results for au:Prix_R in:gr-qc

- 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.
- Oct 09 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.IM arXiv:1710.02185v3The first observing run of Advanced LIGO spanned 4 months, from September 12, 2015 to January 19, 2016, during which gravitational waves were directly detected from two binary black hole systems, namely GW150914 and GW151226. Confident detection of gravitational waves requires an understanding of instrumental transients and artifacts that can reduce the sensitivity of a search. Studies of the quality of the detector data yield insights into the cause of instrumental artifacts and data quality vetoes specific to a search are produced to mitigate the effects of problematic data. In this paper, the systematic removal of noisy data from analysis time is shown to improve the sensitivity of searches for compact binary coalescences. The output of the PyCBC pipeline, which is a python-based code package used to search for gravitational wave signals from compact binary coalescences, is used as a metric for improvement. GW150914 was a loud enough signal that removing noisy data did not improve its significance. However, the removal of data with excess noise decreased the false alarm rate of GW151226 by more than two orders of magnitude, from 1 in 770 years to less than 1 in 186000 years.
- 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.
- Aug 08 2017 gr-qc arXiv:1708.02173v2In this paper we design a search for continuous gravitational waves from three supernova remnants: Vela Jr., Cassiopeia A (Cas A) and G347.3. These systems might harbor rapidly rotating neutron stars emitting quasi-periodic gravitational radiation detectable by the advanced LIGO detectors. Our search is designed to use the volunteer computing project Einstein@Home for a few months and assumes the sensitivity and duty cycles of the advanced LIGO detectors during their first science run. For all three supernova remnants, the sky-positions of their central compact objects are well known but the frequency and spin-down rates of the neutron stars are unknown which makes the searches computationally limited. In a previous paper we have proposed a general framework for deciding on what target we should spend computational resources and in what proportion, what frequency and spin-down ranges we should search for every target, and with what search set-up. Here we further expand this framework and apply it to design a search directed at detecting continuous gravitational wave signals from the most promising three supernova remnants identified as such in the previous work. Our optimization procedure yields broad frequency and spin-down searches for all three objects, at an unprecedented level of sensitivity: The smallest detectable gravitational wave strain $h_0$ for Cas A is expected to be 2 times smaller than the most sensitive upper-limits published to date, and our proposed search, which was set-up and ran on the volunteer computing project Einstein@Home, covers a much larger frequency range.
- 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.
- Apr 13 2017 gr-qc arXiv:1704.03719v3Results are presented from a semi-coherent search for continuous gravitational waves from the brightest low-mass X-ray binary, Scorpius X-1, using data collected during the first Advanced LIGO observing run (O1). The search combines a frequency domain matched filter (Bessel-weighted $\mathcal{F}$-statistic) with a hidden Markov model to track wandering of the neutron star spin frequency. No evidence of gravitational waves is found in the frequency range 60-650 Hz. Frequentist 95% confidence strain upper limits, $h_0^{95\%} = 4.0\times10^{-25}$, $8.3\times10^{-25}$, and $3.0\times10^{-25}$ for electromagnetically restricted source orientation, unknown polarization, and circular polarization, respectively, are reported at 106 Hz. They are $\leq 10$ times higher than the theoretical torque-balance limit at 106 Hz.
- Apr 05 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1704.00742v2Continuous gravitational waves from neutron stars could provide an invaluable resource to learn about their interior physics. A common search method involves matched filtering a modeled template against the noisy gravitational-wave data to find signals. This method suffers a mismatch (i.e., relative loss of the signal-to-noise ratio) if the signal deviates from the template. One possible instance in which this may occur is if the neutron star undergoes a glitch, a sudden rapid increase in the rotation frequency seen in the timing of many radio pulsars. In this work, we use a statistical characterization of the glitch rate and size in radio pulsars to estimate how often neutron star glitches would occur within the parameter space of continuous gravitational-wave searches and how much mismatch putative signals would suffer in the search due to these glitches. We find that for many previous and potential future searches continuous-wave signals have an elevated probability of undergoing one or more glitches and that these glitches will often lead to a substantial fraction of the signal-to-noise ratio being lost. This could lead to a failure to identify candidate gravitational-wave signals in the initial stages of a search and also to the false dismissal of candidates in subsequent follow-up stages.
- 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.
- Dec 26 2016 astro-ph.IM gr-qc arXiv:1612.07864v1Hardware injections are simulated gravitational-wave signals added to the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO). The detectors' test masses are physically displaced by an actuator in order to simulate the effects of a gravitational wave. The simulated signal initiates a control-system response which mimics that of a true gravitational wave. This provides an end-to-end test of LIGO's ability to observe gravitational waves. The gravitational-wave analyses used to detect and characterize signals are exercised with hardware injections. By looking for discrepancies between the injected and recovered signals, we are able to characterize the performance of analyses and the coupling of instrumental subsystems to the detectors' output channels. This paper describes the hardware injection system and the recovery of injected signals representing binary black hole mergers, a stochastic gravitational wave background, spinning neutron stars, and sine-Gaussians.
- Sep 01 2016 astro-ph.IM gr-qc arXiv:1608.08928v1We report results of an all-sky search for periodic gravitational waves with frequency between 50 and 510 Hz from isolated compact objects, i.e. neutron stars. A new hierarchical multi-stage approach is taken, supported by the computing power of the Einstein@Home project, allowing to probe more deeply than ever before. 16 million sub-threshold candidates from the initial search [LVC,arXiv:1606.09619] are followed up in three stages. None of those candidates is consistent with an isolated gravitational wave emitter, and 90% confidence level upper limits are placed on the amplitudes of continuous waves from the target population. Between 170.5 and 171 Hz we set the most constraining 90% confidence upper limit on the strain amplitude h0 at 4.3x10-25 , while at the high end of our frequency range we achieve an upper limit of 7.6x10-25. These are the most constraining all-sky upper limits to date and constrain the ellipticity of rotating compact objects emitting at 300 Hz at a distance D to less than 6x10-7 [d/100pc].
- We report the results of a directed search for continuous gravitational-wave emission in a broad frequency range (between 50 and 1000 Hz) from the central compact object of the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A (Cas A). The data comes from the sixth science run of LIGO and the search is performed on the volunteer distributed computing network Einstein@Home. We find no significant signal candidate, and set the most constraining upper limits to date on the gravitational-wave emission from Cas A, which beat the indirect age-based upper limit across the entire search range. At around 170 Hz (the most sensitive frequency range), we set 90% confidence upper limits on the gravitational wave amplitude $h_0$ of $\sim\!\!~2.9\times 10^{-25}$, roughly twice as constraining as the upper limits from previous searches on Cas A. The upper limits can also be expressed as constraints on the ellipticity of Cas A; with a few reasonable assumptions, we show that at gravitational-wave frequencies greater than 300~Hz, we can exclude an ellipticity of $\gtrsim\!\!~10^{-5}$.
- Aug 08 2016 gr-qc arXiv:1608.01940v4The first direct gravitational-wave detection was made by the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory on September 14, 2015. The GW150914 signal was strong enough to be apparent, without using any waveform model, in the filtered detector strain data. Here, features of the signal visible in the data are analyzed using concepts from Newtonian physics and general relativity, accessible to anyone with a general physics background. The simple analysis presented here is consistent with the fully general-relativistic analyses published elsewhere,in showing that the signal was produced by the inspiral and subsequent merger of two black holes. The black holes were each of approximately 35 Msun, still orbited each other as close as ~350 km apart, and subsequently merged to form a single black hole. Similar reasoning, directly from the data, is used to roughly estimate how far these black holes were from the Earth, and the energy that they radiated in gravitational waves.
