results for au:Thrane_E in:gr-qc

- Feb 15 2018 gr-qc arXiv:1802.05241v1We report on a new all-sky search for periodic gravitational waves in the frequency band 475-2000 Hz and with a frequency time derivative in the range of [-1.0e-8, +1e-9] Hz/s. Potential signals could be produced by a nearby spinning and slightly non-axisymmetric isolated neutron star in our galaxy. This search uses the data from Advanced LIGO's first observational run O1. No gravitational wave signals were observed, and upper limits were placed on their strengths. For completeness, results from the separately published low frequency search 20-475 Hz are included as well. Our lowest upper limit on worst-case (linearly polarized) strain amplitude h_0 is 4e-25 near 170 Hz, while at the high end of our frequency range we achieve a worst-case upper limit of 1.3e-24. For a circularly polarized source (most favorable orientation), the smallest upper limit obtained is ~1.5e-25.
- Feb 06 2018 gr-qc arXiv:1802.00885v2Correlated magnetic noise from Schumann resonances threatens to contaminate the observation of a stochastic gravitational-wave background in interferometric detectors. In previous work, we reported on the first effort to eliminate global correlated noise from the Schumann resonances using Wiener filtering, demonstrating as much as a factor of two reduction in the coherence between magnetometers on different continents. In this work, we present results from dedicated magnetometer measurements at the Virgo and KAGRA sites, which are the first results for subtraction using data from gravitational-wave detector sites. We compare these measurements to a growing network of permanent magnetometer stations, including at the LIGO sites. We show how dedicated measurements can reduce coherence to a level consistent with uncorrelated noise. We also show the effect of mutual magnetometer attraction, arguing that magnetometers should be placed at least one meter from one another.
- 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.
- Roughly every 2-10 minutes, a pair of stellar mass black holes merge somewhere in the Universe. A small fraction of these mergers are detected as individually resolvable gravitational-wave events by advanced detectors such as LIGO and Virgo. The rest contribute to a stochastic background. We derive the statistically optimal search strategy for a background of unresolved binaries. Our method applies Bayesian parameter estimation to all available data. Using Monte Carlo simulations, we demonstrate that the search is both "safe" and effective: it is not fooled by instrumental artefacts such as glitches, and it recovers simulated stochastic signals without bias. Given realistic assumptions, we estimate that the search can detect the binary black hole background with about one day of design sensitivity data versus $\approx 40$ months using the traditional cross-correlation search. This framework independently constrains the merger rate and black hole mass distribution, breaking a degeneracy present in the cross-correlation approach. The search provides a unified framework for population studies of compact binaries, which is cast in terms of hyper-parameter estimation. We discuss a number of extensions and generalizations including: application to other sources (such as binary neutron stars and continuous-wave sources), simultaneous estimation of a continuous Gaussian background, and applications to pulsar timing.
- Nov 28 2017 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1711.09226v1The recent LIGO-Virgo detection of gravitational waves from a binary neutron star inspiral event GW170817 and the discovery of its accompanying electromagnetic signals mark a new era for multi-messenger astronomy. In the coming years, advanced gravitational-wave detectors are likely to detect tens to hundreds of similar events. Neutron stars in binaries can possess significant spin, which is imprinted on the gravitational waveform via the effective spin parameter $\chi_\text{eff}$. We explore the astrophysical inferences made possible by current and future gravitational-wave measurements of $\chi_\text{eff}$. First---using a fiducial model informed by radio observations---we estimate that $\approx15-40\%$ of binary neutron stars should have spins measurable by advanced detectors ($\chi_{\text{eff}}>0.01$) assuming the spin axis of the recycled neutron star aligns with the total orbital angular momentum of the binary. Second, using Bayesian inference, we show that it is possible to distinguish between our fiducial model and some extreme initial spin period distributions using $\gtrsim 10$ detections. Third, with $\gtrsim 50$ detections, we can confidently tell whether or not the spin axis of the recycled neutron star tends to be aligned with the binary orbit. Finally, stringent constraints can be placed on neutron star magnetic field decay after $\gtrsim 200$ detections, if the spin periods and magnetic field strengths of Galactic binary neutron stars are representative of the merging population.
- Nov 21 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1711.06843v1We present the results of a search for long-duration gravitational wave transients in the data of the LIGO Hanford and LIGO Livingston second generation detectors between September 2015 and January 2016, with a total observational time of 49 days. The search targets gravitational wave transients of \unit[10 -- 500]s duration in a frequency band of \unit[24 -- 2048]Hz, with minimal assumptions about the signal waveform, polarization, source direction, or time of occurrence. No significant events were observed. %All candidate triggers were consistent with the expected background, As a result we set 90\% confidence upper limits on the rate of long-duration gravitational wave transients for different types of gravitational wave signals. We also show that the search is sensitive to sources in the Galaxy emitting at least $\sim$ \unit[$10^{-8}$]$\mathrm{M_{\odot} c^2}$ in gravitational waves.
