results for au:Romano_J in:gr-qc

- Dec 05 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.CO arXiv:1712.01168v2Cosmic strings are topological defects which can be formed in GUT-scale phase transitions in the early universe. They are also predicted to form in the context of string theory. The main mechanism for a network of Nambu-Goto cosmic strings to lose energy is through the production of loops and the subsequent emission of gravitational waves, thus offering an experimental signature for the existence of cosmic strings. Here we report on the analysis conducted to specifically search for gravitational-wave bursts from cosmic string loops in the data of Advanced LIGO 2015-2016 observing run (O1). No evidence of such signals was found in the data, and as a result we set upper limits on the cosmic string parameters for three recent loop distribution models. In this paper, we initially derive constraints on the string tension $G\mu$ and the intercommutation probability, using not only the burst analysis performed on the O1 data set, but also results from the previously published LIGO stochastic O1 analysis, pulsar timing arrays, cosmic microwave background and Big-Bang nucleosynthesis experiments. We show that these data sets are complementary in that they probe gravitational waves produced by cosmic string loops during very different epochs. Finally, we show that the data sets exclude large parts of the parameter space of the three loop distribution models we consider.
- 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 17 2017 gr-qc arXiv:1710.05837v1The LIGO Scientific and Virgo Collaborations have announced the first detection of gravitational waves from the coalescence of two neutron stars. The merger rate of binary neutron stars estimated from this event suggests that distant, unresolvable binary neutron stars create a significant astrophysical stochastic gravitational-wave background. The binary neutron star background will add to the background from binary black holes, increasing the amplitude of the total astrophysical background relative to previous expectations. In the Advanced LIGO-Virgo frequency band most sensitive to stochastic backgrounds (near 25 Hz), we predict a total astrophysical background with amplitude $\Omega_{\rm GW} (f=25 \text{Hz}) = 1.8_{-1.3}^{+2.7} \times 10^{-9}$ with $90\%$ confidence, compared with $\Omega_{\rm GW} (f=25 \text{Hz}) = 1.1_{-0.7}^{+1.2} \times 10^{-9}$ from binary black holes alone. Assuming the most probable rate for compact binary mergers, we find that the total background may be detectable with a signal-to-noise-ratio of 3 after 40 months of total observation time, based on the expected timeline for Advanced LIGO and Virgo to reach their design sensitivity.
- Oct 09 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.IM arXiv:1710.02185v3The first observing run of Advanced LIGO spanned 4 months, from September 12, 2015 to January 19, 2016, during which gravitational waves were directly detected from two binary black hole systems, namely GW150914 and GW151226. Confident detection of gravitational waves requires an understanding of instrumental transients and artifacts that can reduce the sensitivity of a search. Studies of the quality of the detector data yield insights into the cause of instrumental artifacts and data quality vetoes specific to a search are produced to mitigate the effects of problematic data. In this paper, the systematic removal of noisy data from analysis time is shown to improve the sensitivity of searches for compact binary coalescences. The output of the PyCBC pipeline, which is a python-based code package used to search for gravitational wave signals from compact binary coalescences, is used as a metric for improvement. GW150914 was a loud enough signal that removing noisy data did not improve its significance. However, the removal of data with excess noise decreased the false alarm rate of GW151226 by more than two orders of magnitude, from 1 in 770 years to less than 1 in 186000 years.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Aug 25 2016 gr-qc arXiv:1608.06889v2We review detection methods that are currently in use or have been proposed to search for a stochastic background of gravitational radiation. We consider both Bayesian and frequentist searches using ground-based and space-based laser interferometers, spacecraft Doppler tracking, and pulsar timing arrays; and we allow for anisotropy, non-Gaussianity, and non-standard polarization states. Our focus is on relevant data analysis issues, and not on the particular astrophysical or early Universe sources that might give rise to such backgrounds. We provide a unified treatment of these searches at the level of detector response functions, detection sensitivity curves, and, more generally, at the level of the likelihood function, since the choice of signal and noise models and prior probability distributions are actually what define the search. Pedagogical examples are given whenever possible to compare and contrast different approaches. We have tried to make the article as self-contained and comprehensive as possible, targeting graduate students and new researchers looking to enter this field.