- We report here the non-detection of gravitational waves from the merger of binary neutron star systems and neutron-star--black-hole systems during the first observing run of Advanced LIGO. In particular we searched for gravitational wave signals from binary neutron star systems with component masses $\in [1,3] M_{\odot}$ and component dimensionless spins $< 0.05$. We also searched for neutron-star--black-hole systems with the same neutron star parameters, black hole mass $\in [2,99] M_{\odot}$ and no restriction on the black hole spin magnitude. We assess the sensitivity of the two LIGO detectors to these systems, and find that they could have detected the merger of binary neutron star systems with component mass distributions of $1.35\pm0.13 M_{\odot}$ at a volume-weighted average distance of $\sim$ 70Mpc, and for neutron-star--black-hole systems with neutron star masses of $1.4M_\odot$ and black hole masses of at least $5M_\odot$, a volume-weighted average distance of at least $\sim$ 110Mpc. From this we constrain with 90% confidence the merger rate to be less than 12,600 Gpc$^{-3}$yr$^{-1}$ for binary-neutron star systems and less than 3,600 Gpc$^{-3}$yr$^{-1}$ for neutron-star--black-hole systems. We find that if no detection of neutron-star binary mergers is made in the next two Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo observing runs we would place significant constraints on the merger rates. Finally, assuming a rate of $10^{+20}_{-7}$Gpc$^{-3}$yr$^{-1}$ short gamma ray bursts beamed towards the Earth and assuming that all short gamma-ray bursts have binary-neutron-star (neutron-star--black-hole) progenitors we can use our 90% confidence rate upper limits to constrain the beaming angle of the gamma-ray burst to be greater than ${2.3^{+1.7}_{-1.1}}^{\circ}$ (${4.3^{+3.1}_{-1.9}}^{\circ}$).
- Jul 11 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1607.02216v1We describe a directed search for continuous gravitational waves in data from the sixth LIGO science run. The target was the nearby globular cluster NGC 6544 at a distance of 2.7 kpc. The search covered a broad band of frequencies along with first and second frequency derivatives for a fixed sky position. The search coherently integrated data from the two LIGO interferometers over a time span of 9.2 days using the matched-filtering F-statistic. We found no gravitational-wave signals and set 95% confidence upper limits as stringent as 6.0 X 10^-25 on intrinsic strain and 8.5 X 10^-6 on fiducial ellipticity. These values beat the indirect limits from energy conservation for stars with characteristic spindown ages older than 300 years and are within the range of theoretical predictions for possible neutron-star ellipticities. An important feature of this search was use of a barycentric resampling algorithm which substantially reduced computational cost; this method will be used extensively in searches of Advanced LIGO and Virgo detector data.
- We present results of a high-frequency all-sky search for continuous gravitational waves from isolated compact objects in LIGO's 5th Science Run (S5) data, using the computing power of the Einstein@Home volunteer computing project. This is the only dedicated continuous gravitational wave search that probes this high frequency range on S5 data. We find no significant candidate signal, so we set 90%-confidence level upper-limits on continuous gravitational wave strain amplitudes. At the lower end of the search frequency range, around 1250 Hz, the most constraining upper-limit is $5.0\times 10^{-24}$, while at the higher end, around 1500 Hz, it is $6.2\times 10^{-24}$. Based on these upper-limits, and assuming a fiducial value of the principal moment of inertia of $10^{38}$kg$\,$m$^2$, we can exclude objects with ellipticities higher than roughly $2.8\times10^{-7}$ within 100 pc of Earth with rotation periods between 1.3 and 1.6 milliseconds.
- Jun 16 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.CO arXiv:1606.04856v3The first observational run of the Advanced LIGO detectors, from September 12, 2015 to January 19, 2016, saw the first detections of gravitational waves from binary black hole mergers. In this paper we present full results from a search for binary black hole merger signals with total masses up to $100 M_\odot$ and detailed implications from our observations of these systems. Our search, based on general-relativistic models of gravitational wave signals from binary black hole systems, unambiguously identified two signals, GW150914 and GW151226, with a significance of greater than $5\sigma$ over the observing period. It also identified a third possible signal, LVT151012, with substantially lower significance, and with an 87% probability of being of astrophysical origin. We provide detailed estimates of the parameters of the observed systems. Both GW150914 and GW151226 provide an unprecedented opportunity to study the two-body motion of a compact-object binary in the large velocity, highly nonlinear regime. We do not observe any deviations from general relativity, and place improved empirical bounds on several high-order post-Newtonian coefficients. From our observations we infer stellar-mass binary black hole merger rates lying in the range $9-240 \mathrm{Gpc}^{-3} \mathrm{yr}^{-1}$. These observations are beginning to inform astrophysical predictions of binary black hole formation rates, and indicate that future observing runs of the Advanced detector network will yield many more gravitational wave detections.
- We compare GW150914 directly to simulations of coalescing binary black holes in full general relativity, accounting for all the spin-weighted quadrupolar modes, and separately accounting for all the quadrupolar and octopolar modes. Consistent with the posterior distributions reported in LVC_PE[1] (at 90% confidence), we find the data are compatible with a wide range of nonprecessing and precessing simulations. Followup simulations performed using previously-estimated binary parameters most resemble the data. Comparisons including only the quadrupolar modes constrain the total redshifted mass Mz ∈[64 - 82M_⊙], mass ratio q = m2/m1 ∈[0.6,1], and effective aligned spin \chi_eff ∈[-0.3, 0.2], where \chi_eff = (S1/m1 + S2/m2) ⋅\hatL /M. Including both quadrupolar and octopolar modes, we find the mass ratio is even more tightly constrained. Simulations with extreme mass ratios and effective spins are highly inconsistent with the data, at any mass. Several nonprecessing and precessing simulations with similar mass ratio and \chi_eff are consistent with the data. Though correlated, the components' spins (both in magnitude and directions) are not significantly constrained by the data. For nonprecessing binaries, interpolating between simulations, we reconstruct a posterior distribution consistent with previous results. The final black hole's redshifted mass is consistent with Mf,z between 64.0 - 73.5M_⊙and the final black hole's dimensionless spin parameter is consistent with af = 0.62 - 0.73. As our approach invokes no intermediate approximations to general relativity and can strongly reject binaries whose radiation is inconsistent with the data, our analysis provides a valuable complement to LVC_PE[1].
- Jun 06 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1606.01210v1This paper presents updated estimates of source parameters for GW150914, a binary black-hole coalescence event detected by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) on September 14, 2015 [1]. Reference presented parameter estimation [2] of the source using a 13-dimensional, phenomenological precessing-spin model (precessing IMRPhenom) and a 11-dimensional nonprecessing effective-one-body (EOB) model calibrated to numerical-relativity simulations, which forces spin alignment (nonprecessing EOBNR). Here we present new results that include a 15-dimensional precessing-spin waveform model (precessing EOBNR) developed within the EOB formalism. We find good agreement with the parameters estimated previously [2], and we quote updated component masses of $35^{+5}_{-3}\mathrm{M}_\odot$ and $30^{+3}_{-4}\mathrm{M}_\odot$ (where errors correspond to 90% symmetric credible intervals). We also present slightly tighter constraints on the dimensionless spin magnitudes of the two black holes, with a primary spin estimate $0.65$ and a secondary spin estimate $0.75$ at 90% probability. Reference [2] estimated the systematic parameter-extraction errors due to waveform-model uncertainty by combining the posterior probability densities of precessing IMRPhenom and nonprecessing EOBNR. Here we find that the two precessing-spin models are in closer agreement, suggesting that these systematic errors are smaller than previously quoted.
- May 12 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.IM arXiv:1605.03233v2We report on a comprehensive all-sky search for periodic gravitational waves in the frequency band 100-1500 Hz and with a frequency time derivative in the range of $[-1.18, +1.00]\times 10^{-8}$ Hz/s. Such a signal could be produced by a nearby spinning and slightly non-axisymmetric isolated neutron star in our galaxy. This search uses the data from the Initial LIGO sixth science run and covers a larger parameter space with respect to any past search. A Loosely Coherent detection pipeline was applied to follow up weak outliers in both Gaussian (95% recovery rate) and non-Gaussian (75% recovery rate) bands. No gravitational wave signals were observed, and upper limits were placed on their strength. Our smallest upper limit on worst-case (linearly polarized) strain amplitude $h_0$ is ${9.7}\times 10^{-25}$ near 169 Hz, while at the high end of our frequency range we achieve a worst-case upper limit of ${5.5}\times 10^{-24}$. Both cases refer to all sky locations and entire range of frequency derivative values.
