforms for the inspiral, merger and ringdown of non-spinning eccentric binary black hole systems. The inspiral waveform is computed using the post-Newtonian expansion and the merger waveform is computed by interpolating a small number of quasi-circular NR waveforms. The use of circular merger waveforms is possible because eccentric binaries circularize in the last few cycles before the merger, which we demonstrate up to mass ratio $q = m_1/m_2 = 3$. The complete model is calibrated to 23 numerical relativity (NR) simulations starting ~20 cycles before the merger with eccentricities $e_\text{ref} \le 0.08$ and mass ratios $q \le 3$, where $e_\text{ref}$ is the eccentricity ~7 cycles before the merger. The NR waveforms are long enough that they start above 30 Hz (10 Hz) for BBH systems with total mass $M \ge 80 M_\odot$ ($230 M_\odot$). We find that, for the sensitivity of advanced LIGO at the time of its first observing run, the eccentric model has a faithfulness with NR of over 97% for systems with total mass $M \ge 85 M_\odot$ across the parameter space ($e_\text{ref} \le 0.08, q \le 3$). For systems with total mass $M \ge 70 M_\odot$, the faithfulness is over 97% for $e_\text{ref} \lesssim 0.05$ and $q \le 3$. The NR waveforms and the Mathematica code for the model are publicly available.
- 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.
- 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.
- A Numerical Relativity Waveform Surrogate Model for Generically Precessing Binary Black Hole MergersMay 22 2017 gr-qc arXiv:1705.07089v2A generic, non-eccentric binary black hole (BBH) system emits gravitational waves (GWs) that are completely described by 7 intrinsic parameters: the black hole spin vectors and the ratio of their masses. Simulating a BBH coalescence by solving Einstein's equations numerically is computationally expensive, requiring days to months of computing resources for a single set of parameter values. Since theoretical predictions of the GWs are often needed for many different source parameters, a fast and accurate model is essential. We present the first surrogate model for GWs from the coalescence of BBHs including all $7$ dimensions of the intrinsic non-eccentric parameter space. The surrogate model, which we call NRSur7dq2, is built from the results of $744$ numerical relativity simulations. NRSur7dq2 covers spin magnitudes up to $0.8$ and mass ratios up to $2$, includes all $\ell \leq 4$ modes, begins about $20$ orbits before merger, and can be evaluated in $\sim~50\,\mathrm{ms}$. We find the largest NRSur7dq2 errors to be comparable to the largest errors in the numerical relativity simulations, and more than an order of magnitude smaller than the errors of other waveform models. Our model, and more broadly the methods developed here, will enable studies that would otherwise require millions of numerical relativity waveforms, such as parameter inference and tests of general relativity with GW observations.
- 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.
- Mar 06 2017 gr-qc arXiv:1703.01076v1This document describes the new Numerical Relativity (NR) injection infrastructure in the LIGO Algorithms Library (LAL), which henceforth allows for the usage of NR waveforms as a discrete waveform approximant in LAL. With this new interface, NR waveforms provided in the described format can directly be used as simulated GW signals ("injections") for data analyses, which include parameter estimation, searches, hardware injections etc. As opposed to the previous infrastructure, this new interface natively handles sub-dominant modes and waveforms from numerical simulations of precessing binary black holes, making them directly accessible to LIGO analyses. To correctly handle precessing simulations, the new NR injection infrastructure internally transforms the NR data into the coordinate frame convention used in LAL.
- 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 14 2016 gr-qc arXiv:1611.03703v3We improve the accuracy of the effective-one-body (EOB) waveforms that were employed during the first observing run of Advanced LIGO for binaries of spinning, nonprecessing black holes by calibrating them to a set of 141 numerical-relativity (NR) waveforms. The NR simulations expand the domain of calibration towards larger mass ratios and spins, as compared to the previous EOBNR model. Merger-ringdown waveforms computed in black-hole perturbation theory for Kerr spins close to extremal provide additional inputs to the calibration. For the inspiral-plunge phase, we use a Markov-chain Monte Carlo algorithm to efficiently explore the calibration space. For the merger-ringdown phase, we fit the NR signals with phenomenological formulae. After extrapolation of the calibrated model to arbitrary mass ratios and spins, the (dominant-mode) EOBNR waveforms have faithfulness --- at design Advanced-LIGO sensitivity --- above $99\%$ against all the NR waveforms, including 16 additional waveforms used for validation, when maximizing only on initial phase and time. This implies a negligible loss in event rate due to modeling for these binary configurations. We find that future NR simulations at mass ratios $\gtrsim 4$ and double spin $\gtrsim 0.8$ will be crucial to resolve discrepancies between different ways of extrapolating waveform models. We also find that some of the NR simulations that already exist in such region of parameter space are too short to constrain the low-frequency portion of the models. Finally, we build a reduced-order version of the EOBNR model to speed up waveform generation by orders of magnitude, thus enabling intensive data-analysis applications during the upcoming observation runs of Advanced LIGO.
- Nov 11 2016 gr-qc arXiv:1611.03418v2Binary black holes which are both eccentric and undergo precession remain unexplored in numerical simulations. We present simulations of such systems which cover about 50 orbits at comparatively high mass ratios 5 and 7. The configurations correspond to the generic motion of a nonspinning body in a Kerr spacetime, and are chosen to study the transition from finite mass-ratio inspirals to point particle motion in Kerr. We develop techniques to extract analogs of the three fundamental frequencies of Kerr geodesics, compare our frequencies to those of Kerr, and show that the differences are consistent with self-force corrections entering at first order in mass ratio. This analysis also locates orbital resonances where the ratios of our frequencies take rational values. At the considered mass ratios, the binaries pass through resonances in one to two resonant cycles, and we find no discernible effects on the orbital evolution. We also compute the decay of eccentricity during the inspiral and find good agreement with the leading order post-Newtonian prediction.