- Nov 16 2017 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1711.05578v1On June 8, 2017 at 02:01:16.49 UTC, a gravitational-wave signal from the merger of two stellar-mass black holes was observed by the two Advanced LIGO detectors with a network signal-to-noise ratio of 13. This system is the lightest black hole binary so far observed, with component masses $12^{+7}_{-2}\,M_\odot$ and $7^{+2}_{-2}\,M_\odot$ (90% credible intervals). These lie in the range of measured black hole masses in low-mass X-ray binaries, thus allowing us to compare black holes detected through gravitational waves with electromagnetic observations. The source's luminosity distance is $340^{+140}_{-140}$ Mpc, corresponding to redshift $0.07^{+0.03}_{-0.03}$. We verify that the signal waveform is consistent with the predictions of general relativity.
- Oct 26 2017 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1710.09320v1The first observation of a binary neutron star coalescence by the Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo gravitational-wave detectors offers an unprecedented opportunity to study matter under the most extreme conditions. After such a merger, a compact remnant is left over whose nature depends primarily on the masses of the inspiralling objects and on the equation of state of nuclear matter. This could be either a black hole or a neutron star (NS), with the latter being either long-lived or too massive for stability implying delayed collapse to a black hole. Here, we present a search for gravitational waves from the remnant of the binary neutron star merger GW170817 using data from Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo. We search for short ($\lesssim1$ s) and intermediate-duration ($\lesssim 500$ s) signals, which includes gravitational-wave emission from a hypermassive NS or supramassive NS, respectively. We find no signal from the post-merger remnant. Our derived strain upper limits are more than an order of magnitude larger than those predicted by most models. For short signals, our best upper limit on the root-sum-square of the gravitational-wave strain emitted from 1--4 kHz is $h_{\rm rss}^{50\%}=2.1\times 10^{-22}$ Hz$^{-1/2}$ at 50% detection efficiency. For intermediate-duration signals, our best upper limit at 50% detection efficiency is $h_{\rm rss}^{50\%}=8.4\times 10^{-22}$ Hz$^{-1/2}$ for a millisecond magnetar model, and $h_{\rm rss}^{50\%}=5.9\times 10^{-22}$ Hz$^{-1/2}$ for a bar-mode model. These results indicate that post-merger emission from a similar event may be detectable when advanced detectors reach design sensitivity or with next-generation detectors.
- Oct 17 2017 gr-qc arXiv:1710.05837v1The LIGO Scientific and Virgo Collaborations have announced the first detection of gravitational waves from the coalescence of two neutron stars. The merger rate of binary neutron stars estimated from this event suggests that distant, unresolvable binary neutron stars create a significant astrophysical stochastic gravitational-wave background. The binary neutron star background will add to the background from binary black holes, increasing the amplitude of the total astrophysical background relative to previous expectations. In the Advanced LIGO-Virgo frequency band most sensitive to stochastic backgrounds (near 25 Hz), we predict a total astrophysical background with amplitude $\Omega_{\rm GW} (f=25 \text{Hz}) = 1.8_{-1.3}^{+2.7} \times 10^{-9}$ with $90\%$ confidence, compared with $\Omega_{\rm GW} (f=25 \text{Hz}) = 1.1_{-0.7}^{+1.2} \times 10^{-9}$ from binary black holes alone. Assuming the most probable rate for compact binary mergers, we find that the total background may be detectable with a signal-to-noise-ratio of 3 after 40 months of total observation time, based on the expected timeline for Advanced LIGO and Virgo to reach their design sensitivity.
- Oct 09 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.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.
- Oct 09 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1710.02327v2Spinning neutron stars asymmetric with respect to their rotation axis are potential sources of continuous gravitational waves for ground-based interferometric detectors. In the case of known pulsars a fully coherent search, based on matched filtering, which uses the position and rotational parameters obtained from electromagnetic observations, can be carried out. Matched filtering maximizes the signal-to-noise (SNR) ratio, but a large sensitivity loss is expected in case of even a very small mismatch between the assumed and the true signal parameters. For this reason, \it narrow-band analyses methods have been developed, allowing a fully coherent search for gravitational waves from known pulsars over a fraction of a hertz and several spin-down values. In this paper we describe a narrow-band search of eleven pulsars using data from Advanced LIGO's first observing run. Although we have found several initial outliers, further studies show no significant evidence for the presence of a gravitational wave signal. Finally, we have placed upper limits on the signal strain amplitude lower than the spin-down limit for 5 of the 11 targets over the bands searched: in the case of J1813-1749 the spin-down limit has been beaten for the first time. For an additional 3 targets, the median upper limit across the search bands is below the spin-down limit. This is the most sensitive narrow-band search for continuous gravitational waves carried out so far.
- Sep 28 2017 gr-qc arXiv:1709.09203v1We present results from the first directed search for nontensorial gravitational waves. While general relativity allows for tensorial (plus and cross) modes only, a generic metric theory may, in principle, predict waves with up to six different polarizations. This analysis is sensitive to continuous signals of scalar, vector or tensor polarizations, and does not rely on any specific theory of gravity. After searching data from the first observation run of the advanced LIGO detectors for signals at twice the rotational frequency of 200 known pulsars, we find no evidence of gravitational waves of any polarization. We report the first upper limits for scalar and vector strains, finding values comparable in magnitude to previously-published limits for tensor strain. Our results may be translated into constraints on specific alternative theories of gravity.