- 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.
- 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.
- We present the results of a search for long-duration gravitational wave transients in two sets of data collected by the LIGO Hanford and LIGO Livingston detectors between November 5, 2005 and September 30, 2007, and July 7, 2009 and October 20, 2010, with a total observational time of 283.0 days and 132.9 days, respectively. The search targets gravitational wave transients of duration 10 - 500 s in a frequency band of 40 - 1000 Hz, with minimal assumptions about the signal waveform, polarization, source direction, or time of occurrence. All candidate triggers were consistent with the expected background; as a result we set 90% confidence upper limits on the rate of long-duration gravitational wave transients for different types of gravitational wave signals. For signals from black hole accretion disk instabilities, we set upper limits on the source rate density between $3.4 \times 10^{-5}$ - $9.4 \times 10^{-4}$ Mpc$^{-3}$ yr$^{-1}$ at 90% confidence. These are the first results from an all-sky search for unmodeled long-duration transient gravitational waves.
- In this paper we present the results of the first low frequency all-sky search of continuous gravitational wave signals conducted on Virgo VSR2 and VSR4 data. The search covered the full sky, a frequency range between 20 Hz and 128 Hz with a range of spin-down between $-1.0 \times 10^{-10}$ Hz/s and $+1.5 \times 10^{-11}$ Hz/s, and was based on a hierarchical approach. The starting point was a set of short Fast Fourier Transforms (FFT), of length 8192 seconds, built from the calibrated strain data. Aggressive data cleaning, both in the time and frequency domains, has been done in order to remove, as much as possible, the effect of disturbances of instrumental origin. On each dataset a number of candidates has been selected, using the FrequencyHough transform in an incoherent step. Only coincident candidates among VSR2 and VSR4 have been examined in order to strongly reduce the false alarm probability, and the most significant candidates have been selected. The criteria we have used for candidate selection and for the coincidence step greatly reduce the harmful effect of large instrumental artifacts. Selected candidates have been subject to a follow-up by constructing a new set of longer FFTs followed by a further incoherent analysis. No evidence for continuous gravitational wave signals was found, therefore we have set a population-based joint VSR2-VSR4 90$\%$ confidence level upper limit on the dimensionless gravitational wave strain in the frequency range between 20 Hz and 128 Hz. This is the first all-sky search for continuous gravitational waves conducted at frequencies below 50 Hz. We set upper limits in the range between about $10^{-24}$ and $2\times 10^{-23}$ at most frequencies. Our upper limits on signal strain show an improvement of up to a factor of $\sim$2 with respect to the results of previous all-sky searches at frequencies below $80~\mathrm{Hz}$.
- Jun 30 2015 gr-qc arXiv:1506.08668v1We extend our previous work on applying CMB techniques to the mapping of gravitational-wave backgrounds to backgrounds which have non-GR polarisations. Our analysis and results are presented in the context of pulsar-timing array observations, but the overarching methods are general, and can be easily applied to LIGO or eLISA observations using appropriately modified response functions. Analytic expressions for the pulsar-timing response to gravitational waves with non-GR polarisation are given for each mode of a spin-weighted spherical-harmonic decomposition of the background, which permit the signal to be mapped across the sky to any desired resolution. We also derive the pulsar-timing overlap reduction functions for the various non-GR polarisations, finding analytic forms for anisotropic backgrounds with scalar-transverse ("breathing") and vector-longitudinal polarisations, and a semi-analytic form for scalar-longitudinal backgrounds. Our results indicate that pulsar-timing observations will be completely insensitive to scalar-transverse mode anisotropies in the polarisation amplitude beyond dipole, and anisotropies in the power beyond quadrupole. Analogously to our previous findings that pulsar-timing observations lack sensitivity to tensor-curl modes for a transverse-traceless tensor background, we also find insensitivity to vector-curl modes for a vector-longitudinal background.