- May 09 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1605.01785v2We present results from a search for gravitational-wave bursts coincident with a set of two core-collapse supernovae observed between 2007 and 2011. We employ data from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO), the Virgo gravitational-wave observatory, and the GEO 600 gravitational-wave observatory. The targeted core-collapse supernovae were selected on the basis of (1) proximity (within approximately 15 Mpc), (2) tightness of observational constraints on the time of core collapse that defines the gravitational-wave search window, and (3) coincident operation of at least two interferometers at the time of core collapse. We find no plausible gravitational-wave candidates. We present the probability of detecting signals from both astrophysically well-motivated and more speculative gravitational-wave emission mechanisms as a function of distance from Earth, and discuss the implications for the detection of gravitational waves from core-collapse supernovae by the upgraded Advanced LIGO and Virgo detectors.
- In Advanced LIGO, detection and astrophysical source parameter estimation of the binary black hole merger GW150914 requires a calibrated estimate of the gravitational-wave strain sensed by the detectors. Producing an estimate from each detector's differential arm length control loop readout signals requires applying time domain filters, which are designed from a frequency domain model of the detector's gravitational-wave response. The gravitational-wave response model is determined by the detector's opto-mechanical response and the properties of its feedback control system. The measurements used to validate the model and characterize its uncertainty are derived primarily from a dedicated photon radiation pressure actuator, with cross-checks provided by optical and radio frequency references. We describe how the gravitational-wave readout signal is calibrated into equivalent gravitational-wave-induced strain and how the statistical uncertainties and systematic errors are assessed. Detector data collected over 38 calendar days, from September 12 to October 20, 2015, contain the event GW150914 and approximately 16 of coincident data used to estimate the event false alarm probability. The calibration uncertainty is less than 10% in magnitude and 10 degrees in phase across the relevant frequency band 20 Hz to 1 kHz.
- In this paper we present the results of the first low frequency all-sky search of continuous gravitational wave signals conducted on Virgo VSR2 and VSR4 data. The search covered the full sky, a frequency range between 20 Hz and 128 Hz with a range of spin-down between $-1.0 \times 10^{-10}$ Hz/s and $+1.5 \times 10^{-11}$ Hz/s, and was based on a hierarchical approach. The starting point was a set of short Fast Fourier Transforms (FFT), of length 8192 seconds, built from the calibrated strain data. Aggressive data cleaning, both in the time and frequency domains, has been done in order to remove, as much as possible, the effect of disturbances of instrumental origin. On each dataset a number of candidates has been selected, using the FrequencyHough transform in an incoherent step. Only coincident candidates among VSR2 and VSR4 have been examined in order to strongly reduce the false alarm probability, and the most significant candidates have been selected. The criteria we have used for candidate selection and for the coincidence step greatly reduce the harmful effect of large instrumental artifacts. Selected candidates have been subject to a follow-up by constructing a new set of longer FFTs followed by a further incoherent analysis. No evidence for continuous gravitational wave signals was found, therefore we have set a population-based joint VSR2-VSR4 90$\%$ confidence level upper limit on the dimensionless gravitational wave strain in the frequency range between 20 Hz and 128 Hz. This is the first all-sky search for continuous gravitational waves conducted at frequencies below 50 Hz. We set upper limits in the range between about $10^{-24}$ and $2\times 10^{-23}$ at most frequencies. Our upper limits on signal strain show an improvement of up to a factor of $\sim$2 with respect to the results of previous all-sky searches at frequencies below $80~\mathrm{Hz}$.
- Oct 14 2015 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1510.03474v2We report results of a wideband search for periodic gravitational waves from isolated neutron stars within the Orion spur towards both the inner and outer regions of our Galaxy. As gravitational waves interact very weakly with matter, the search is unimpeded by dust and concentrations of stars. One search disk (A) is $6.87^\circ$ in diameter and centered on $20^\textrm{h}10^\textrm{m}54.71^\textrm{s}+33^\circ33'25.29"$, and the other (B) is $7.45^\circ$ in diameter and centered on $8^\textrm{h}35^\textrm{m}20.61^\textrm{s}-46^\circ49'25.151"$. We explored the frequency range of 50-1500 Hz and frequency derivative from $0$ to $-5\times 10^{-9}$ Hz/s. A multi-stage, loosely coherent search program allowed probing more deeply than before in these two regions, while increasing coherence length with every stage. Rigorous followup parameters have winnowed initial coincidence set to only 70 candidates, to be examined manually. None of those 70 candidates proved to be consistent with an isolated gravitational wave emitter, and 95% confidence level upper limits were placed on continuous-wave strain amplitudes. Near $169$ Hz we achieve our lowest 95% CL upper limit on worst-case linearly polarized strain amplitude $h_0$ of $6.3\times 10^{-25}$, while at the high end of our frequency range we achieve a worst-case upper limit of $3.4\times 10^{-24}$ for all polarizations and sky locations.
- Feb 04 2015 gr-qc arXiv:1502.00914v2We derive simple analytic expressions for the (coherent and semi-coherent) phase metrics of continuous-wave sources in low-eccentricity binary systems, both for the long-segment and short- segment regimes (compared to the orbital period). The resulting expressions correct and extend previous results found in the literature. We present results of extensive Monte-Carlo studies comparing metric mismatch predictions against the measured loss of detection statistic for binary parameter offsets. The agreement is generally found to be within ~ 10%-30%. As an application of the metric template expressions, we estimate the optimal achievable sensitivity of an Einstein@Home directed search for Scorpius X-1, under the assumption of sufficiently small spin wandering. We find that such a search, using data from the upcoming advanced detectors, would be able to beat the torque- balance level [1,2] up to a frequency of ~ 500 - 600 Hz, if orbital eccentricity is well-constrained, and up to a frequency of ~ 160 - 200 Hz for more conservative assumptions about the uncertainty on orbital eccentricity.
- Dec 02 2014 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1412.0605v1We present results of a search for continuously-emitted gravitational radiation, directed at the brightest low-mass X-ray binary, Scorpius X-1. Our semi-coherent analysis covers 10 days of LIGO S5 data ranging from 50-550 Hz, and performs an incoherent sum of coherent $\mathcal{F}$-statistic power distributed amongst frequency-modulated orbital sidebands. All candidates not removed at the veto stage were found to be consistent with noise at a 1% false alarm rate. We present Bayesian 95% confidence upper limits on gravitational-wave strain amplitude using two different prior distributions: a standard one, with no a priori assumptions about the orientation of Scorpius X-1; and an angle-restricted one, using a prior derived from electromagnetic observations. Median strain upper limits of 1.3e-24 and 8e-25 are reported at 150 Hz for the standard and angle-restricted searches respectively. This proof of principle analysis was limited to a short observation time by unknown effects of accretion on the intrinsic spin frequency of the neutron star, but improves upon previous upper limits by factors of ~1.4 for the standard, and 2.3 for the angle-restricted search at the sensitive region of the detector.
- In this paper we present the results of a coherent narrow-band search for continuous gravitational-wave signals from the Crab and Vela pulsars conducted on Virgo VSR4 data. In order to take into account a possible small mismatch between the gravitational wave frequency and two times the star rotation frequency, inferred from measurement of the electromagnetic pulse rate, a range of 0.02 Hz around two times the star rotational frequency has been searched for both the pulsars. No evidence for a signal has been found and 95$\%$ confidence level upper limits have been computed both assuming polarization parameters are completely unknown and that they are known with some uncertainty, as derived from X-ray observations of the pulsar wind torii. For Vela the upper limits are comparable to the spin-down limit, computed assuming that all the observed spin-down is due to the emission of gravitational waves. For Crab the upper limits are about a factor of two below the spin-down limit, and represent a significant improvement with respect to past analysis. This is the first time the spin-down limit is significantly overcome in a narrow-band search.