- Sep 28 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1709.09660v3On August 14, 2017 at 10:30:43 UTC, the Advanced Virgo detector and the two Advanced LIGO detectors coherently observed a transient gravitational-wave signal produced by the coalescence of two stellar mass black holes, with a false-alarm-rate of $\lesssim$ 1 in 27000 years. The signal was observed with a three-detector network matched-filter signal-to-noise ratio of 18. The inferred masses of the initial black holes are $30.5_{-3.0}^{+5.7}$ Msun and $25.3_{-4.2}^{+2.8}$ Msun (at the 90% credible level). The luminosity distance of the source is $540_{-210}^{+130}~\mathrm{Mpc}$, corresponding to a redshift of $z=0.11_{-0.04}^{+0.03}$. A network of three detectors improves the sky localization of the source, reducing the area of the 90% credible region from 1160 deg$^2$ using only the two LIGO detectors to 60 deg$^2$ using all three detectors. For the first time, we can test the nature of gravitational wave polarizations from the antenna response of the LIGO-Virgo network, thus enabling a new class of phenomenological tests of gravity.
- Jul 11 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.IM arXiv:1707.02667v2We report on an all-sky search for periodic gravitational waves in the frequency band 20-475 Hz and with a frequency time derivative in the range of [-1.0, +0.1]e-8 Hz/s. Such a signal could be produced by a nearby spinning and slightly non-axisymmetric isolated neutron star in our galaxy. This search uses the data from Advanced LIGO's first observational run, O1. No periodic gravitational wave signals were observed, and upper limits were placed on their strengths. The lowest upper limits on worst-case (linearly polarized) strain amplitude h0 are 4e-25 near 170 Hz. For a circularly polarized source (most favorable orientation), the smallest upper limits obtained are 1.5e-25. These upper limits refer to all sky locations and the entire range of frequency derivative values. For a population-averaged ensemble of sky locations and stellar orientations, the lowest upper limits obtained for the strain amplitude are 2.5e-25.
- Jul 11 2017 gr-qc arXiv:1707.02669v2We report results of a deep all-sky search for periodic gravitational waves from isolated neutron stars in data from the first Advanced LIGO observing run. This search investigates the low frequency range of Advanced LIGO data, between 20 and 100 Hz, much of which was not explored in initial LIGO. The search was made possible by the computing power provided by the volunteers of the Einstein@Home project. We find no significant signal candidate and set the most stringent upper limits to date on the amplitude of gravitational wave signals from the target population, corresponding to a sensitivity depth of 48.7 [1/$\sqrt{{\textrm{Hz}}}$]. At the frequency of best strain sensitivity, near 100 Hz, we set 90% confidence upper limits of $1.8 \times 10^{-25}$. At the low end of our frequency range, 20 Hz, we achieve upper limits of $3.9 \times 10^{-24}$. At 55 Hz we can exclude sources with ellipticities greater than $10^{-5}$ within 100 pc of Earth with fiducial value of the principal moment of inertia of $10^{38} \textrm{kg m}^2$.
- General relativity's no-hair theorem states that isolated astrophysical black holes are described by only two numbers: mass and spin. As a consequence, there are strict relationships between the frequency and damping time of the different modes of a perturbed Kerr black hole. Testing the no-hair theorem has been a longstanding goal of gravitational-wave astronomy. The recent detection of gravitational waves from black hole mergers would seem to make such tests imminent. We investigate how constraints on black hole ringdown parameters scale with the loudness of the ringdown signal---subject to the constraint that the post-merger remnant must be allowed to settle into a perturbative, Kerr-like state. In particular, we require that---for a given detector---the gravitational waveform predicted by numerical relativity is indistinguishable from an exponentially damped sine after time $t^\text{cut}$. By requiring the post-merger remnant to settle into such a perturbative state, we find that confidence intervals for ringdown parameters do not necessarily shrink with louder signals. In at least some cases, more sensitive measurements probe later times without necessarily providing tighter constraints on ringdown frequencies and damping times. Preliminary investigations are unable to explain this result in terms of a numerical relativity artifact.
- Jun 13 2017 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1706.03119v3We present the results of a semicoherent search for continuous gravitational waves from the low-mass X-ray binary Scorpius X-1, using data from the first Advanced LIGO observing run. The search method uses details of the modelled, parametrized continuous signal to combine coherently data separated by less than a specified coherence time, which can be adjusted to trade off sensitivity against computational cost. A search was conducted over the frequency range from 25 Hz to 2000 Hz, spanning the current observationally-constrained range of the binary orbital parameters. No significant detection candidates were found, and frequency-dependent upper limits were set using a combination of sensitivity estimates and simulated signal injections. The most stringent upper limit was set at 175 Hz, with comparable limits set across the most sensitive frequency range from 100 Hz to 200 Hz. At this frequency, the 95 pct upper limit on signal amplitude h0 is 2.3e-25 marginalized over the unknown inclination angle of the neutron star's spin, and 8.03e-26 assuming the best orientation (which results in circularly polarized gravitational waves). These limits are a factor of 3-4 stronger than those set by other analyses of the same data, and a factor of about 7 stronger than the best upper limits set using initial LIGO data. In the vicinity of 100 Hz, the limits are a factor of between 1.2 and 3.5 above the predictions of the torque balance model, depending on inclination angle, if the most likely inclination angle of 44 degrees is assumed, they are within a factor of 1.7.