- The purpose of this mock data and science challenge is to prepare the data analysis and science interpretation for the second generation of gravitational-wave experiments Advanced LIGO-Virgo in the search for a stochastic gravitational-wave background signal of astrophysical origin. Here we present a series of signal and data challenges, with increasing complexity, whose aim is to test the ability of current data analysis pipelines at detecting an astrophysically produced gravitational-wave background, test parameter estimation methods and interpret the results. We introduce the production of these mock data sets that includes a realistic observing scenario data set where we account for different sensitivities of the advanced detectors as they are continuously upgraded toward their design sensitivity. After analysing these with the standard isotropic cross-correlation pipeline we find that we are able to recover the injected gravitational-wave background energy density to within $2\sigma$ for all of the data sets and present the results from the parameter estimation. The results from this mock data and science challenge show that advanced LIGO and Virgo will be ready and able to make a detection of an astrophysical gravitational-wave background within a few years of operations of the advanced detectors, given a high enough rate of compact binary coalescing events.
- We discuss the detection of gravitational-wave backgrounds in the context of Bayesian inference and suggest a practical definition of what it means for a signal to be considered stochastic---namely, that the Bayesian evidence favors a stochastic signal model over a deterministic signal model. A signal can further be classified as Gaussian-stochastic if a Gaussian signal model is favored. In our analysis we use Bayesian model selection to choose between several signal and noise models for simulated data consisting of uncorrelated Gaussian detector noise plus a superposition of sinusoidal signals from an astrophysical population of gravitational-wave sources. For simplicity, we consider co-located and co-aligned detectors with white detector noise, but the method can be extended to more realistic detector configurations and power spectra. The general trend we observe is that a deterministic model is favored for small source numbers, a non-Gaussian stochastic model is preferred for intermediate source numbers, and a Gaussian stochastic model is preferred for large source numbers. However, there is very large variation between individual signal realizations, leading to fuzzy boundaries between the three regimes. We find that a hybrid, trans-dimensional model comprised of a deterministic signal model for individual bright sources and a Gaussian-stochastic signal model for the remaining confusion background outperforms all other models in most instances.
- May 28 2015 gr-qc arXiv:1505.07179v1We extend the formalisms developed in Gair et al. and Cornish and van Haasteren to create maps of gravitational-wave backgrounds using a network of ground-based laser interferometers. We show that in contrast to pulsar timing arrays, which are insensitive to half of the gravitational-wave sky (the curl modes), a network of ground-based interferometers is sensitive to both the gradient and curl components of the background. The spatial separation of a network of interferometers, or of a single interferometer at different times during its rotational and orbital motion around the Sun, allows for recovery of both components. We derive expressions for the response functions of a laser interferometer in the small-antenna limit, and use these expressions to calculate the overlap reduction function for a pair of interferometers. We also construct maximum-likelihood estimates of the + and x-polarization modes of the gravitational-wave sky in terms of the response matrix for a network of ground-based interferometers, evaluated at discrete times during Earth's rotational and orbital motion around the Sun. We demonstrate the feasibility of this approach for some simple simulated backgrounds (a single point source and spatially-extended distributions having only grad or curl components), calculating maximum-likelihood sky maps and uncertainty maps based on the (pseudo)inverse of the response matrix. The distinction between this approach and standard methods for mapping gravitational-wave power is also discussed.
- Dec 04 2014 gr-qc arXiv:1412.1142v2Searches for stochastic gravitational-wave backgrounds using pulsar timing arrays look for correlations in the timing residuals induced by the background across the pulsars in the array. The correlation signature of an isotropic, unpolarized gravitational-wave background predicted by general relativity follows the so-called Hellings and Downs curve, which is a relatively simple function of the angle between a pair of Earth-pulsar baselines. In this paper, we give a pedagogical discussion of the Hellings and Downs curve for pulsar timing arrays, considering simpler analogous scenarios involving sound and electromagnetic waves. We calculate Hellings-and-Downs-type functions for these two scenarios and develop a framework suitable for doing more general correlation calculations.
- 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.