- 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 07 2016 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1611.01159v1Neutron star-black hole binaries are among the strongest sources of gravitational waves detectable by current observatories. They can also power bright electromagnetic signals (gamma-ray bursts, kilonovae), and may be a significant source of production of r-process nuclei. A misalignment of the black hole spin with respect to the orbital angular momentum leads to precession of that spin and of the orbital plane, and has a significant effect on the properties of the post-merger remnant and of the material ejected by the merger. We present a first set of simulations of precessing neutron star-black hole mergers using a hot, composition dependent, nuclear-theory based equation of state (DD2). We show that the mass of the remnant and of the dynamical ejecta are broadly consistent with the result of simulations using simpler equations of state, while differences arise when considering the dynamics of the merger and the velocity of the ejecta. We show that the latter can easily be understood from assumptions about the composition of low-density, cold material in the different equations of state, and propose an updated estimate for the ejecta velocity which takes those effects into account. We also present an updated mesh-refinement algorithm which allows us to improve the numerical resolution used to evolve neutron star-black hole mergers.
- Oct 20 2016 gr-qc arXiv:1610.06155v2The discovery of gravitational waves (GW) by Advanced LIGO has ushered us into an era of observational GW astrophysics. Compact binaries remain the primary target sources for LIGO, of which neutron star-black hole (NSBH) binaries form an important subset. GWs from NSBH sources carry signatures of (a) the tidal distortion of the neutron star by its companion black hole during inspiral, and (b) its potential tidal disruption near merger. In this paper, we present a Bayesian study of the measurability of neutron star tidal deformability $\Lambda_\mathrm{NS}\propto (R/M)^{5}$ using observation(s) of inspiral-merger GW signals from disruptive NSBH coalescences, taking into account the crucial effect of black hole spins. First, we find that if non-tidal templates are used to estimate source parameters for an NSBH signal, the bias introduced in the estimation of non-tidal physical parameters will only be significant for loud signals with signal-to-noise ratios $> 30$. For similarly loud signals, we also find that we can begin to put interesting constraints on $\Lambda_\mathrm{NS}$ (factor of 1-2) with individual observations. Next, we study how a population of realistic NSBH detections will improve our measurement of neutron star tidal deformability. For astrophysical populations of $disruptive$ NSBH mergers, we find 20-35 events to be sufficient to constrain $\Lambda_\mathrm{NS}$ within $\pm 25-50\%$, depending on the chosen equation of state. In this we also assume that LIGO will detect black holes with masses within the astrophysical $mass$-$gap$. If the mass-gap remains preserved in NSBHs detected by LIGO, we estimate that $25\%$ $additional$ detections will furnish comparable tidal measurement accuracy. In both cases, we find that the loudest 5-10 events to provide most of the tidal information, thereby facilitating targeted follow-ups of NSBHs in the upcoming LIGO-Virgo runs.
- We present a time domain waveform model that describes the inspiral-merger-ringdown (IMR) of compact binary systems whose components are non-spinning, and which evolve on orbits with low to moderate eccentricity. The inspiral evolution is described using third order post-Newtonian equations both for the equations of motion of the binary, and its far-zone radiation field. This latter component also includes instantaneous, tails and tails-of-tails contributions, and a contribution due to non-linear memory. This framework reduces to the post-Newtonian approximant TaylorT4 at third post-Newtonian order in the zero eccentricity limit. To improve phase accuracy, we incorporate higher-order post-Newtonian corrections for the energy flux of quasi-circular binaries and gravitational self-force corrections to the binding energy of compact binaries. This enhanced inspiral evolution prescription is combined with an analytical prescription for the merger-ringdown evolution using a catalog of numerical relativity simulations. This IMR waveform model reproduces effective-one-body waveforms for systems with mass-ratios between 1 to 15 in the zero eccentricity limit. Using a set of eccentric numerical relativity simulations, not used during calibration, we show that our eccentric model accurately reproduces the features of eccentric compact binary coalescence throughout the merger. Using this model we show that the gravitational wave transients GW150914 and GW151226 can be effectively recovered with template banks of quasi-circular, spin-aligned waveforms if the eccentricity $e_0$ of these systems when they enter the aLIGO band at a gravitational wave frequency of 14 Hz satisfies $e_0^{\rm GW150914}\leq0.15$ and $e_0^{\rm GW151226}\leq0.1$.
- Jul 28 2016 gr-qc arXiv:1607.07962v1The coalescence of a neutron star with a black hole is a primary science target of ground-based gravitational wave detectors. Constraining or measuring the neutron star spin directly from gravitational wave observations requires knowledge of the dependence of the emission properties of these systems on the neutron star spin. This paper lays foundations for this task, by developing a numerical method to construct initial data for black hole--neutron star binaries with arbitrary spin on the neutron star. We demonstrate the robustness of the code by constructing initial-data sets in large regions of the parameter space. In addition to varying the neutron star spin-magnitude and spin-direction, we also explore neutron star compactness, mass-ratio, black hole spin, and black hole spin-direction. Specifically, we are able to construct initial data sets with neutron stars spinning near centrifugal break-up, and with black hole spins as large as $S_{\rm BH}/M_{\rm BH}^2=0.99$.