- Most searches for continuous gravitational-waves from pulsars use Taylor expansions in the phase to model the spin-down of neutron stars. Studies of pulsars demonstrate that their electromagnetic (EM) emissions suffer from \emphtiming noise, small deviations in the phase from Taylor expansion models. How the mechanism producing EM emission is related to any continuous gravitational-wave (CW) emission is unknown; if they either interact or are locked in phase then the CW will also experience timing noise. Any disparity between the signal and the search template used in matched filtering methods will result in a loss of signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), referred to as `mismatch'. In this work we assume the CW suffers a similar level of timing noise to its EM counterpart. We inject and recover fake CW signals, which include timing noise generated from observational data on the Crab pulsar. Measuring the mismatch over durations of order $\sim 10$ months, the effect is for the most part found to be small. This suggests recent so-called `narrow-band' searches which placed upper limits on the signals from the Crab and Vela pulsars will not be significantly affected. At a fixed observation time, we find the mismatch depends upon the observation epoch. Considering the averaged mismatch as a function of observation time, we find that it increases as a power law with time, and so may become relevant in long baseline searches.
- Oct 23 2014 gr-qc astro-ph.IM arXiv:1410.5997v2The search for continuous gravitational-wave signals requires the development of techniques that can effectively explore the low-significance regions of the candidate set. In this paper we present the methods that were developed for a search for continuous gravitational-wave signals from the Galactic Center [1]. First, we present a data-selection method that increases the sensitivity of the chosen data set by 20%-30% compared to the selection methods used in previous directed searches. Second, we introduce postprocessing methods that reliably rule out candidates that stem from random fluctuations or disturbances in the data. In the context of [J. Aasi et al., Phys. Rev. D 88, 102002 (2013)] their use enabled the investigation of candidates three standard deviations below the loudest expected candidate in Gaussian noise from the entire search. Such low-significance regions had not been explored in continuous gravitational-wave searches before. We finally present a new procedure for deriving upper limits on the gravitational-wave amplitude, which is several times faster with respect to the standard injection-and-search approach commonly used.
- Sep 10 2014 gr-qc arXiv:1409.2696v2The multi-detector F-statistic is close to optimal for detecting continuous gravitational waves (CWs) in Gaussian noise. However, it is susceptible to false alarms from instrumental artefacts, for example quasi-monochromatic disturbances ('lines'), which resemble a CW signal more than Gaussian noise. In a recent paper [Keitel et al 2014, PRD 89 064023], a Bayesian model selection approach was used to derive line-robust detection statistics for CW signals, generalising both the F-statistic and the F-statistic consistency veto technique and yielding improved performance in line-affected data. Here we investigate a generalisation of the assumptions made in that paper: if a CW analysis uses data from two or more detectors with very different sensitivities, the line-robust statistics could be less effective. We investigate the boundaries within which they are still safe to use, in comparison with the F-statistic. Tests using synthetic draws show that the optimally-tuned version of the original line-robust statistic remains safe in most cases of practical interest. We also explore a simple idea on further improving the detection power and safety of these statistics, which we however find to be of limited practical use.
- Jun 02 2014 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1405.7904v2We present the first results of an all-sky search for continuous gravitational waves from unknown spinning neutron stars in binary systems using LIGO and Virgo data. Using a specially developed analysis program, the TwoSpect algorithm, the search was carried out on data from the sixth LIGO Science Run and the second and third Virgo Science Runs. The search covers a range of frequencies from 20 Hz to 520 Hz, a range of orbital periods from 2 to ~2,254 h and a frequency- and period-dependent range of frequency modulation depths from 0.277 to 100 mHz. This corresponds to a range of projected semi-major axes of the orbit from ~0.6e-3 ls to ~6,500 ls assuming the orbit of the binary is circular. While no plausible candidate gravitational wave events survive the pipeline, upper limits are set on the analyzed data. The most sensitive 95% confidence upper limit obtained on gravitational wave strain is 2.3e-24 at 217 Hz, assuming the source waves are circularly polarized. Although this search has been optimized for circular binary orbits, the upper limits obtained remain valid for orbital eccentricities as large as 0.9. In addition, upper limits are placed on continuous gravitational wave emission from the low-mass x-ray binary Scorpius X-1 between 20 Hz and 57.25 Hz.
- May 09 2014 gr-qc arXiv:1405.1922v1We characterize and present the details of the follow-up method used on the most significant outliers of the Hough Einstein@Home all-sky search for continuous gravitational waves arXiv:1207.7176. This follow-up method is based on the two-stage approach introduced in arXiv:1303.2471, consisting of a semicoherent refinement followed by a fully coherent zoom. We quantify the efficiency of the follow-up pipeline using simulated signals in Gaussian noise. This pipeline does not search beyond first-order frequency spindown, and therefore we also evaluate its robustness against second-order spindown. We present the details of the Hough Einstein@Home follow-up (arXiv:1207.7176) on three hardware-injected signals and on the 8 most significant outliers of unknown origin.
- Mar 27 2014 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1403.6639v2We present the results of a search for gravitational waves associated with 223 gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) detected by the InterPlanetary Network (IPN) in 2005-2010 during LIGO's fifth and sixth science runs and Virgo's first, second and third science runs. The IPN satellites provide accurate times of the bursts and sky localizations that vary significantly from degree scale to hundreds of square degrees. We search for both a well-modeled binary coalescence signal, the favored progenitor model for short GRBs, and for generic, unmodeled gravitational wave bursts. Both searches use the event time and sky localization to improve the gravitational-wave search sensitivity as compared to corresponding all-time, all-sky searches. We find no evidence of a gravitational-wave signal associated with any of the IPN GRBs in the sample, nor do we find evidence for a population of weak gravitational-wave signals associated with the GRBs. For all IPN-detected GRBs, for which a sufficient duration of quality gravitational-wave data is available, we place lower bounds on the distance to the source in accordance with an optimistic assumption of gravitational-wave emission energy of $10^{-2}M_{\odot}c^2$ at 150 Hz, and find a median of 13 Mpc. For the 27 short-hard GRBs we place 90% confidence exclusion distances to two source models: a binary neutron star coalescence, with a median distance of 12Mpc, or the coalescence of a neutron star and black hole, with a median distance of 22 Mpc. Finally, we combine this search with previously published results to provide a population statement for GRB searches in first-generation LIGO and Virgo gravitational-wave detectors, and a resulting examination of prospects for the advanced gravitational-wave detectors.
- Nov 25 2013 gr-qc arXiv:1311.5738v2The standard multidetector F-statistic for continuous gravitational waves is susceptible to false alarms from instrumental artifacts, for example monochromatic sinusoidal disturbances ('lines'). This vulnerability to line artifacts arises because the F-statistic compares the signal hypothesis to a Gaussian-noise hypothesis, and hence is triggered by anything that resembles the signal hypothesis more than Gaussian noise. Various ad-hoc veto methods to deal with such line artifacts have been proposed and used in the past. Here we develop a Bayesian framework that includes an explicit alternative hypothesis to model disturbed data. We introduce a simple line model that defines lines as signal candidates appearing only in one detector. This allows us to explicitly compute the odds between the signal hypothesis and an extended noise hypothesis, resulting in a new detection statistic that is more robust to instrumental artifacts. We present and discuss results from Monte-Carlo tests on both simulated data and on detector data from the fifth LIGO science run. We find that the line-robust statistic retains the detection power of the standard F-statistic in Gaussian noise. In the presence of line artifacts it is more sensitive, even compared to the popular F-statistic consistency veto, over which it improves by as much as a factor of two in detectable signal strength.