- Oct 24 2014 gr-qc astro-ph.IM arXiv:1410.6211v3Searches for a stochastic gravitational-wave background (SGWB) using terrestrial detectors typically involve cross-correlating data from pairs of detectors. The sensitivity of such cross-correlation analyses depends, among other things, on the separation between the two detectors: the smaller the separation, the better the sensitivity. Hence, a co-located detector pair is more sensitive to a gravitational-wave background than a non-co-located detector pair. However, co-located detectors are also expected to suffer from correlated noise from instrumental and environmental effects that could contaminate the measurement of the background. Hence, methods to identify and mitigate the effects of correlated noise are necessary to achieve the potential increase in sensitivity of co-located detectors. Here we report on the first SGWB analysis using the two LIGO Hanford detectors and address the complications arising from correlated environmental noise. We apply correlated noise identification and mitigation techniques to data taken by the two LIGO Hanford detectors, H1 and H2, during LIGO's fifth science run. At low frequencies, 40 - 460 Hz, we are unable to sufficiently mitigate the correlated noise to a level where we may confidently measure or bound the stochastic gravitational-wave signal. However, at high frequencies, 460-1000 Hz, these techniques are sufficient to set a $95%$ confidence level (C.L.) upper limit on the gravitational-wave energy density of \Omega(f)<7.7 x 10^-4 (f/ 900 Hz)^3, which improves on the previous upper limit by a factor of $\sim 180$. In doing so, we demonstrate techniques that will be useful for future searches using advanced detectors, where correlated noise (e.g., from global magnetic fields) may affect even widely separated detectors.
- Jun 19 2014 gr-qc arXiv:1406.4664v2We describe an alternative approach to the analysis of gravitational-wave backgrounds, based on the formalism used to characterise the polarisation of the cosmic microwave background. In contrast to standard analyses, this approach makes no assumptions about the nature of the background and so has the potential to reveal much more about the physical processes that generated it. An arbitrary background can be decomposed into modes whose angular dependence on the sky is given by gradients and curls of spherical harmonics. We derive the pulsar timing overlap reduction functions for the individual modes, which are given by simple combinations of spherical harmonics evaluated at the pulsar locations. We show how these can be used to recover the components of an arbitrary background, giving explicit results for both isotropic and anisotropic uncorrelated backgrounds. We also find that the response of a pulsar timing array to curl modes is identically zero, so half of the gravitational-wave sky will never be observed using pulsar timing, no matter how many pulsars are included in the array. An isotropic, unpolarised and uncorrelated background can be accurately represented using only three modes, and so a search of this type will be only slightly more complicated than the standard cross-correlation search using the Hellings and Downs overlap reduction function. However, by measuring the components of individual modes of the background and checking for consistency with isotropy, this approach has the potential to reveal much more information. Each individual mode on its own describes a background that is correlated between different points on the sky. A measurement of the components that indicates the presence of correlations in the background on large angular scales would suggest startling new physics.
- Gravitational waves from a variety of sources are predicted to superpose to create a stochastic background. This background is expected to contain unique information from throughout the history of the universe that is unavailable through standard electromagnetic observations, making its study of fundamental importance to understanding the evolution of the universe. We carry out a search for the stochastic background with the latest data from LIGO and Virgo. Consistent with predictions from most stochastic gravitational-wave background models, the data display no evidence of a stochastic gravitational-wave signal. Assuming a gravitational-wave spectrum of Omega_GW(f)=Omega_alpha*(f/f_ref)^alpha, we place 95% confidence level upper limits on the energy density of the background in each of four frequency bands spanning 41.5-1726 Hz. In the frequency band of 41.5-169.25 Hz for a spectral index of alpha=0, we constrain the energy density of the stochastic background to be Omega_GW(f)<5.6x10^-6. For the 600-1000 Hz band, Omega_GW(f)<0.14*(f/900 Hz)^3, a factor of 2.5 lower than the best previously reported upper limits. We find Omega_GW(f)<1.8x10^-4 using a spectral index of zero for 170-600 Hz and Omega_GW(f)<1.0*(f/1300 Hz)^3 for 1000-1726 Hz, bands in which no previous direct limits have been placed. The limits in these four bands are the lowest direct measurements to date on the stochastic background. We discuss the implications of these results in light of the recent claim by the BICEP2 experiment of the possible evidence for inflationary gravitational waves.