- Jul 27 2016 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1607.07450v2Binary neutron star mergers are promising sources of gravitational waves for ground-based detectors such as Advanced LIGO. Neutron-rich material ejected by these mergers may also be the main source of r-process elements in the Universe, while radioactive decays in the ejecta can power bright electromagnetic post-merger signals. Neutrino-matter interactions play a critical role in the evolution of the composition of the ejected material, which significantly impacts the outcome of nucleosynthesis and the properties of the associated electromagnetic signal. In this work, we present a simulation of a binary neutron star merger using an improved method for estimating the average neutrino energies in our energy-integrated neutrino transport scheme. These energy estimates are obtained by evolving the neutrino number density in addition to the neutrino energy and flux densities. We show that significant changes are observed in the composition of the polar ejecta when comparing our new results with earlier simulations in which the neutrino spectrum was assumed to be the same everywhere in optically thin regions. In particular, we find that material ejected in the polar regions is less neutron rich than previously estimated. Our new estimates of the composition of the polar ejecta make it more likely that the color and timescale of the electromagnetic signal depend on the orientation of the binary with respect to an observer's line-of-sight. These results also indicate that important observable properties of neutron star mergers are sensitive to the neutrino energy spectrum, and may need to be studied through simulations including a more accurate, energy-dependent neutrino transport scheme.
- 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 28 2016 gr-qc arXiv:1606.08056v2The redshift factor $z$ is an invariant quantity of fundamental interest in post-Newtonian and self-force descriptions of compact binaries. It connects different approximation schemes, and plays a central role in the first law of binary black hole mechanics, which links local quantities to asymptotic measures of energy and angular momentum in these systems. Through this law, the redshift factor is conjectured to have a close relation to the surface gravity of the event horizons of black holes in circular orbits. We propose and implement a novel method for extracting the redshift factor on apparent horizons in numerical simulations of quasicircular binary inspirals. Our results confirm the conjectured relationship between $z$ and the surface gravity of the holes and that the first law holds to a remarkable degree for binary inspirals. The redshift factor enables tests of analytic predictions for $z$ in spacetimes where the binary is only approximately circular, giving a new connection between analytic approximations and numerical simulations.
- 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.
- Apr 05 2016 gr-qc arXiv:1604.00782v2We present results on the inspiral, merger, and post-merger evolution of a neutron star - neutron star (NSNS) system. Our results are obtained using the hybrid pseudospectral-finite volume Spectral Einstein Code (SpEC). To test our numerical methods, we evolve an equal-mass system for $\approx 22$ orbits before merger. This waveform is the longest waveform obtained from fully general-relativistic simulations for NSNSs to date. Such long (and accurate) numerical waveforms are required to further improve semi-analytical models used in gravitational wave data analysis, for example the effective one body models. We discuss in detail the improvements to SpEC's ability to simulate NSNS mergers, in particular mesh refined grids to better resolve the merger and post-merger phases. We provide a set of consistency checks and compare our results to NSNS merger simulations with the independent BAM code. We find agreement between them, which increases confidence in results obtained with either code. This work paves the way for future studies using long waveforms and more complex microphysical descriptions of neutron star matter in SpEC.
- 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.
- Extracting the unique information on ultradense nuclear matter from the gravitational waves emitted by merging, neutron-star binaries requires robust theoretical models of the signal. We develop a novel effective-one-body waveform model that includes, for the first time, dynamic (instead of only adiabatic) tides of the neutron star, as well as the merger signal for neutron-star--black-hole binaries. We demonstrate the importance of the dynamic tides by comparing our model against new numerical-relativity simulations of nonspinning neutron-star--black-hole binaries spanning more than 24 gravitational-wave cycles, and to other existing numerical simulations for double neutron-star systems. Furthermore, we derive an effective description that makes explicit the dependence of matter effects on two key parameters: tidal deformability and fundamental oscillation frequency.
- Jan 21 2016 gr-qc arXiv:1601.05396v2Coalescing binary black holes are among the primary science targets for second generation ground-based gravitational wave (GW) detectors. Reliable GW models are central to detection of such systems and subsequent parameter estimation. This paper performs a comprehensive analysis of the accuracy of recent waveform models for binary black holes with aligned spins, utilizing a new set of $84$ high-accuracy numerical relativity simulations. Our analysis covers comparable mass binaries ($1\le m_1/m_2\le 3$), and samples independently both black hole spins up to dimensionless spin-magnitude of $0.9$ for equal-mass binaries and $0.85$ for unequal mass binaries. Furthermore, we focus on the high-mass regime (total mass $\gtrsim 50M_\odot$). The two most recent waveform models considered (PhenomD and SEOBNRv2) both perform very well for signal detection, losing less than 0.5\% of the recoverable signal-to-noise ratio $\rho$, except that SEOBNRv2's efficiency drops mildly for both black hole spins aligned with large magnitude. For parameter estimation, modeling inaccuracies of SEOBNRv2 are found to be smaller than systematic uncertainties for moderately strong GW events up to roughly $\rho\lesssim 15$. PhenomD's modeling errors are found to be smaller than SEOBNRv2's, and are generally irrelevant for $\rho\lesssim 20$. Both models' accuracy deteriorates with increased mass-ratio, and when at least one black hole spin is large and aligned. The SEOBNRv2 model shows a pronounced disagreement with the numerical relativity simulation in the merger phase, for unequal masses and simultaneously both black hole spins very large and aligned. Two older waveform models (PhenomC and SEOBNRv1) are found to be distinctly less accurate than the more recent PhenomD and SEOBNRv2 models. Finally, we quantify the bias expected from all GW models during parameter estimation for recovery of binary's masses and spins.