- Jun 07 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1706.01812v1We describe the observation of GW170104, a gravitational-wave signal produced by the coalescence of a pair of stellar-mass black holes. The signal was measured on January 4, 2017 at 10:11:58.6 UTC by the twin advanced detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory during their second observing run, with a network signal-to-noise ratio of 13 and a false alarm rate less than 1 in 70,000 years. The inferred component black hole masses are $31.2^{+8.4}_{-6.0}\,M_\odot$ and $19.4^{+5.3}_{-5.9}\,M_\odot$ (at the 90% credible level). The black hole spins are best constrained through measurement of the effective inspiral spin parameter, a mass-weighted combination of the spin components perpendicular to the orbital plane, $\chi_\mathrm{eff} = -0.12^{+0.21}_{-0.30}.$ This result implies that spin configurations with both component spins positively aligned with the orbital angular momentum are disfavored. The source luminosity distance is $880^{+450}_{-390}~\mathrm{Mpc}$ corresponding to a redshift of $z = 0.18^{+0.08}_{-0.07}$. We constrain the magnitude of modifications to the gravitational-wave dispersion relation and perform null tests of general relativity. Assuming that gravitons are dispersed in vacuum like massive particles, we bound the graviton mass to $m_g \le 7.7 \times 10^{-23}~\mathrm{eV}/c^2$. In all cases, we find that GW170104 is consistent with general relativity.
- Apr 28 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1704.08373v2The direct observation of gravitational waves with Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo offers novel opportunities to test general relativity in strong-field, highly dynamical regimes. One such opportunity is the measurement of gravitational-wave polarizations. While general relativity predicts only two tensor gravitational-wave polarizations, general metric theories of gravity allow for up to four additional vector and scalar modes. The detection of these alternative polarizations would represent a clear violation of general relativity. The LIGO-Virgo detection of the binary black hole merger GW170814 has recently offered the first direct constraints on the polarization of gravitational waves. The current generation of ground-based detectors, however, is limited in its ability to sensitively determine the polarization content of transient gravitational-wave signals. Observation of the stochastic gravitational-wave background, in contrast, offers a means of directly measuring generic gravitational-wave polarizations. The stochastic background, arising from the superposition of many individually unresolvable gravitational-wave signals, may be detectable by Advanced LIGO at design-sensitivity. In this paper, we present a Bayesian method with which to detect and characterize the polarization of the stochastic background. We explore prospects for estimating parameters of the background, and quantify the limits that Advanced LIGO can place on vector and scalar polarizations in the absence of a detection. Finally, we investigate how the introduction of new terrestrial detectors like Advanced Virgo aid in our ability to detect or constrain alternative polarizations in the stochastic background. We find that, although the addition of Advanced Virgo does not notably improve detection prospects, it may dramatically improve our ability to estimate the parameters of backgrounds of mixed polarization.
- Apr 18 2017 gr-qc arXiv:1704.04628v4During their first observational run, the two Advanced LIGO detectors attained an unprecedented sensitivity, resulting in the first direct detections of gravitational-wave signals and GW151226, produced by stellar-mass binary black hole systems. This paper reports on an all-sky search for gravitational waves (GWs) from merging intermediate mass black hole binaries (IMBHBs). The combined results from two independent search techniques were used in this study: the first employs a matched-filter algorithm that uses a bank of filters covering the GW signal parameter space, while the second is a generic search for GW transients (bursts). No GWs from IMBHBs were detected, therefore, we constrain the rate of several classes of IMBHB mergers. The most stringent limit is obtained for black holes of individual mass $100\,M_\odot$, with spins aligned with the binary orbital angular momentum. For such systems, the merger rate is constrained to be less than $0.93~\mathrm{Gpc^{-3}\,yr}^{-1}$ in comoving units at the $90\%$ confidence level, an improvement of nearly 2 orders of magnitude over previous upper limits.
- Apr 13 2017 gr-qc arXiv:1704.03719v3Results are presented from a semi-coherent search for continuous gravitational waves from the brightest low-mass X-ray binary, Scorpius X-1, using data collected during the first Advanced LIGO observing run (O1). The search combines a frequency domain matched filter (Bessel-weighted $\mathcal{F}$-statistic) with a hidden Markov model to track wandering of the neutron star spin frequency. No evidence of gravitational waves is found in the frequency range 60-650 Hz. Frequentist 95% confidence strain upper limits, $h_0^{95\%} = 4.0\times10^{-25}$, $8.3\times10^{-25}$, and $3.0\times10^{-25}$ for electromagnetically restricted source orientation, unknown polarization, and circular polarization, respectively, are reported at 106 Hz. They are $\leq 10$ times higher than the theoretical torque-balance limit at 106 Hz.
- Gravitational-wave memory manifests as a permanent distortion of an idealized gravitational-wave detector and arises generically from energetic astrophysical events. For example, binary black hole mergers are expected to emit memory bursts a little more than an order of magnitude smaller in strain than the oscillatory parent waves. We introduce the concept of "orphan memory": gravitational-wave memory for which there is no detectable parent signal. In particular, high-frequency gravitational-wave bursts ($\gtrsim$ kHz) produce orphan memory in the LIGO/Virgo band. We show that Advanced LIGO measurements can place stringent limits on the existence of high-frequency gravitational waves, effectively increasing the LIGO bandwidth by orders of magnitude. We investigate the prospects for and implications of future searches for orphan memory.