- 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.
- Oct 22 2013 astro-ph.IM gr-qc arXiv:1310.5300v2We propose a graphical representation of detector sensitivity curves for stochastic gravitational-wave backgrounds that takes into account the increase in sensitivity that comes from integrating over frequency in addition to integrating over time. This method is valid for backgrounds that have a power-law spectrum in the analysis band. We call these graphs "power-law integrated curves." For simplicity, we consider cross-correlation searches for unpolarized and isotropic stochastic backgrounds using two or more detectors. We apply our method to construct power-law integrated sensitivity curves for second-generation ground-based detectors such as Advanced LIGO, space-based detectors such as LISA and the Big Bang Observer, and timing residuals from a pulsar timing array. The code used to produce these plots is available at https://dcc.ligo.org/LIGO-P1300115/public for researchers interested in constructing similar sensitivity curves.
- Sep 25 2013 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1309.6160v3Long gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) have been linked to extreme core-collapse supernovae from massive stars. Gravitational waves (GW) offer a probe of the physics behind long GRBs. We investigate models of long-lived (~10-1000s) GW emission associated with the accretion disk of a collapsed star or with its protoneutron star remnant. Using data from LIGO's fifth science run, and GRB triggers from the swift experiment, we perform a search for unmodeled long-lived GW transients. Finding no evidence of GW emission, we place 90% confidence level upper limits on the GW fluence at Earth from long GRBs for three waveforms inspired by a model of GWs from accretion disk instabilities. These limits range from F<3.5 ergs cm^-2 to $F<1200 ergs cm^-2, depending on the GRB and on the model, allowing us to probe optimistic scenarios of GW production out to distances as far as ~33 Mpc. Advanced detectors are expected to achieve strain sensitivities 10x better than initial LIGO, potentially allowing us to probe the engines of the nearest long GRBs.
- 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.
- May 14 2013 gr-qc arXiv:1305.2934v2We present a unified description of gravitational-wave data analysis that unites the template-based analysis used to detect deterministic signals from well-modeled sources, such as binary-black-hole mergers, with the cross-correlation analysis used to detect stochastic gravitational-wave backgrounds. We also discuss the connection between template-based analyses and those that target poorly-modeled bursts of gravitational waves, and suggest a new approach for detecting burst signals.
- Apr 02 2013 gr-qc astro-ph.IM arXiv:1304.0369v1In 1676 Olaus Rømer presented the first observational evidence for a finite light velocity $\cem$. He formed his estimate by attributing the periodically varying discrepancy between the observed and expected occultation times of the Galilean satellite Io by its planetary host Jupiter to the time it takes light to cross Earth's orbital diameter. Given a stable celestial clock that can be observed in gravitational waves the same principle can be used to measure the propagation speed $\cgw$ of gravitational radiation. Space-based "LISA"-like detectors will, and terrestrial LIGO-like detectors may, observe such clocks and thus be capable of directly measuring the propagation velocity of gravitational waves. In the case of space-based detectors the clocks will be galactic close white dwarf binary systems; in the case of terrestrial detectors, the most likely candidate clock is the periodic gravitational radiation from a rapidly rotating non-axisymmetric neutron star. Here we evaluate the accuracy that may be expected of such a Rømer-type measurement of $\cgw$ by foreseeable future space-based and terrestrial detectors. For space-based, LISA-like detectors, periodic sources are plentiful: by the end of the first year of scientific operations a LISA-like detector will have measured $\cgw$ to better than a part in a thousand. Periodic sources may not be accessible in terrestrial detectors available to us in the foreseeable future; however, if such a source is detected then with a year of observations we could measure $\cgw$ to better than a part in a million.