- Dec 22 2015 gr-qc arXiv:1512.06800v2We present a new set of 95 numerical relativity simulations of non-precessing binary black holes (BBHs). The simulations sample comprehensively both black-hole spins up to spin magnitude of 0.9, and cover mass ratios 1 to 3. The simulations cover on average 24 inspiral orbits, plus merger and ringdown, with low initial orbital eccentricities $e<10^{-4}$. A subset of the simulations extends the coverage of non-spinning BBHs up to mass ratio $q=10$. Gravitational waveforms at asymptotic infinity are computed with two independent techniques, extrapolation, and Cauchy characteristic extraction. An error analysis based on noise-weighted inner products is performed. We find that numerical truncation error, error due to gravitational wave extraction, and errors due to the finite length of the numerical waveforms are of similar magnitude, with gravitational wave extraction errors somewhat dominating at noise-weighted mismatches of $\sim 3\times 10^{-4}$. This set of waveforms will serve to validate and improve aligned-spin waveform models for gravitational wave science.
- Oct 23 2015 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1510.06398v2Neutron star mergers are among the most promising sources of gravitational waves for advanced ground-based detectors. These mergers are also expected to power bright electromagnetic signals, in the form of short gamma-ray bursts, infrared/optical transients, and radio emission. Simulations of these mergers with fully general relativistic codes are critical to understand the merger and post-merger gravitational wave signals and their neutrinos and electromagnetic counterparts. In this paper, we employ the SpEC code to simulate the merger of low-mass neutron star binaries (two $1.2M_\odot$ neutron stars) for a set of three nuclear-theory based, finite temperature equations of state. We show that the frequency peaks of the post-merger gravitational wave signal are in good agreement with predictions obtained from simulations using a simpler treatment of gravity. We find, however, that only the fundamental mode of the remnant is excited for long periods of time: emission at the secondary peaks is damped on a millisecond timescale in the simulated binaries. For such low-mass systems, the remnant is a massive neutron star which, depending on the equation of state, is either permanently stable or long-lived. We observe strong excitations of l=2, m=2 modes, both in the massive neutron star and in the form of hot, shocked tidal arms in the surrounding accretion torus. We estimate the neutrino emission of the remnant using a neutrino leakage scheme and, in one case, compare these results with a gray two-moment neutrino transport scheme. We confirm the complex geometry of the neutrino emission, also observed in previous simulations with neutrino leakage, and show explicitly the presence of important differences in the neutrino luminosity, disk composition, and outflow properties between the neutrino leakage and transport schemes.
- Aug 28 2015 gr-qc arXiv:1508.06986v1We present a code to construct initial data for binary neutron star systems in which the stars are rotating. Our code, based on a formalism developed by Tichy, allows for arbitrary rotation axes of the neutron stars and is able to achieve rotation rates near rotational breakup. We compute the neutron star angular momentum through quasi-local angular momentum integrals. When constructing irrotational binary neutron stars, we find a very small residual dimensionless spin of $\sim 2\times 10^{-4}$. Evolutions of rotating neutron star binaries show that the magnitude of the stars' angular momentum is conserved, and that the spin- and orbit-precession of the stars is well described by post-Newtonian approximation. We demonstrate that orbital eccentricity of the binary neutron stars can be controlled to $\sim 0.1\%$. The neutron stars show quasi-normal mode oscillations at an amplitude which increases with the rotation rate of the stars.
- Aug 11 2015 gr-qc astro-ph.IM arXiv:1508.02357v3We describe the PyCBC search for gravitational waves from compact-object binary coalescences in advanced gravitational-wave detector data. The search was used in the first Advanced LIGO observing run and unambiguously identified two black hole binary mergers, GW150914 and GW151226. At its core, the PyCBC search performs a matched-filter search for binary merger signals using a bank of gravitational-wave template waveforms. We provide a complete description of the search pipeline including the steps used to mitigate the effects of noise transients in the data, identify candidate events and measure their statistical significance. The analysis is able to measure false-alarm rates as low as one per million years, required for confident detection of signals. Using data from initial LIGO's sixth science run, we show that the new analysis reduces the background noise in the search, giving a 30% increase in sensitive volume for binary neutron star systems over previous searches.
- Jun 05 2015 gr-qc arXiv:1506.01689v1Construction of binary black hole initial data is a prerequisite for numerical evolutions of binary black holes. This paper reports improvements to the binary black hole initial data solver in the Spectral Einstein Code, to allow robust construction of initial data for mass-ratio above 10:1, and for dimensionless black hole spins above 0.9, while improving efficiency for lower mass-ratios and spins. We implement a more flexible domain decomposition, adaptive mesh refinement and an updated method for choosing free parameters. We also introduce a new method to control and eliminate residual linear momentum in initial data for precessing systems, and demonstrate that it eliminates gravitational mode mixing during the evolution. Finally, the new code is applied to construct initial data for hyperbolic scattering and for binaries with very small separation.
- Feb 18 2015 gr-qc arXiv:1502.04953v1We present the first numerical-relativity simulation of a compact-object binary whose gravitational waveform is long enough to cover the entire frequency band of advanced gravitational-wave detectors, such as LIGO, Virgo and KAGRA, for mass ratio 7 and total mass as low as $45.5\,M_\odot$. We find that effective-one-body models, either uncalibrated or calibrated against substantially shorter numerical-relativity waveforms at smaller mass ratios, reproduce our new waveform remarkably well, with a negligible loss in detection rate due to modeling error. In contrast, post-Newtonian inspiral waveforms and existing calibrated phenomenological inspiral-merger-ringdown waveforms display greater disagreement with our new simulation. The disagreement varies substantially depending on the specific post-Newtonian approximant used.