- 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.
- We employ gravitational-wave radiometry to map the gravitational waves stochastic background expected from a variety of contributing mechanisms and test the assumption of isotropy using data from Advanced LIGO's first observing run. We also search for persistent gravitational waves from point sources with only minimal assumptions over the 20 - 1726 Hz frequency band. Finding no evidence of gravitational waves from either point sources or a stochastic background, we set limits at 90% confidence. For broadband point sources, we report upper limits on the gravitational wave energy flux per unit frequency in the range $F_{\alpha,\Theta}(f) < (0.1 - 56) \times 10^{-8}$ erg cm$^{-2}$ s$^{-1}$ Hz$^{-1}$ (f/25 Hz)$^{\alpha-1}$ depending on the sky location $\Theta$ and the spectral power index $\alpha$. For extended sources, we report upper limits on the fractional gravitational wave energy density required to close the Universe of $\Omega(f,\Theta) < (0.39-7.6) \times 10^{-8}$ sr$^{-1}$ (f/25 Hz)$^\alpha$ depending on $\Theta$ and $\alpha$. Directed searches for narrowband gravitational waves from astrophysically interesting objects (Scorpius X-1, Supernova 1987 A, and the Galactic Center) yield median frequency-dependent limits on strain amplitude of $h_0 <$ (6.7, 5.5, and 7.0) $\times 10^{-25}$ respectively, at the most sensitive detector frequencies between 130 - 175 Hz. This represents a mean improvement of a factor of 2 across the band compared to previous searches of this kind for these sky locations, considering the different quantities of strain constrained in each case.
- A wide variety of astrophysical and cosmological sources are expected to contribute to a stochastic gravitational-wave background. Following the observations of GW150914 and GW151226, the rate and mass of coalescing binary black holes appear to be greater than many previous expectations. As a result, the stochastic background from unresolved compact binary coalescences is expected to be particularly loud. We perform a search for the isotropic stochastic gravitational-wave background using data from Advanced LIGO's first observing run. The data display no evidence of a stochastic gravitational-wave signal. We constrain the dimensionless energy density of gravitational waves to be $\Omega_0<1.7\times 10^{-7}$ with 95% confidence, assuming a flat energy density spectrum in the most sensitive part of the LIGO band (20-86 Hz). This is a factor of ~33 times more sensitive than previous measurements. We also constrain arbitrary power-law spectra. Finally, we investigate the implications of this search for the background of binary black holes using an astrophysical model for the background.
- Nov 24 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1611.07531v2Parameter estimates of GW150914 were obtained using Bayesian inference, based on three semi-analytic waveform models for binary black hole coalescences. These waveform models differ from each other in their treatment of black hole spins, and all three models make some simplifying assumptions, notably to neglect sub-dominant waveform harmonic modes and orbital eccentricity. Furthermore, while the models are calibrated to agree with waveforms obtained by full numerical solutions of Einstein's equations, any such calibration is accurate only to some non-zero tolerance and is limited by the accuracy of the underlying phenomenology, availability, quality, and parameter-space coverage of numerical simulations. This paper complements the original analyses of GW150914 with an investigation of the effects of possible systematic errors in the waveform models on estimates of its source parameters. To test for systematic errors we repeat the original Bayesian analyses on mock signals from numerical simulations of a series of binary configurations with parameters similar to those found for GW150914. Overall, we find no evidence for a systematic bias relative to the statistical error of the original parameter recovery of GW150914 due to modeling approximations or modeling inaccuracies. However, parameter biases are found to occur for some configurations disfavored by the data of GW150914: for binaries inclined edge-on to the detector over a small range of choices of polarization angles, and also for eccentricities greater than $\sim$0.05. For signals with higher signal-to-noise ratio than GW150914, or in other regions of the binary parameter space (lower masses, larger mass ratios, or higher spins), we expect that systematic errors in current waveform models may impact gravitational-wave measurements, making more accurate models desirable for future observations.
- Nov 24 2016 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1611.07947v3We present the results of the search for gravitational waves (GWs) associated with $\gamma$-ray bursts detected during the first observing run of the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). We find no evidence of a GW signal for any of the 41 $\gamma$-ray bursts for which LIGO data are available with sufficient duration. For all $\gamma$-ray bursts, we place lower bounds on the distance to the source using the optimistic assumption that GWs with an energy of $10^{-2}M_\odot c^2$ were emitted within the $16$-$500\,$Hz band, and we find a median 90% confidence limit of 71$\,$Mpc at 150$\,$Hz. For the subset of 19 short/hard $\gamma$-ray bursts, we place lower bounds on distance with a median 90% confidence limit of 90$\,$Mpc for binary neutron star (BNS) coalescences, and 150 and 139$\,$Mpc for neutron star-black hole coalescences with spins aligned to the orbital angular momentum and in a generic configuration, respectively. These are the highest distance limits ever achieved by GW searches. We also discuss in detail the results of the search for GWs associated with GRB 150906B, an event that was localized by the InterPlanetary Network near the local galaxy NGC 3313, which is at a luminosity distance of 54$\,$Mpc ($z=0.0124$). Assuming the $\gamma$-ray emission is beamed with a jet half-opening angle $\leq 30^{\circ}$, we exclude a BNS and a neutron star-black hole in NGC 3313 as the progenitor of this event with confidence $>99$%. Further, we exclude such progenitors up to a distance of 102$\,$Mpc and 170$\,$Mpc, respectively.