- 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 15 2012 gr-qc astro-ph.IM arXiv:1205.3112v3Uncertainty in the calibration of gravitational-wave (GW) detector data leads to systematic errors which must be accounted for in setting limits on the strength of GW signals. When cross-correlation measurements are made using data from a pair of instruments, as in searches for a stochastic GW background, the calibration uncertainties of the individual instruments can be combined into an uncertainty associated with the pair. With the advent of multi-baseline GW observation (e.g., networks consisting of multiple detectors such as the LIGO observatories and Virgo), a more sophisticated treatment is called for. We describe how the correlations between calibration factors associated with different pairs can be taken into account by marginalizing over the uncertainty associated with each instrument.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Aug 27 2009 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:0908.3824v2We present the results of a search for gravitational-wave bursts associated with 137 gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) that were detected by satellite-based gamma-ray experiments during the fifth LIGO science run and first Virgo science run. The data used in this analysis were collected from 2005 November 4 to 2007 October 1, and most of the GRB triggers were from the Swift satellite. The search uses a coherent network analysis method that takes into account the different locations and orientations of the interferometers at the three LIGO-Virgo sites. We find no evidence for gravitational-wave burst signals associated with this sample of GRBs. Using simulated short-duration (<1 s) waveforms, we set upper limits on the amplitude of gravitational waves associated with each GRB. We also place lower bounds on the distance to each GRB under the assumption of a fixed energy emission in gravitational waves, with typical limits of D ~ 15 Mpc (E_GW^iso / 0.01 M_o c^2)^1/2 for emission at frequencies around 150 Hz, where the LIGO-Virgo detector network has best sensitivity. We present astrophysical interpretations and implications of these results, and prospects for corresponding searches during future LIGO-Virgo runs.
- Nov 24 2008 gr-qc arXiv:0811.3582v2Detection of a gravitational-wave stochastic background via ground or space-based gravitational-wave detectors requires the cross-correlation of the response of two or more independent detectors. The cross-correlation involves a frequency-dependent factor -- the so-called overlap reduction function or Hellings-Downs curve -- that depends on the relative geometry of each detector pair: i.e., the detector separations and the relative orientation of their antenna patterns (beams). An incorrect formulation of this geometrical factor has appeared in the literature, leading to incorrect conclusions regarding the sensitivity of proposed detectors to a stochastic gravitational-wave background. To rectify these errors and as a reference for future work we provide here a complete, first-principles derivation of the overlap reduction function and assess the nature of the errors associated with the use of the incorrect expression that has appeared in the literature. We describe the behavior of the overlap reduction function in different limiting regimes, and show how the difference between the correct and incorrect expressions can be understood physically.
- Aug 29 2008 gr-qc arXiv:0808.3805v1Searches for gravitational waves with km-scale laser interferometers often involve the long-wavelength approximation to describe the detector response. The prevailing assumption is that the corrections to the detector response due to its finite size are small and the errors due to the long-wavelength approximation are negligible. Recently, however, Baskaran and Grishchuk (2004 Class. Quantum Grav. 21 4041) found that in a simple Michelson interferometer such errors can be as large as 10 percent. For more accurate analysis, these authors proposed to use a linear-frequency correction to the long wavelength approximation. In this paper we revisit these calculations. We show that the linear-frequency correction is inadequate for certain locations in the sky and therefore accurate analysis requires taking into account the exact formula, commonly derived from the photon round-trip propagation time. Also, we extend the calculations to include the effect of Fabry-Perot resonators in the interferometer arms. Here we show that a simple approximation which combines the long-wavelength Michelson response with the single-pole approximation to the Fabry-Perot transfer function produces rather accurate results. In particular, the difference between the exact and the approximate formulae is at most 2-3 percent for those locations in the sky where the detector response is greater than half of its maximum value. We analyse the impact of such errors on detection sensitivity and parameter estimation in searches for periodic gravitational waves emitted by a known pulsar, and in searches for an isotropic stochastic gravitational-wave background. At frequencies up to 1 kHz, the effect of such errors is at most 1-2 percent. For higher frequencies, or if more accuracy is required, one should use the exact formula for the response.
- We present direct upper limits on gravitational wave emission from the Crab pulsar using data from the first nine months of the fifth science run of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO). These limits are based on two searches. In the first we assume that the gravitational wave emission follows the observed radio timing, giving an upper limit on gravitational wave emission that beats indirect limits inferred from the spin-down and braking index of the pulsar and the energetics of the nebula. In the second we allow for a small mismatch between the gravitational and radio signal frequencies and interpret our results in the context of two possible gravitational wave emission mechanisms.