- Feb 17 2015 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1502.04146v1We present a first simulation of the post-merger evolution of a black hole-neutron star binary in full general relativity using an energy-integrated general relativistic truncated moment formalism for neutrino transport. We describe our implementation of the moment formalism and important tests of our code, before studying the formation phase of a disk after a black hole-neutron star merger. We use as initial data an existing general relativistic simulation of the merger of a neutron star of 1.4 solar mass with a black hole of 7 solar mass and dimensionless spin a/M=0.8. Comparing with a simpler leakage scheme for the treatment of the neutrinos, we find noticeable differences in the neutron to proton ratio in and around the disk, and in the neutrino luminosity. We find that the electron neutrino luminosity is much lower in the transport simulations, and that the remnant is less neutron-rich. The spatial distribution of the neutrinos is significantly affected by relativistic effects. Over the short timescale evolved, we do not observe purely neutrino-driven outflows. However, a small amount of material (3e-4Msun) is ejected in the polar region during the circularization of the disk. Most of that material is ejected early in the formation of the disk, and is fairly neutron rich. Through r-process nucleosynthesis, that material should produce high-opacity lanthanides in the polar region, and could thus affect the lightcurve of radioactively powered electromagnetic transients. We also show that by the end of the simulation, while the bulk of the disk is neutron-rich, its outer layers have a higher electron fraction. As that material would be the first to be unbound by disk outflows on longer timescales, the changes in Ye experienced during the formation of the disk could have an impact on the nucleosynthesis outputs from neutrino-driven and viscously-driven outflows. [Abridged]
- Feb 09 2015 gr-qc arXiv:1502.01747v1Binary black-hole systems are expected to be important sources of gravitational waves for upcoming gravitational-wave detectors. If the spins are not colinear with each other or with the orbital angular momentum, these systems exhibit complicated precession dynamics that are imprinted on the gravitational waveform. We develop a new procedure to match the precession dynamics computed by post-Newtonian (PN) theory to those of numerical binary black-hole simulations in full general relativity. For numerical relativity NR) simulations lasting approximately two precession cycles, we find that the PN and NR predictions for the directions of the orbital angular momentum and the spins agree to better than $\sim 1^{\circ}$ with NR during the inspiral, increasing to $5^{\circ}$ near merger. Nutation of the orbital plane on the orbital time-scale agrees well between NR and PN, whereas nutation of the spin direction shows qualitatively different behavior in PN and NR. We also examine how the PN equations for precession and orbital-phase evolution converge with PN order, and we quantify the impact of various choices for handling partially known PN terms.
- Jan 23 2015 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1501.05394v2Recently, a family of exact force-free electrodynamic (FFE) solutions was given by Brennan, Gralla and Jacobson, which generalizes earlier solutions by Michel, Menon and Dermer, and other authors. These solutions have been proposed as useful models for describing the outer magnetosphere of conducting stars. As with any exact analytical solution that aspires to describe actual physical systems, it is vitally important that the solution possess the necessary stability. In this paper, we show via fully nonlinear numerical simulations that the aforementioned FFE solutions, despite being highly special in their properties, are nonetheless stable under small perturbations. Through this study, we also introduce a three-dimensional pseudospectral relativistic FFE code that achieves exponential convergence for smooth test cases, as well as two additional well-posed FFE evolution systems in the appendix that have desirable mathematical properties. Furthermore, we provide an explicit analysis that demonstrates how propagation along degenerate principal null directions of the spacetime curvature tensor simplifies scattering, thereby providing an intuitive understanding of why these exact solutions are tractable, i.e. why they are not backscattered by spacetime curvature.
- Nov 27 2014 gr-qc arXiv:1411.7297v2The spin angular momentum $S$ of an isolated Kerr black hole is bounded by the surface area $A$ of its apparent horizon: $8\pi S \le A$, with equality for extremal black holes. In this paper, we explore the extremality of individual and common apparent horizons for merging, rapidly spinning binary black holes. We consider simulations of merging black holes with equal masses $M$ and initial spin angular momenta aligned with the orbital angular momentum, including new simulations with spin magnitudes up to $S/M^2 = 0.994$. We measure the area and (using approximate Killing vectors) the spin on the individual and common apparent horizons, finding that the inequality $8\pi S < A$ is satisfied in all cases but is very close to equality on the common apparent horizon at the instant it first appears. We also introduce a gauge-invariant lower bound on the extremality by computing the smallest value that Booth and Fairhurst's extremality parameter can take for any scaling. Using this lower bound, we conclude that the common horizons are at least moderately close to extremal just after they appear. Finally, following Lovelace et al. (2008), we construct quasiequilibrium binary-black-hole initial data with "overspun" marginally trapped surfaces with $8\pi S > A$ and for which our lower bound on their Booth-Fairhurst extremality exceeds unity. These superextremal surfaces are always surrounded by marginally outer trapped surfaces (i.e., by apparent horizons) with $8\pi S<A$. The extremality lower bound on the enclosing apparent horizon is always less than unity but can exceed the value for an extremal Kerr black hole. (Abstract abbreviated.)
- We report results from simulations in general relativity of magnetized disks accreting onto merging black hole binaries, starting from relaxed disk initial data. The simulations feature an effective, rapid radiative cooling scheme as a limiting case of future treatments with radiative transfer. Here we evolve the systems after binary-disk decoupling through inspiral and merger, and analyze the dependence on the binary mass ratio with $q\equiv m_{\rm bh}/M_{\rm BH}=1,1/2,$ and $1/4$. We find that the luminosity associated with local cooling is larger than the luminosity associated with matter kinetic outflows, while the electromagnetic (Poynting) luminosity associated with bulk transport of magnetic field energy is the smallest. The cooling luminosity around merger is only marginally smaller than that of a single, non-spinning black hole. Incipient jets are launched independently of the mass ratio, while the same initial disk accreting on a single non-spinning black hole does not lead to a jet, as expected. For all mass ratios we see a transient behavior in the collimated, magnetized outflows lasting $2-5 ( M/10^8M_\odot ) \rm days$ after merger: the outflows become increasingly magnetically dominated and accelerated to higher velocities, boosting the Poynting luminosity. These sudden changes can alter the electromagnetic emission across the jet and potentially help distinguish mergers of black holes in AGNs from single accreting black holes based on jet morphology alone.