- Nov 12 2013 gr-qc arXiv:1311.2409v3We report on an all-sky search for periodic gravitational waves in the frequency range $\mathrm{50-1000 Hz}$ with the first derivative of frequency in the range $-8.9 \times 10^{-10}$ Hz/s to zero in two years of data collected during LIGO's fifth science run. Our results employ a Hough transform technique, introducing a $\chi^2$ test and analysis of coincidences between the signal levels in years 1 and 2 of observations that offers a significant improvement in the product of strain sensitivity with compute cycles per data sample compared to previously published searches. Since our search yields no surviving candidates, we present results taking the form of frequency dependent, 95$%$ confidence upper limits on the strain amplitude $h_0$. The most stringent upper limit from year 1 is $1.0\times 10^{-24}$ in the $\mathrm{158.00-158.25 Hz}$ band. In year 2, the most stringent upper limit is $\mathrm{8.9\times10^{-25}}$ in the $\mathrm{146.50-146.75 Hz}$ band. This improved detection pipeline, which is computationally efficient by at least two orders of magnitude better than our flagship Einstein$@$Home search, will be important for "quick-look" searches in the Advanced LIGO and Virgo detector era.
- Nov 04 2013 gr-qc arXiv:1311.0065v3The parameter space for continuous gravitational waves (GWs) can be divided into amplitude parameters (signal amplitude, inclination and polarization angles describing the orientation of the source, and an initial phase) and phase-evolution parameters. The division is useful in part because the Jaranowski-Krolak-Schutz (JKS) coordinates on the four-dimensional amplitude parameter space allow the GW signal to be written as a linear combination of four template waveforms with the JKS coordinates as coefficients. We define a new set of coordinates on the amplitude parameter space, with the same properties, which is more closely connected to the physical amplitude parameters. These naturally divide into two pairs of Cartesian-like coordinates on two-dimensional subspaces, one corresponding to left- and the other to right-circular polarization. We thus refer to these as CPF (circular polarization factored) coordinates. The corresponding two sets of polar coordinates (known as CPF-polar) can be related in a simple way to the physical parameters. We illustrate some simplifying applications for these various coordinate systems, such as: a calculation of Jacobians between various coordinate systems; an illustration of the signal coordinate singularities associated with left- and right-circular polarization, which correspond to the origins of the two two-dimensional subspaces; and an elucidation of the form of the log-likelihood ratio between hypotheses of Gaussian noise with and without a continuous GW signal. These are used to illustrate some of the prospects for approximate evaluation of a Bayesian detection statistic defined by marginalization over the physical parameter space. Additionally, in the presence of simplifying assumptions about the observing geometry, we are able to explicitly evaluate the integral for the Bayesian detection statistic, and compare it to the approximate results.
- Oct 22 2013 gr-qc arXiv:1310.5587v2All-sky, broadband, coherent searches for gravitational-wave pulsars are computationally limited. It is therefore important to make efficient use of available computational resources, notably by minimizing the number of templates used to cover the signal parameter space of sky position and frequency evolution. For searches over the sky, however, the required template density (determined by the parameter-space metric) is different at each sky position, which makes it difficult in practice to achieve an efficient covering. Previous work on this problem has found various choices of sky and frequency coordinates that render the parameter-space metric approximately constant, but which are limited to coherent integration times of either less than a few days, or greater than several months. These limitations restrict the sensitivity achievable by hierarchical all-sky searches, and hinder the development of follow-up pipelines for interesting gravitational-wave pulsar candidates. We present a new flat parameter-space metric approximation, and associated sky and frequency coordinates, that do not suffer from these limitations. Furthermore, the new metric is numerically well-conditioned, which facilitates its practical use.
- Oct 10 2013 gr-qc astro-ph.CO arXiv:1310.2384v2Cosmic strings can give rise to a large variety of interesting astrophysical phenomena. Among them, powerful bursts of gravitational waves (GWs) produced by cusps are a promising observational signature. In this Letter we present a search for GWs from cosmic string cusps in data collected by the LIGO and Virgo gravitational wave detectors between 2005 and 2010, with over 625 days of live time. We find no evidence of GW signals from cosmic strings. From this result, we derive new constraints on cosmic string parameters, which complement and improve existing limits from previous searches for a stochastic background of GWs from cosmic microwave background measurements and pulsar timing data. In particular, if the size of loops is given by the gravitational backreaction scale, we place upper limits on the string tension $G\mu$ below $10^{-8}$ in some regions of the cosmic string parameter space.
- Sep 25 2013 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1309.6221v2We present the results of a directed search for continuous gravitational waves from unknown, isolated neutron stars in the Galactic Center region, performed on two years of data from LIGO's fifth science run from two LIGO detectors. The search uses a semi-coherent approach, analyzing coherently 630 segments, each spanning 11.5 hours, and then incoherently combining the results of the single segments. It covers gravitational wave frequencies in a range from 78 to 496 Hz and a frequency-dependent range of first order spindown values down to -7.86 x 10^-8 Hz/s at the highest frequency. No gravitational waves were detected. We place 90% confidence upper limits on the gravitational wave amplitude of sources at the Galactic Center. Placing 90% confidence upper limits on the gravitational wave amplitude of sources at the Galactic Center, we reach ~3.35x10^-25 for frequencies near 150 Hz. These upper limits are the most constraining to date for a large-parameter-space search for continuous gravitational wave signals.
- Sep 17 2013 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1309.4027v3We present the results of searches for gravitational waves from a large selection of pulsars using data from the most recent science runs (S6, VSR2 and VSR4) of the initial generation of interferometric gravitational wave detectors LIGO (Laser Interferometric Gravitational-wave Observatory) and Virgo. We do not see evidence for gravitational wave emission from any of the targeted sources but produce upper limits on the emission amplitude. We highlight the results from seven young pulsars with large spin-down luminosities. We reach within a factor of five of the canonical spin-down limit for all seven of these, whilst for the Crab and Vela pulsars we further surpass their spin-down limits. We present new or updated limits for 172 other pulsars (including both young and millisecond pulsars). Now that the detectors are undergoing major upgrades, and, for completeness, we bring together all of the most up-to-date results from all pulsars searched for during the operations of the first-generation LIGO, Virgo and GEO600 detectors. This gives a total of 195 pulsars including the most recent results described in this paper.
- Mar 12 2013 gr-qc arXiv:1303.2471v1The search for continuous gravitational waves from unknown isolated sources is computationally limited due to the enormous parameter space that needs to be covered and the weakness of the expected signals. Therefore semi-coherent search strategies have been developed and applied in distributed computing environments such as Einstein@Home, in order to narrow down the parameter space and identify interesting candidates. However, in order to optimally confirm or dismiss a candidate as a possible gravitational-wave signal, a fully-coherent follow-up using all the available data is required. We present a general method and implementation of a direct (2-stage) transition to a fully-coherent follow-up on semi-coherent candidates. This method is based on a grid-less Mesh Adaptive Direct Search (MADS) algorithm using the F-statistic. We demonstrate the detection power and computing cost of this follow-up procedure using extensive Monte-Carlo simulations on (simulated) semi-coherent candidates from a directed as well as from an all-sky search setup.
- We report a search for gravitational waves from the inspiral, merger and ringdown of binary black holes (BBH) with total mass between 25 and 100 solar masses, in data taken at the LIGO and Virgo observatories between July 7, 2009 and October 20, 2010. The maximum sensitive distance of the detectors over this period for a (20,20) Msun coalescence was 300 Mpc. No gravitational wave signals were found. We thus report upper limits on the astrophysical coalescence rates of BBH as a function of the component masses for non-spinning components, and also evaluate the dependence of the search sensitivity on component spins aligned with the orbital angular momentum. We find an upper limit at 90% confidence on the coalescence rate of BBH with non-spinning components of mass between 19 and 28 Msun of 3.3 \times 10^-7 mergers /Mpc^3 /yr.