- The analysis method currently proposed to search for isotropic stochastic radiation of primordial or astrophysical origin with the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) relies on the combined use of two LISA channels, one of which is insensitive to gravitational waves, such as the symmetrised Sagnac. For this method to work, it is essential to know how the instrumental noise power in the two channels are related to one another; however, no quantitative estimates of this key information are available to date. The purpose of our study is to assess the performance of the symmetrised Sagnac method for different levels of prior information regarding the instrumental noise. We develop a general approach in the framework of Bayesian inference and an end-to-end analysis algorithm based on Markov Chain Monte Carlo methods to compute the posterior probability density functions of the relevant model parameters. We apply this method to data released as part of the second round of the Mock LISA Data Challenges. For the selected (and somewhat idealised) cases considered here, we find that a prior uncertainty of a factor ~2 in the ratio between the power of the instrumental noise contributions in the two channels allows for the detection of isotropic stochastic radiation. More importantly, we provide a framework for more realistic studies of LISA's performance and development of analysis techniques in the context of searches for stochastic signals.
- Feb 09 2006 gr-qc arXiv:gr-qc/0602033v1Data from the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) is expected to be dominated by frequency noise from its lasers. However the noise from any one laser appears more than once in the data and there are combinations of the data that are insensitive to this noise. These combinations, called time delay interferometry (TDI) variables, have received careful study, and point the way to how LISA data analysis may be performed. Here we approach the problem from the direction of statistical inference, and show that these variables are a direct consequence of a principal component analysis of the problem. We present a formal analysis for a simple LISA model and show that there are eigenvectors of the noise covariance matrix that do not depend on laser frequency noise. Importantly, these orthogonal basis vectors correspond to linear combinations of TDI variables. As a result we show that the likelihood function for source parameters using LISA data can be based on TDI combinations of the data without loss of information.
- Aug 15 2005 gr-qc arXiv:gr-qc/0508052v2The expansion of the universe is often viewed as a uniform stretching of space that would affect compact objects, atoms and stars, as well as the separation of galaxies. One usually hears that bound systems do not take part in the general expansion, but a much more subtle question is whether bound systems expand partially. In this paper, a very definitive answer is given for a very simple system: a classical "atom" bound by electrical attraction. With a mathemical description appropriate for undergraduate physics majors, we show that this bound system either completely follows the cosmological expansion, or -- after initial transients -- completely ignores it. This "all or nothing" behavior can be understood with techniques of junior-level mechanics. Lastly, the simple description is shown to be a justifiable approximation of the relativistically correct formulation of the problem.
- Mar 24 2004 gr-qc arXiv:gr-qc/0403093v3This article derives an optimal (i.e., unbiased, minimum variance) estimator for the pseudo-detector strain for a pair of co-located gravitational wave interferometers (such as the pair of LIGO interferometers at its Hanford Observatory), allowing for possible instrumental correlations between the two detectors. The technique is robust and does not involve any assumptions or approximations regarding the relative strength of gravitational wave signals in the detector pair with respect to other sources of correlated instrumental or environmental noise. An expression is given for the effective power spectral density of the combined noise in the pseudo-detector. This can then be introduced into the standard optimal Wiener filter used to cross-correlate detector data streams in order to obtain an optimal estimate of the stochastic gravitational wave background. In addition, a dual to the optimal estimate of strain is derived. This dual is constructed to contain no gravitational wave signature and can thus be used as on "off-source" measurement to test algorithms used in the "on-source" observation.