- Nov 10 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1611.02972v1We present the results from an all-sky search for short-duration gravitational waves in the data of the first run of the Advanced LIGO detectors between September 2015 and January 2016. The search algorithms use minimal assumptions on the signal morphology, so they are sensitive to a wide range of sources emitting gravitational waves. The analyses target transient signals with duration ranging from milliseconds to seconds over the frequency band of 32 to 4096 Hz. The first observed gravitational-wave event, GW150914, has been detected with high confidence in this search; other known gravitational-wave events fall below the search's sensitivity. Besides GW150914, all of the search results are consistent with the expected rate of accidental noise coincidences. Finally, we estimate rate-density limits for a broad range of non-BBH transient gravitational-wave sources as a function of their gravitational radiation emission energy and their characteristic frequency. These rate-density upper-limits are stricter than those previously published by an order-of-magnitude.
- 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.
- 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.
- The recent discovery of merging black holes suggests that a stochastic gravitational-wave background is within reach of the advanced detector network operating at design sensitivity. However, correlated magnetic noise from Schumann resonances threatens to contaminate observation of a stochastic background. In this paper, we report on the first effort to eliminate intercontinental correlated noise from Schumann resonances using Wiener filtering. Using magnetometers as proxies for gravitational-wave detectors, we demonstrate as much as a factor of two reduction in the coherence between magnetometers on different continents. While much work remains to be done, our results constitute a proof-of-principle and motivate follow-up studies with a dedicated array of magnetometers.
- 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.
- May 06 2016 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1605.01415v2It may soon be possible for Advanced LIGO to detect hundreds of binary black hole mergers per year. We show how the accumulation of many such measurements will allow for the detection of gravitational-wave memory: a permanent displacement of spacetime that comes from strong-field, general relativistic effects. We estimate that Advanced LIGO operating at design sensitivity may be able to make a signal-to-noise ratio 3(5) detection of memory with ~35 (90) events with masses and distance similar to GW150914. We highlight the importance of incorporating higher-order gravitational-wave modes for parameter estimation of binary black hole mergers, and describe how our methods can also be used to detect higher-order modes themselves before Advanced LIGO reaches design sensitivity.
- Apr 28 2016 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1604.07864v3This Supplement provides supporting material for arXiv:1602.08492 . We briefly summarize past electromagnetic (EM) follow-up efforts as well as the organization and policy of the current EM follow-up program. We compare the four probability sky maps produced for the gravitational-wave transient GW150914, and provide additional details of the EM follow-up observations that were performed in the different bands.
- Apr 12 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1604.02513v2The recent Advanced LIGO detection of gravitational waves from the binary black hole GW150914 suggests there exists a large population of merging binary black holes in the Universe. Although most are too distant to be individually resolved by advanced detectors, the superposition of gravitational waves from many unresolvable binaries is expected to create an astrophysical stochastic background. Recent results from the LIGO and Virgo collaborations show that this astrophysical background is within reach of Advanced LIGO. In principle, the binary black hole background encodes interesting astrophysical properties, such as the mass distribution and redshift distribution of distant binaries. However, we show that this information will be difficult to extract with the current configuration of advanced detectors (and using current data analysis tools). Additionally, the binary black hole background also constitutes a foreground that limits the ability of advanced detectors to observe other interesting stochastic background signals, for example from cosmic strings or phase transitions in the early Universe. We quantify this effect.
- Mar 01 2016 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1602.08492v4A gravitational-wave (GW) transient was identified in data recorded by the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors on 2015 September 14. The event, initially designated G184098 and later given the name GW150914, is described in detail elsewhere. By prior arrangement, preliminary estimates of the time, significance, and sky location of the event were shared with 63 teams of observers covering radio, optical, near-infrared, X-ray, and gamma-ray wavelengths with ground- and space-based facilities. In this Letter we describe the low-latency analysis of the GW data and present the sky localization of the first observed compact binary merger. We summarize the follow-up observations reported by 25 teams via private Gamma-ray Coordinates Network circulars, giving an overview of the participating facilities, the GW sky localization coverage, the timeline and depth of the observations. As this event turned out to be a binary black hole merger, there is little expectation of a detectable electromagnetic (EM) signature. Nevertheless, this first broadband campaign to search for a counterpart of an Advanced LIGO source represents a milestone and highlights the broad capabilities of the transient astronomy community and the observing strategies that have been developed to pursue neutron star binary merger events. Detailed investigations of the EM data and results of the EM follow-up campaign are being disseminated in papers by the individual teams.
- 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.
- Feb 12 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1602.03840v2On September 14, 2015, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detected a gravitational-wave transient (GW150914); we characterize the properties of the source and its parameters. The data around the time of the event were analyzed coherently across the LIGO network using a suite of accurate waveform models that describe gravitational waves from a compact binary system in general relativity. GW150914 was produced by a nearly equal mass binary black hole of $36^{+5}_{-4} M_\odot$ and $29^{+4}_{-4} M_\odot$; for each parameter we report the median value and the range of the 90% credible interval. The dimensionless spin magnitude of the more massive black hole is bound to be $<0.7$ (at 90% probability). The luminosity distance to the source is $410^{+160}_{-180}$ Mpc, corresponding to a redshift $0.09^{+0.03}_{-0.04}$ assuming standard cosmology. The source location is constrained to an annulus section of $610$ deg$^2$, primarily in the southern hemisphere. The binary merges into a black hole of $62^{+4}_{-4} M_\odot$ and spin $0.67^{+0.05}_{-0.07}$. This black hole is significantly more massive than any other inferred from electromagnetic observations in the stellar-mass regime.