- Aug 01 2012 gr-qc astro-ph.IM arXiv:1207.7176v2This paper presents results of an all-sky searches for periodic gravitational waves in the frequency range [50, 1190] Hz and with frequency derivative ranges of [-2 x 10^-9, 1.1 x 10^-10] Hz/s for the fifth LIGO science run (S5). The novelty of the search lies in the use of a non-coherent technique based on the Hough-transform to combine the information from coherent searches on timescales of about one day. Because these searches are very computationally intensive, they have been deployed on the Einstein@Home distributed computing project infrastructure. The search presented here is about a factor 3 more sensitive than the previous Einstein@Home search in early S5 LIGO data. The post-processing has left us with eight surviving candidates. We show that deeper follow-up studies rule each of them out. Hence, since no statistically significant gravitational wave signals have been detected, we report upper limits on the intrinsic gravitational wave amplitude h0. For example, in the 0.5 Hz-wide band at 152.5 Hz, we can exclude the presence of signals with h0 greater than 7.6 x 10^-25 with a 90% confidence level.
- May 11 2012 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1205.2216v3We present the results of a search for gravitational waves associated with 154 gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) that were detected by satellite-based gamma-ray experiments in 2009-2010, during the sixth LIGO science run and the second and third Virgo science runs. We perform two distinct searches: a modeled search for coalescences of either two neutron stars or a neutron star and black hole; and a search for generic, unmodeled gravitational-wave bursts. We find no evidence for gravitational-wave counterparts, either with any individual GRB in this sample or with the population as a whole. For all GRBs we place lower bounds on the distance to the progenitor, under the optimistic assumption of a gravitational-wave emission energy of 10^-2 M c^2 at 150 Hz, with a median limit of 17 Mpc. For short hard GRBs we place exclusion distances on binary neutron star and neutron star-black hole progenitors, using astrophysically motivated priors on the source parameters, with median values of 16 Mpc and 28 Mpc respectively. These distance limits, while significantly larger than for a search that is not aided by GRB satellite observations, are not large enough to expect a coincidence with a GRB. However, projecting these exclusions to the sensitivities of Advanced LIGO and Virgo, which should begin operation in 2015, we find that the detection of gravitational waves associated with GRBs will become quite possible.
- May 08 2012 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1205.1124v2We present the first multi-wavelength follow-up observations of two candidate gravitational-wave (GW) transient events recorded by LIGO and Virgo in their 2009-2010 science run. The events were selected with low latency by the network of GW detectors and their candidate sky locations were observed by the Swift observatory. Image transient detection was used to analyze the collected electromagnetic data, which were found to be consistent with background. Off-line analysis of the GW data alone has also established that the selected GW events show no evidence of an astrophysical origin; one of them is consistent with background and the other one was a test, part of a "blind injection challenge". With this work we demonstrate the feasibility of rapid follow-ups of GW transients and establish the sensitivity improvement joint electromagnetic and GW observations could bring. This is a first step toward an electromagnetic follow-up program in the regime of routine detections with the advanced GW instruments expected within this decade. In that regime multi-wavelength observations will play a significant role in completing the astrophysical identification of GW sources. We present the methods and results from this first combined analysis and discuss its implications in terms of sensitivity for the present and future instruments.
- Mar 27 2012 gr-qc arXiv:1203.5613v2Between 2007 and 2010 Virgo collected data in coincidence with the LIGO and GEO gravitational-wave (GW) detectors. These data have been searched for GWs emitted by cataclysmic phenomena in the universe, by non-axisymmetric rotating neutron stars or from a stochastic background in the frequency band of the detectors. The sensitivity of GW searches is limited by noise produced by the detector or its environment. It is therefore crucial to characterize the various noise sources in a GW detector. This paper reviews the Virgo detector noise sources, noise propagation, and conversion mechanisms which were identified in the three first Virgo observing runs. In many cases, these investigations allowed us to mitigate noise sources in the detector, or to selectively flag noise events and discard them from the data. We present examples from the joint LIGO-GEO-Virgo GW searches to show how well noise transients and narrow spectral lines have been identified and excluded from the Virgo data. We also discuss how detector characterization can improve the astrophysical reach of gravitational-wave searches.
- Feb 14 2012 gr-qc arXiv:1202.2788v3We present results from a search for gravitational-wave bursts in the data collected by the LIGO and Virgo detectors between July 7, 2009 and October 20, 2010: data are analyzed when at least two of the three LIGO-Virgo detectors are in coincident operation, with a total observation time of 207 days. The analysis searches for transients of duration < 1 s over the frequency band 64-5000 Hz, without other assumptions on the signal waveform, polarization, direction or occurrence time. All identified events are consistent with the expected accidental background. We set frequentist upper limits on the rate of gravitational-wave bursts by combining this search with the previous LIGO-Virgo search on the data collected between November 2005 and October 2007. The upper limit on the rate of strong gravitational-wave bursts at the Earth is 1.3 events per year at 90% confidence. We also present upper limits on source rate density per year and Mpc^3 for sample populations of standard-candle sources. As in the previous joint run, typical sensitivities of the search in terms of the root-sum-squared strain amplitude for these waveforms lie in the range 5 10^-22 Hz^-1/2 to 1 10^-20 Hz^-1/2. The combination of the two joint runs entails the most sensitive all-sky search for generic gravitational-wave bursts and synthesizes the results achieved by the initial generation of interferometric detectors.
- Jan 31 2012 gr-qc arXiv:1201.5999v3We present the results of a weakly modeled burst search for gravitational waves from mergers of non-spinning intermediate mass black holes (IMBH) in the total mass range 100--450 solar masses and with the component mass ratios between 1:1 and 4:1. The search was conducted on data collected by the LIGO and Virgo detectors between November of 2005 and October of 2007. No plausible signals were observed by the search which constrains the astrophysical rates of the IMBH mergers as a function of the component masses. In the most efficiently detected bin centered on 88+88 solar masses, for non-spinning sources, the rate density upper limit is 0.13 per Mpc^3 per Myr at the 90% confidence level.
- Jan 26 2012 gr-qc arXiv:1201.5244v1Continuous gravitational waves (CW) are expected from spinning neutron stars with non-axisymmetric deformations. A network of interferometric detectors (LIGO, Virgo and GEO600) is looking for these signals. They are predicted to be very weak and retrievable only by integration over long observation times. One of the standard methods of CW data analysis is the multi-detector F-statistic. In a typical search, the F-statistic is computed over a range in frequency, spin-down and sky position, and the candidates with highest F values are kept for further analysis. However, this detection statistic is susceptible to a class of noise artifacts, strong monochromatic lines in a single detector. By assuming an extended noise model - standard Gaussian noise plus single-detector lines - we can use a Bayesian odds ratio to derive a generalized detection statistic, the line veto (LV-) statistic. In the absence of lines, it behaves similarly to the F-statistic, but it is more robust against line artifacts. In the past, ad-hoc post-processing vetoes have been implemented in searches to remove these artifacts. Here we provide a systematic framework to develop and benchmark this class of vetoes. We present our results from testing this LV-statistic on simulated data.
- Jan 24 2012 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1201.4413v3We present the results of a LIGO search for gravitational waves (GWs) associated with GRB 051103, a short-duration hard-spectrum gamma-ray burst (GRB) whose electromagnetically determined sky position is coincident with the spiral galaxy M81, which is 3.6 Mpc from Earth. Possible progenitors for short-hard GRBs include compact object mergers and soft gamma repeater (SGR) giant flares. A merger progenitor would produce a characteristic GW signal that should be detectable at the distance of M81, while GW emission from an SGR is not expected to be detectable at that distance. We found no evidence of a GW signal associated with GRB 051103. Assuming weakly beamed gamma-ray emission with a jet semi-angle of 30 deg we exclude a binary neutron star merger in M81 as the progenitor with a confidence of 98%. Neutron star-black hole mergers are excluded with > 99% confidence. If the event occurred in M81 our findings support the the hypothesis that GRB 051103 was due to an SGR giant flare, making it the most distant extragalactic magnetar observed to date.