- May 06 2002 gr-qc arXiv:gr-qc/0205015v1In a previous paper (gr-qc/0105100) we derived a set of near-optimal signal detection techniques for gravitational wave detectors whose noise probability distributions contain non-Gaussian tails. The methods modify standard methods by truncating sample values which lie in those non-Gaussian tails. The methods were derived, in the frequentist framework, by minimizing false alarm probabilities at fixed false detection probability in weak signal limit. For stochastic signals, the resulting statistic consisted of a sum of an auto-correlation term and a cross-correlation term; it was necessary to discard by hand the auto-correlation term to obtain the correct, generalized cross-correlation statistic. In the present paper, we present an alternative Bayesian derivation of the same signal detection techniques. We compute the probability that a signal is present in the data, in the limit where the signal-to-noise ratio squared per frequency bin is small, where the integrated signal-to-noise ratio is large compared to one, and where the total probability in the non-Gaussian tail part of the noise distribution is small. We show that, for each model considered, the resulting probability is to a good approximation a monotonic function of the detection statistic derived in the previous paper. Moreover, for stochastic signals, the new Bayesian derivation automatically eliminates the problematic auto-correlation term.
- Oct 03 2001 gr-qc arXiv:gr-qc/0110019v1One of the types of signals for which the LIGO interferometric gravitational wave detectors will search is a stochastic background of gravitational radiation. We review the technique of searching for a background using the optimally-filtered cross-correlation statistic, and describe the state of plans to perform such cross-correlations between the two LIGO interferometers as well as between LIGO and other gravitational-wave detectors, in particular the preparation of software to perform such data analysis.
- May 29 2001 gr-qc arXiv:gr-qc/0105100v2Gravitational wave detectors will need optimal signal-processing algorithms to extract weak signals from the detector noise. Most algorithms designed to date are based on the unrealistic assumption that the detector noise may be modeled as a stationary Gaussian process. However most experiments exhibit a non-Gaussian ``tail'' in the probability distribution. This ``excess'' of large signals can be a troublesome source of false alarms. This article derives an optimal (in the Neyman-Pearson sense, for weak signals) signal processing strategy when the detector noise is non-Gaussian and exhibits tail terms. This strategy is robust, meaning that it is close to optimal for Gaussian noise but far less sensitive than conventional methods to the excess large events that form the tail of the distribution. The method is analyzed for two different signal analysis problems: (i) a known waveform (e.g., a binary inspiral chirp) and (ii) a stochastic background, which requires a multi-detector signal processing algorithm. The methods should be easy to implement: they amount to truncation or clipping of sample values which lie in the outlier part of the probability distribution.
- Nov 03 1999 gr-qc arXiv:gr-qc/9911001v1An overview of some tools and techniques being developed for data conditioning (regression of instrumental and environmental artifacts from the data channel), detector design evaluation (modeling the science ``reach'' of alternative detector designs and configurations), noise simulations for mock data challenges and analysis system validation, and analyses for the detection of gravitational radiation from gamma-ray burst sources.
- If $\gamma$-ray bursts (GRBs) are accompanied by gravitational wave bursts (GWBs) the correlated output of two gravitational wave detectors evaluated in the moments just prior to a GRB will differ from that evaluated at times not associated with a GRB. We can test for this difference independently of any model of the GWB signal waveform. If we invoke a model for the GRB source population and GWB radiation spectral density we can find a confidence interval or upper limit on the root-mean-square GWB signal amplitude in the detector waveband. To illustrate we adopt a simple, physically motivated model and estimate that initial LIGO detector observations coincident with 1000 GRBs could lead us to exclude, with 95% confidence, associated GWBs with $h_{RMS} \gtrsim 1.7 \times 10^{-22}$. This result does not require the detector noise be Gaussian or that any inter-detector correlated noise be measured or measurable; it does not require advanced or a priori knowledge of the source waveform; and the limits obtained on the wave-strength improve with the number of observed GRBs.
- Dec 15 1998 gr-qc arXiv:gr-qc/9812041v3The geometry of two infinitely long lines of mass moving in a fixed circular orbit is considered as a toy model for the inspiral of a binary system of compact objects due to gravitational radiation. The two Killing fields in the toy model are used, according to a formalism introduced by Geroch, to describe the geometry entirely in terms of a set of tensor fields on the two-manifold of Killing vector orbits. Geroch's derivation of the Einstein equations in this formalism is streamlined and generalized. The explicit Einstein equations for the toy model spacetime are derived in terms of the degrees of freedom which remain after a particular choice of gauge.