- On September 14, 2015 at 09:50:45 UTC the two detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) simultaneously observed the binary black hole merger GW150914. We report the results of a matched-filter search using relativistic models of compact-object binaries that recovered GW150914 as the most significant event during the coincident observations between the two LIGO detectors from September 12 to October 20, 2015. GW150914 was observed with a matched filter signal-to-noise ratio of 24 and a false alarm rate estimated to be less than 1 event per 203 000 years, equivalent to a significance greater than 5.1 \sigma.
- Feb 12 2016 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1602.03842v3A transient gravitational-wave signal, GW150914, was identified in the twin Advanced LIGO detectors on September 14, 2015 at 09:50:45 UTC. To assess the implications of this discovery, the detectors remained in operation with unchanged configurations over a period of 39 d around the time of the signal. At the detection statistic threshold corresponding to that observed for GW150914, our search of the 16 days of simultaneous two-detector observational data is estimated to have a false alarm rate (FAR) of $< 4.9 \times 10^{-6} \, \mathrm{yr}^{-1}$, yielding a $p$-value for GW150914 of $< 2 \times 10^{-7}$. Parameter estimation followup on this trigger identifies its source as a binary black hole (BBH) merger with component masses $(m_1, m_2) = \left(36^{+5}_{-4},29^{+4}_{-4}\right) \, M_\odot$ at redshift $z = 0.09^{+0.03}_{-0.04}$ (median and 90\% credible range). Here we report on the constraints these observations place on the rate of BBH coalescences. Considering only GW150914, assuming that all BBHs in the Universe have the same masses and spins as this event, imposing a search FAR threshold of 1 per 100 years, and assuming that the BBH merger rate is constant in the comoving frame, we infer a 90% credible range of merger rates between $2$--$53 \, \mathrm{Gpc}^{-3} \mathrm{yr}^{-1}$ (comoving frame). Incorporating all search triggers that pass a much lower threshold while accounting for the uncertainty in the astrophysical origin of each trigger, we estimate a higher rate, ranging from $13$--$600 \, \mathrm{Gpc}^{-3} \mathrm{yr}^{-1}$ depending on assumptions about the BBH mass distribution. All together, our various rate estimates fall in the conservative range $2$--$600 \, \mathrm{Gpc}^{-3} \mathrm{yr}^{-1}$.
- Recent non-detection of gravitational-wave backgrounds from pulsar timing arrays casts further uncertainty on the evolution of supermassive black hole binaries. We study the capabilities of current gravitational-wave observatories to detect individual binaries and demonstrate that, contrary to conventional wisdom, some are in principle detectable throughout the Universe. In particular, a binary with rest-frame mass $\gtrsim10^{10}\,M_\odot$ can be detected by current timing arrays at arbitrarily high redshifts. The same claim will apply for less massive binaries with more sensitive future arrays. As a consequence, future searches for nanohertz gravitational waves could be expanded to target evolving high-redshift binaries. We calculate the maximum distance at which binaries can be observed with pulsar timing arrays and other detectors, properly accounting for redshift and using realistic binary waveforms.
- Current terrestrial gravitational-wave detectors operate at frequencies above 10 Hz. There is strong astrophysical motivation to construct low-frequency gravitational-wave detectors capable of observing 10 mHz - 10Hz signals. While space-based detectors provide one means of achieving this end, one may also consider terretrial detectors. However, there are numerous technological challenges. In particular, it is difficult to isolate test masses so that they are both seismically isolated and freely falling under the influence of gravity at millihertz frequencies. We investigate the challenges of low-frequency suspension in a hypothetical terrestrial detector. As a case study, we consider a Magnetically Assisted Gravitational-wave Pendulum Intorsion (MAGPI) suspension design. We construct a noise budget to estimate some of the required specifications. In doing so, we identify what are likely to be a number of generic limiting noise sources for terrestrial millihertz gravitational-wave suspension systems (as well as some peculiar to the MAGPI design). We highlight significant experimental challenges in order to argue that the development of millihertz suspensions will be a daunting task. Any system that relies on magnets faces even greater challenges. Entirely mechanical designs such as Zollner pendulums may provide the best path forward.