- Jan 23 2012 gr-qc arXiv:1201.4321v2Coherent wide parameter-space searches for continuous gravitational waves are typically limited in sensitivity by their prohibitive computing cost. Therefore semi-coherent methods (such as StackSlide) can often achieve a better sensitivity. We develop an analytical method for finding optimal StackSlide parameters at fixed computing cost under ideal conditions of gapless data with Gaussian stationary noise. This solution separates two regimes: an unbounded regime, where it is always optimal to use all the data, and a bounded regime with a finite optimal observation time. Our analysis of the sensitivity scaling reveals that both the fine- and coarse-grid mismatches contribute equally to the average StackSlide mismatch, an effect that had been overlooked in previous studies. We discuss various practical examples for the application of this optimization framework, illustrating the potential gains in sensitivity compared to previous searches.
- Dec 22 2011 gr-qc arXiv:1112.5004v4A stochastic background of gravitational waves is expected to arise from a superposition of many incoherent sources of gravitational waves, of either cosmological or astrophysical origin. This background is a target for the current generation of ground-based detectors. In this article we present the first joint search for a stochastic background using data from the LIGO and Virgo interferometers. In a frequency band of 600-1000 Hz, we obtained a 95% upper limit on the amplitude of $\Omega_{\rm GW}(f) = \Omega_3 (f/900 \mathrm{Hz})^3$, of $\Omega_3 < 0.33$, assuming a value of the Hubble parameter of $h_{100}=0.72$. These new limits are a factor of seven better than the previous best in this frequency band.
- Dec 01 2011 gr-qc arXiv:1111.7314v4We report on a search for gravitational waves from coalescing compact binaries using LIGO and Virgo observations between July 7, 2009 and October 20, 2010. We searched for signals from binaries with total mass between 2 and 25 solar masses; this includes binary neutron stars, binary black holes, and binaries consisting of a black hole and neutron star. The detectors were sensitive to systems up to 40 Mpc distant for binary neutron stars, and further for higher mass systems. No gravitational-wave signals were detected. We report upper limits on the rate of compact binary coalescence as a function of total mass, including the results from previous LIGO and Virgo observations. The cumulative 90%-confidence rate upper limits of the binary coalescence of binary neutron star, neutron star- black hole and binary black hole systems are 1.3 x 10^-4, 3.1 x 10^-5 and 6.4 x 10^-6 Mpc^-3yr^-1, respectively. These upper limits are up to a factor 1.4 lower than previously derived limits. We also report on results from a blind injection challenge.
- Oct 04 2011 gr-qc arXiv:1110.0208v1We report on an all-sky search for periodic gravitational waves in the frequency band 50-800 Hz and with the frequency time derivative in the range of 0 through -6e-9 Hz/s. Such a signal could be produced by a nearby spinning and slightly non-axisymmetric isolated neutron star in our galaxy. After recent improvements in the search program that yielded a 10x increase in computational efficiency, we have searched in two years of data collected during LIGO's fifth science run and have obtained the most sensitive all-sky upper limits on gravitational wave strain to date. Near 150 Hz our upper limit on worst-case linearly polarized strain amplitude $h_0$ is 1e-24, while at the high end of our frequency range we achieve a worst-case upper limit of 3.8e-24 for all polarizations and sky locations. These results constitute a factor of two improvement upon previously published data. A new detection pipeline utilizing a Loosely Coherent algorithm was able to follow up weaker outliers, increasing the volume of space where signals can be detected by a factor of 10, but has not revealed any gravitational wave signals. The pipeline has been tested for robustness with respect to deviations from the model of an isolated neutron star, such as caused by a low-mass or long-period binary companion.
- Sep 17 2011 astro-ph.IM gr-qc arXiv:1109.3498v2Aims. A transient astrophysical event observed in both gravitational wave (GW) and electromagnetic (EM) channels would yield rich scientific rewards. A first program initiating EM follow-ups to possible transient GW events has been developed and exercised by the LIGO and Virgo community in association with several partners. In this paper, we describe and evaluate the methods used to promptly identify and localize GW event candidates and to request images of targeted sky locations. Methods. During two observing periods (Dec 17 2009 to Jan 8 2010 and Sep 2 to Oct 20 2010), a low-latency analysis pipeline was used to identify GW event candidates and to reconstruct maps of possible sky locations. A catalog of nearby galaxies and Milky Way globular clusters was used to select the most promising sky positions to be imaged, and this directional information was delivered to EM observatories with time lags of about thirty minutes. A Monte Carlo simulation has been used to evaluate the low-latency GW pipeline's ability to reconstruct source positions correctly. Results. For signals near the detection threshold, our low-latency algorithms often localized simulated GW burst signals to tens of square degrees, while neutron star/neutron star inspirals and neutron star/black hole inspirals were localized to a few hundred square degrees. Localization precision improves for moderately stronger signals. The correct sky location of signals well above threshold and originating from nearby galaxies may be observed with ~50% or better probability with a few pointings of wide-field telescopes.
- Apr 15 2011 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1104.2712v2We present direct upper limits on continuous gravitational wave emission from the Vela pulsar using data from the Virgo detector's second science run. These upper limits have been obtained using three independent methods that assume the gravitational wave emission follows the radio timing. Two of the methods produce frequentist upper limits for an assumed known orientation of the star's spin axis and value of the wave polarization angle of, respectively, $1.9\ee{-24}$ and $2.2\ee{-24}$, with 95% confidence. The third method, under the same hypothesis, produces a Bayesian upper limit of $2.1\ee{-24}$, with 95% degree of belief. These limits are below the indirect \it spin-down limit of $3.3\ee{-24}$ for the Vela pulsar, defined by the energy loss rate inferred from observed decrease in Vela's spin frequency, and correspond to a limit on the star ellipticity of $\sim 10^{-3}$. Slightly less stringent results, but still well below the spin-down limit, are obtained assuming the star's spin axis inclination and the wave polarization angles are unknown.
- Apr 12 2011 gr-qc arXiv:1104.1704v1We introduce a search method for a new class of gravitational-wave signals, namely long-duration O(hours - weeks) transients from spinning neutron stars. We discuss the astrophysical motivation from glitch relaxation models and we derive a rough estimate for the maximal expected signal strength based on the superfluid excess rotational energy. The transient signal model considered here extends the traditional class of infinite-duration continuous-wave signals by a finite start-time and duration. We derive a multi-detector Bayes factor for these signals in Gaussian noise using $\F$-statistic amplitude priors, which simplifies the detection statistic and allows for an efficient implementation. We consider both a fully coherent statistic, which is computationally limited to directed searches for known pulsars, and a cheaper semi-coherent variant, suitable for wide parameter-space searches for transients from unknown neutron stars. We have tested our method by Monte-Carlo simulation, and we find that it outperforms orthodox maximum-likelihood approaches both in sensitivity and in parameter-estimation quality.
- While gravitational waves have not yet been measured directly, data analysis from detection experiments commonly includes an upper limit statement. Such upper limits may be derived via a frequentist or Bayesian approach; the theoretical implications are very different, and on the technical side, one notable difference is that one case requires maximization of the likelihood function over parameter space, while the other requires integration. Using a simple example (detection of a sinusoidal signal in white Gaussian noise), we investigate the differences in performance and interpretation, and the effect of the "trials factor", or "look-elsewhere effect".