- Sep 17 2014 gr-qc arXiv:1409.4431v2Gravitational waves from precessing black-hole binaries exhibit features that are absent in nonprecessing systems. The most prominent of these is a parity-violating asymmetry that beams energy and linear momentum preferentially along or opposite to the orbital angular momentum, leading to recoil of the binary. The asymmetry will appear as amplitude and phase modulations at the orbital frequency. For strongly precessing systems, it accounts for at least 3% amplitude modulation for binaries in the sensitivity band of ground-based gravitational-wave detectors, and can exceed 50% for massive systems. Such asymmetric features are also clearly visible when the waves are decomposed into modes of spin-weighted spherical harmonics, and are inherent in the waves themselves---rather than resulting from residual eccentricity in numerical simulations, or from mode-mixing due to precession. In particular, there is generically no instantaneous frame for which the mode decomposition will have any symmetry. We introduce a method to simplify the expressions for waveforms given in analytical relativity, which can be used to combine existing high-order waveforms for nonprecessing systems with expressions for the precessing contributions, leading to improved accuracy and a unified treatment of precessing and nonprecessing binaries. Using this method, it is possible to clarify the nature and the origins of the asymmetries and show the effects of asymmetry on recoils more clearly. We present post-Newtonian (PN) expressions for the waveform modes that include these terms, complete to the relative 2PN level in spin (proportional to $v^4/c^4$ times a certain combination of the spins). Comparing the results of those expressions to numerical results, we find good qualitative agreement. We also demonstrate how these expressions can be used to efficiently calculate waveforms for gravitational-wave astronomy.
- May 07 2014 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1405.1121v2We present a first exploration of the results of neutron star-black hole mergers using black hole masses in the most likely range of $7M_\odot-10M_\odot$, a neutrino leakage scheme, and a modeling of the neutron star material through a finite-temperature nuclear-theory based equation of state. In the range of black hole spins in which the neutron star is tidally disrupted ($\chi_{\rm BH}\gtrsim 0.7$), we show that the merger consistently produces large amounts of cool ($T\lesssim 1\,{\rm MeV}$), unbound, neutron-rich material ($M_{\rm ej}\sim 0.05M_\odot-0.20M_\odot$). A comparable amount of bound matter is initially divided between a hot disk ($T_{\rm max}\sim 15\,{\rm MeV}$) with typical neutrino luminosity $L_\nu\sim 10^{53}\,{\rm erg/s}$, and a cooler tidal tail. After a short period of rapid protonization of the disk lasting $\sim 10\,{\rm ms}$, the accretion disk cools down under the combined effects of the fall-back of cool material from the tail, continued accretion of the hottest material onto the black hole, and neutrino emission. As the temperature decreases, the disk progressively becomes more neutron-rich, with dimmer neutrino emission. This cooling process should stop once the viscous heating in the disk (not included in our simulations) balances the cooling. These mergers of neutron star-black hole binaries with black hole masses $M_{\rm BH}\sim 7M_\odot-10M_\odot$ and black hole spins high enough for the neutron star to disrupt provide promising candidates for the production of short gamma-ray bursts, of bright infrared post-merger signals due to the radioactive decay of unbound material, and of large amounts of r-process nuclei.
- Jan 07 2014 gr-qc astro-ph.CO arXiv:1401.0939v1The Numerical INJection Analysis (NINJA) project is a collaborative effort between members of the numerical relativity and gravitational-wave astrophysics communities. The purpose of NINJA is to study the ability to detect gravitational waves emitted from merging binary black holes and recover their parameters with next-generation gravitational-wave observatories. We report here on the results of the second NINJA project, NINJA-2, which employs 60 complete binary black hole hybrid waveforms consisting of a numerical portion modelling the late inspiral, merger, and ringdown stitched to a post-Newtonian portion modelling the early inspiral. In a "blind injection challenge" similar to that conducted in recent LIGO and Virgo science runs, we added 7 hybrid waveforms to two months of data recolored to predictions of Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo sensitivity curves during their first observing runs. The resulting data was analyzed by gravitational-wave detection algorithms and 6 of the waveforms were recovered with false alarm rates smaller than 1 in a thousand years. Parameter estimation algorithms were run on each of these waveforms to explore the ability to constrain the masses, component angular momenta and sky position of these waveforms. We also perform a large-scale monte-carlo study to assess the ability to recover each of the 60 hybrid waveforms with early Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo sensitivity curves. Our results predict that early Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo will have a volume-weighted average sensitive distance of 300Mpc (1Gpc) for $10M_{\odot}+10M_{\odot}$ ($50M_{\odot}+50M_{\odot}$) binary black hole coalescences. We demonstrate that neglecting the component angular momenta in the waveform models used in matched-filtering will result in a reduction in sensitivity for systems with large component angular momenta. [Abstract abridged for ArXiv, full version in PDF]
- We report on simulations in general relativity of magnetized disks onto black hole binaries. We vary the binary mass ratio from 1:1 to 1:10 and evolve the systems when they orbit near the binary-disk decoupling radius. We compare (surface) density profiles, accretion rates (relative to a single, non-spinning black hole), variability, effective $\alpha$-stress levels and luminosities as functions of the mass ratio. We treat the disks in two limiting regimes: rapid radiative cooling and no radiative cooling. The magnetic field lines clearly reveal jets emerging from both black hole horizons and merging into one common jet at large distances. The magnetic fields give rise to much stronger shock heating than the pure hydrodynamic flows, completely alter the disk structure, and boost accretion rates and luminosities. Accretion streams near the horizons are among the densest structures; in fact, the 1:10 no-cooling evolution results in a refilling of the cavity. The typical effective temperature in the bulk of the disk is $\sim 10^5 (M/10^8 M_\odot)^{-1/4} (L/L_{\rm edd})^{1/4} {\rm K}$ yielding characteristic thermal frequencies $\sim 10^{15} (M/10^8 M_\odot)^{-1/4} (L/L_{\rm edd})^{1/4}(1+z)^{-1}{\rm Hz} $. These systems are thus promising targets for many extragalactic optical surveys, such as LSST, WFIRST, and PanSTARRS.
- Nov 12 2013 gr-qc arXiv:1311.2544v1Gravitational waves emitted by black-hole binary systems have the highest signal-to-noise ratio in LIGO and Virgo detectors when black-hole spins are aligned with the orbital angular momentum and extremal. For such systems, we extend the effective-one-body inspiral-merger-ringdown waveforms to generic mass ratios and spins calibrating them to 38 numerical-relativity nonprecessing waveforms produced by the SXS Collaboration. The numerical-relativity simulations span mass ratios from 1 to 8, spin magnitudes up to 98% of extremality, and last for 40 to 60 gravitational-wave cycles. When the total mass of the binary is between 20Msun and 200Msun, the effective-one-body nonprecessing (dominant mode) waveforms have overlaps above 99% (using the advanced-LIGO design noise spectral density) with all of the 38 nonprecessing numerical waveforms, when maximizing only on initial phase and time. This implies a negligible loss in event rate due to modeling. Moreover, without further calibration, we show that the precessing effective-one-body (dominant mode) waveforms have overlaps above 97% with two very long, strongly precessing numerical-relativity waveforms, when maximizing only on the initial phase and time.
- Nov 12 2013 gr-qc arXiv:1311.2565v1The detection of gravitational waves and the extraction of physical information from them requires the prediction of accurate waveforms to be used in template banks. For that purpose, the accuracy of effective-one-body (EOB) waveforms has been improved over the last years by calibrating them to numerical-relativity (NR) waveforms. So far, the calibration has employed a handful of NR waveforms with a total length of ~30 cycles, the length being limited by the computational cost of NR simulations. Here we address the outstanding problem of the stability of the EOB calibration with respect to the length of NR waveforms. Performing calibration studies against NR waveforms of nonspinning black-hole binaries with mass ratios 1, 1.5, 5, and 8, and with a total length of ~60 cycles, we find that EOB waveforms calibrated against either 30 or 60 cycles will be indistinguishable by the advanced detectors LIGO and Virgo when the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) is below 110. When extrapolating to a very large number of cycles, using very conservative assumptions, we can conclude that state-of-the-art nonspinning EOB waveforms of any length are sufficiently accurate for parameter estimation with advanced detectors when the SNR is below 20, the mass ratio is below 5 and total mass is above 20 Msun. The results are not conclusive for the entire parameter space because of current NR errors.
- Gravitational waves (GW) from coalescing stellar-mass black hole binaries (BBH) are expected to be detected by the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory and Advanced Virgo. Detection searches operate by matched-filtering the detector data using a bank of waveform templates. Traditionally, template banks for BBH are constructed from intermediary analytical waveform models which are calibrated against numerical relativity simulations and which can be aluated for any choice of BBH parameters. This paper explores an alternative to the traditional approach, namely the construction of template banks directly from numerical BBH simulations. Using non-spinning BBH systems as an example, we demonstrate which regions of the mass-parameter plane can be covered with existing numerical BBH waveforms. We estimate the required number and required length of BBH simulations to cover the entire non-spinning BBH parameter plane up to mass-ratio 10, thus illustrating that our approach can be used to guide parameter placement of future numerical simulations. We derive error bounds which are independent of analytical waveform models; therefore, our formalism can be used to independently test the accuracy of such waveform models. The resulting template banks are suitable for advanced LIGO searches.
- Sep 04 2013 gr-qc arXiv:1309.0544v3We compute the periastron advance using the effective-one-body formalism for binary black holes moving on quasi-circular orbits and having spins collinear with the orbital angular momentum. We compare the predictions with the periastron advance recently computed in accurate numerical-relativity simulations and find remarkable agreement for a wide range of spins and mass ratios. These results do not use any numerical-relativity calibration of the effective-one-body model, and stem from two key ingredients in the effective-one-body Hamiltonian: (i) the mapping of the two-body dynamics of spinning particles onto the dynamics of an effective spinning particle in a (deformed) Kerr spacetime, fully symmetrized with respect to the two-body masses and spins, and (ii) the resummation, in the test-particle limit, of all post-Newtonian (PN) corrections linear in the spin of the particle. In fact, even when only the leading spin PN corrections are included in the effective-one-body spinning Hamiltonian but all the test-particle corrections linear in the spin of the particle are resummed we find very good agreement with the numerical results (within the numerical error for equal-mass binaries and discrepancies of at most 1% for larger mass ratios). Furthermore, we specialize to the extreme mass-ratio limit and derive, using the equations of motion in the gravitational skeleton approach, analytical expressions for the periastron advance, the meridional Lense-Thirring precession and spin precession frequency in the case of a spinning particle on a nearly circular equatorial orbit in Kerr spacetime, including also terms quadratic in the spin.