- Feb 21 2011 gr-qc arXiv:1102.3781v1We present the first modeled search for gravitational waves using the complete binary black hole gravitational waveform from inspiral through the merger and ringdown for binaries with negligible component spin. We searched approximately 2 years of LIGO data taken between November 2005 and September 2007 for systems with component masses of 1-99 solar masses and total masses of 25-100 solar masses. We did not detect any plausible gravitational-wave signals but we do place upper limits on the merger rate of binary black holes as a function of the component masses in this range. We constrain the rate of mergers for binary black hole systems with component masses between 19 and 28 solar masses and negligible spin to be no more than 2.0 per Mpc^3 per Myr at 90% confidence.
- Nov 19 2010 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1011.4079v2Soft gamma repeaters (SGRs) and anomalous X-ray pulsars (AXPs) are thought to be magnetars: neutron stars powered by extreme magnetic fields. These rare objects are characterized by repeated and sometimes spectacular gamma-ray bursts. The burst mechanism might involve crustal fractures and excitation of non-radial modes which would emit gravitational waves (GWs). We present the results of a search for GW bursts from six galactic magnetars that is sensitive to neutron star f-modes, thought to be the most efficient GW emitting oscillatory modes in compact stars. One of them, SGR 0501+4516, is likely ~1 kpc from Earth, an order of magnitude closer than magnetars targeted in previous GW searches. A second, AXP 1E 1547.0-5408, gave a burst with an estimated isotropic energy >10^44 erg which is comparable to the giant flares. We find no evidence of GWs associated with a sample of 1279 electromagnetic triggers from six magnetars occurring between November 2006 and June 2009, in GW data from the LIGO, Virgo, and GEO600 detectors. Our lowest model-dependent GW emission energy upper limits for band- and time-limited white noise bursts in the detector sensitive band, and for f-mode ringdowns (at 1090 Hz), are 3.0x10^44 d_1^2 erg and 1.4x10^47 d_1^2 erg respectively, where d_1 = d_0501 / 1 kpc and d_0501 is the distance to SGR 0501+4516. These limits on GW emission from f-modes are an order of magnitude lower than any previous, and approach the range of electromagnetic energies seen in SGR giant flares for the first time.
- Nov 08 2010 gr-qc astro-ph.SR arXiv:1011.1357v3The physical mechanisms responsible for pulsar timing glitches are thought to excite quasi-normal mode oscillations in their parent neutron star that couple to gravitational wave emission. In August 2006, a timing glitch was observed in the radio emission of PSR B0833-45, the Vela pulsar. At the time of the glitch, the two co-located Hanford gravitational wave detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave observatory (LIGO) were operational and taking data as part of the fifth LIGO science run (S5). We present the first direct search for the gravitational wave emission associated with oscillations of the fundamental quadrupole mode excited by a pulsar timing glitch. No gravitational wave detection candidate was found. We place Bayesian 90% confidence upper limits of 6.3e-21 to 1.4e-20 on the peak intrinsic strain amplitude of gravitational wave ring-down signals, depending on which spherical harmonic mode is excited. The corresponding range of energy upper limits is 5.0e44 to 1.3e45 erg.
- Jul 23 2010 gr-qc arXiv:1007.3973v1The Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) is a network of three detectors built to detect local perturbations in the space-time metric from astrophysical sources. These detectors, two in Hanford, WA and one in Livingston, LA, are power-recycled Fabry-Perot Michelson interferometers. In their fifth science run (S5), between November 2005 and October 2007, these detectors accumulated one year of triple coincident data while operating at their designed sensitivity. In this paper, we describe the calibration of the instruments in the S5 data set, including measurement techniques and uncertainty estimation.
- Jun 15 2010 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1006.2535v2We present a search for periodic gravitational waves from the neutron star in the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A. The search coherently analyzes data in a 12-day interval taken from the fifth science run of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory. It searches gravitational wave frequencies from 100 to 300 Hz, and covers a wide range of first and second frequency derivatives appropriate for the age of the remnant and for different spin-down mechanisms. No gravitational wave signal was detected. Within the range of search frequencies, we set 95% confidence upper limits of 0.7--1.2e-24 on the intrinsic gravitational wave strain, 0.4--4e-4 on the equatorial ellipticity of the neutron star, and 0.005--0.14 on the amplitude of r-mode oscillations of the neutron star. These direct upper limits beat indirect limits derived from energy conservation and enter the range of theoretical predictions involving crystalline exotic matter or runaway r-modes. This is the first gravitational wave search to present upper limits on r-modes.
- We present an up-to-date, comprehensive summary of the rates for all types of compact binary coalescence sources detectable by the Initial and Advanced versions of the ground-based gravitational-wave detectors LIGO and Virgo. Astrophysical estimates for compact-binary coalescence rates depend on a number of assumptions and unknown model parameters, and are still uncertain. The most confident among these estimates are the rate predictions for coalescing binary neutron stars which are based on extrapolations from observed binary pulsars in our Galaxy. These yield a likely coalescence rate of 100 per Myr per Milky Way Equivalent Galaxy (MWEG), although the rate could plausibly range from 1 per Myr per MWEG to 1000 per Myr per MWEG. We convert coalescence rates into detection rates based on data from the LIGO S5 and Virgo VSR2 science runs and projected sensitivities for our Advanced detectors. Using the detector sensitivities derived from these data, we find a likely detection rate of 0.02 per year for Initial LIGO-Virgo interferometers, with a plausible range between 0.0002 and 0.2 per year. The likely binary neutron-star detection rate for the Advanced LIGO-Virgo network increases to 40 events per year, with a range between 0.4 and 400 per year.
- Mar 15 2010 gr-qc arXiv:1003.2481v3We summarize the sensitivity achieved by the LIGO and Virgo gravitational wave detectors for compact binary coalescence (CBC) searches during LIGO's fifth science run and Virgo's first science run. We present noise spectral density curves for each of the four detectors that operated during these science runs which are representative of the typical performance achieved by the detectors for CBC searches. These spectra are intended for release to the public as a summary of detector performance for CBC searches during these science runs.
- Dec 04 2009 gr-qc arXiv:0912.0548v2The Mock LISA Data Challenges are a program to demonstrate LISA data-analysis capabilities and to encourage their development. Each round of challenges consists of one or more datasets containing simulated instrument noise and gravitational waves from sources of undisclosed parameters. Participants analyze the datasets and report best-fit solutions for the source parameters. Here we present the results of the third challenge, issued in Apr 2008, which demonstrated the positive recovery of signals from chirping Galactic binaries, from spinning supermassive--black-hole binaries (with optimal SNRs between ~ 10 and 2000), from simultaneous extreme-mass-ratio inspirals (SNRs of 10-50), from cosmic-string-cusp bursts (SNRs of 10-100), and from a relatively loud isotropic background with Omega_gw(f) ~ 10^-11, slightly below the LISA instrument noise.
- We present a search for gravitational waves from 116 known millisecond and young pulsars using data from the fifth science run of the LIGO detectors. For this search ephemerides overlapping the run period were obtained for all pulsars using radio and X-ray observations. We demonstrate an updated search method that allows for small uncertainties in the pulsar phase parameters to be included in the search. We report no signal detection from any of the targets and therefore interpret our results as upper limits on the gravitational wave signal strength. The most interesting limits are those for young pulsars. We present updated limits on gravitational radiation from the Crab pulsar, where the measured limit is now a factor of seven below the spin-down limit. This limits the power radiated via gravitational waves to be less than ~2% of the available spin-down power. For the X-ray pulsar J0537-6910 we reach the spin-down limit under the assumption that any gravitational wave signal from it stays phase locked to the X-ray pulses over timing glitches, and for pulsars J1913+1011 and J1952+3252 we are only a factor of a few above the spin-down limit. Of the recycled millisecond pulsars several of the measured upper limits are only about an order of magnitude above their spin-down limits. For these our best (lowest) upper limit on gravitational wave amplitude is 2.3x10^-26 for J1603-7202 and our best (lowest) limit on the inferred pulsar ellipticity is 7.0x10^-8 for J2124-3358.