- Sep 04 2013 gr-qc arXiv:1309.0541v2We study the general relativistic periastron advance in spinning black hole binaries on quasi-circular orbits, with spins aligned or anti-aligned with the orbital angular momentum, using numerical-relativity simulations, the post-Newtonian approximation, and black hole perturbation theory. By imposing a symmetry by exchange of the bodies' labels, we devise an improved version of the perturbative result, and use it as the leading term of a new type of expansion in powers of the symmetric mass ratio. This allows us to measure, for the first time, the gravitational self-force effect on the periastron advance of a non-spinning particle orbiting a Kerr black hole of mass M and spin S = -0.5 M^2, down to separations of order 9M. Comparing the predictions of our improved perturbative expansion with the exact results from numerical simulations of equal-mass and equal-spin binaries, we find a remarkable agreement over a wide range of spins and orbital separations.
- Jul 31 2013 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1307.7782v1We analyze the equations of relativistic magnetized plasma dynamics in the limiting case that electromagnetic stress-energy is dominant over pressure and rest mass energy density. The naive formulation of these equations is shown to be not hyperbolic. Modifying the equations by terms that vanish for all physical solutions, we obtain a symmetric hyperbolic evolution system, which should exhibit improved numerical behavior.
- Jul 30 2013 gr-qc astro-ph.CO arXiv:1307.7685v1We present the first direct comparison of numerical simulations of neutron star-black hole and black hole-black hole mergers in full general relativity. We focus on a configuration with non spinning objects and within the most likely range of mass ratio for neutron star-black hole systems (q=6). In this region of the parameter space, the neutron star is not tidally disrupted prior to merger, and we show that the two types of mergers appear remarkably similar. The effect of the presence of a neutron star on the gravitational wave signal is not only undetectable by the next generation of gravitational wave detectors, but also too small to be measured in the numerical simulations: even the plunge, merger and ringdown signals appear in perfect agreement for both types of binaries. The characteristics of the post-merger remnants are equally similar, with the masses of the final black holes agreeing within dM< 5 10^-4M_BH and their spins within da< 10^-3M_BH. The rate of periastron advance in the mixed binary agrees with previously published binary black hole results, and we use the inspiral waveforms to place constraints on the accuracy of our numerical simulations independent of algorithmic choices made for each type of binary. Overall, our results indicate that non-disrupting neutron star-black hole mergers are exceptionally well modeled by black hole-black hole mergers, and that given the absence of mass ejection, accretion disk formation, or differences in the gravitational wave signals, only electromagnetic precursors could prove the presence of a neutron star in low-spin systems of total mass ~10Msun, at least until the advent of gravitational wave detectors with a sensitivity comparable to that of the proposed Einstein Telescope.
- Jul 24 2013 gr-qc arXiv:1307.6232v1We describe a general procedure to generate spinning, precessing waveforms that include inspiral, merger and ringdown stages in the effective-one-body (EOB) approach. The procedure uses a precessing frame in which precession-induced amplitude and phase modulations are minimized, and an inertial frame, aligned with the spin of the final black hole, in which we carry out the matching of the inspiral-plunge to merger-ringdown waveforms. As a first application, we build spinning, precessing EOB waveforms for the gravitational modes l=2 such that in the nonprecessing limit those waveforms agree with the EOB waveforms recently calibrated to numerical-relativity waveforms. Without recalibrating the EOB model, we then compare EOB and post-Newtonian precessing waveforms to two numerical-relativity waveforms produced by the Caltech-Cornell-CITA collaboration. The numerical waveforms are strongly precessing and have 35 and 65 gravitational-wave cycles. We find a remarkable agreement between EOB and numerical-relativity precessing waveforms and spins' evolutions. The phase difference is ~ 0.2 rad at merger, while the mismatches, computed using the advanced-LIGO noise spectral density, are below 2% when maximizing only on the time and phase at coalescence and on the polarization angle.
- 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.
- Interferometric detectors will very soon give us an unprecedented view of the gravitational-wave sky, and in particular of the explosive and transient Universe. Now is the time to challenge our theoretical understanding of short-duration gravitational-wave signatures from cataclysmic events, their connection to more traditional electromagnetic and particle astrophysics, and the data analysis techniques that will make the observations a reality. This paper summarizes the state of the art, future science opportunities, and current challenges in understanding gravitational-wave transients.
- Apr 23 2013 gr-qc arXiv:1304.6077v3This paper presents a publicly available catalog of 174 numerical binary black-hole simulations following up to 35 orbits. The catalog includes 91 precessing binaries, mass ratios up to 8:1, orbital eccentricities from a few percent to $10^{-5}$, black-hole spins up to 98% of the theoretical maximum, and radiated energies up to 11.1% of the initial mass. We establish remarkably good agreement with post-Newtonian precession of orbital and spin directions for two new precessing simulations, and we discuss other applications of this catalog. Formidable challenges remain: e.g., precession complicates the connection of numerical and approximate analytical waveforms, and vast regions of the parameter space remain unexplored.
- Apr 11 2013 gr-qc arXiv:1304.3067v1Binary black hole simulations with black hole excision using spectral methods require a coordinate transformation into a co-rotating coordinate system where the black holes are essentially at rest. This paper presents and discusses two coordinate transformations that are applicable to precessing binary systems, one based on Euler angles, the other on quaternions. Both approaches are found to work well for binaries with moderate precession, i.e. for cases where the orientation of the orbital plane changes by much less than 90 degrees. For strong precession, performance of the Euler-angle parameterization deteriorates, eventually failing for a 90 degree change in orientation because of singularities in the parameterization ("gimbal lock"). In contrast, the quaternion representation is invariant under an overall rotation, and handles any orientation of the orbital plane as well as the Euler-angle technique handles non-precessing binaries.