- Nov 20 2015 astro-ph.CO gr-qc arXiv:1511.05994v2Quantum fluctuations of the gravitational field in the early Universe, amplified by inflation, produce a primordial gravitational-wave background across a broad frequency band. We derive constraints on the spectrum of this gravitational radiation, and hence on theories of the early Universe, by combining experiments that cover 29 orders of magnitude in frequency. These include Planck observations of cosmic microwave background temperature and polarization power spectra and lensing, together with baryon acoustic oscillations and big bang nucleosynthesis measurements, as well as new pulsar timing array and ground-based interferometer limits. While individual experiments constrain the gravitational-wave energy density in specific frequency bands, the combination of experiments allows us to constrain cosmological parameters, including the inflationary spectral index, $n_t$, and the tensor-to-scalar ratio, $r$. Results from individual experiments include the most stringent nanohertz limit of the primordial background to date from the Parkes Pulsar Timing Array, $\Omega_{\rm gw}(f)<2.3\times10^{-10}$. Observations of the cosmic microwave background alone limit the gravitational-wave spectral index at 95\% confidence to $n_t\lesssim5$ for a tensor-to-scalar ratio of $r = 0.11$. However, the combination of all the above experiments limits $n_t<0.36$. Future Advanced LIGO observations are expected to further constrain $n_t<0.34$ by 2020. When cosmic microwave background experiments detect a non-zero $r$, our results will imply even more stringent constraints on $n_t$ and hence theories of the early Universe.
- 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.
- Nov 11 2015 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1511.02959v1The first observations by a worldwide network of advanced interferometric gravitational wave detectors offer a unique opportunity for the astronomical community. At design sensitivity, these facilities will be able to detect coalescing binary neutron stars to distances approaching 400 Mpc, and neutron star-black hole systems to 1 Gpc. Both of these sources are associated with gamma ray bursts which are known to emit across the entire electromagnetic spectrum. Gravitational wave detections provide the opportunity for "multi-messenger" observations, combining gravitational wave with electromagnetic, cosmic ray or neutrino observations. This review provides an overview of how Australian astronomical facilities and collaborations with the gravitational wave community can contribute to this new era of discovery, via contemporaneous follow-up observations from the radio to the optical and high energy. We discuss some of the frontier discoveries that will be made possible when this new window to the Universe is opened.
- 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.
- Jul 03 2015 astro-ph.IM gr-qc arXiv:1507.00537v2As second-generation gravitational-wave detectors prepare to analyze data at unprecedented sensitivity, there is great interest in searches for unmodeled transients, commonly called bursts. Significant effort has yielded a variety of techniques to identify and characterize such transient signals, and many of these methods have been applied to produce astrophysical results using data from first-generation detectors. However, the computational cost of background estimation remains a challenging problem; it is difficult to claim a 5\sigma detection with reasonable computational resources without paying for efficiency with reduced sensitivity. We demonstrate a hierarchical approach to gravitational-wave transient detection, focusing on long-lived signals, which can be used to detect transients with significance in excess of 5\sigma using modest computational resources. In particular, we show how previously developed seedless clustering techniques can be applied to large datasets to identify high-significance candidates without having to trade sensitivity for speed.
- 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.
- May 04 2015 gr-qc astro-ph.IM arXiv:1505.00205v1The detection of unmodeled gravitational-wave bursts by ground-based interferometric gravitational-wave detectors is a major goal for the advanced detector era. These searches are commonly cast as pattern recognition problems, where the goal is to identify statistically significant clusters in spectrograms of strain power when the precise signal morphology is unknown. In previous work, we have introduced a clustering algorithm referred to as "seedless clustering," and shown that it is a powerful tool for detecting weak long-lived (10-1000s) signals in background. However, as the algorithm is currently conceived, in order to carry out an all-sky search on a $\approx$ year of data, significant computational resources may be required in order to carry out background estimation. Alternatively, some of the sensitivity of the search must be sacrificed to control computational costs. The sensitivity of the algorithm is limited by the amount of computing resources due to the requirement of performing background studies to assign significance in gravitational-wave searches. In this paper, we present an analytic method for estimating the background generated by the seedless clustering algorithm and compare the performance to both Monte Carlo Gaussian noise and time-shifted gravitational-wave data from a week of LIGO's 5th Science Run. We demonstrate qualitative agreement between the model and measured distributions and argue that the approximation will be useful to supplement conventional background estimation techniques for advanced detector searches for long-duration gravitational-wave transients.
- Apr 23 2015 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1504.05889v1The low-mass X-ray binary Scorpius X-1 (Sco X-1) is potentially the most luminous source of continuous gravitational-wave radiation for interferometers such as LIGO and Virgo. For low-mass X-ray binaries this radiation would be sustained by active accretion of matter from its binary companion. With the Advanced Detector Era fast approaching, work is underway to develop an array of robust tools for maximizing the science and detection potential of Sco X-1. We describe the plans and progress of a project designed to compare the numerous independent search algorithms currently available. We employ a mock-data challenge in which the search pipelines are tested for their relative proficiencies in parameter estimation, computational efficiency, robust- ness, and most importantly, search sensitivity. The mock-data challenge data contains an ensemble of 50 Scorpius X-1 (Sco X-1) type signals, simulated within a frequency band of 50-1500 Hz. Simulated detector noise was generated assuming the expected best strain sensitivity of Advanced LIGO and Advanced VIRGO ($4 \times 10^{-24}$ Hz$^{-1/2}$). A distribution of signal amplitudes was then chosen so as to allow a useful comparison of search methodologies. A factor of 2 in strain separates the quietest detected signal, at $6.8 \times 10^{-26}$ strain, from the torque-balance limit at a spin frequency of 300 Hz, although this limit could range from $1.2 \times 10^{-25}$ (25 Hz) to $2.2 \times 10^{-26}$ (750 Hz) depending on the unknown frequency of Sco X-1. With future improvements to the search algorithms and using advanced detector data, our expectations for probing below the theoretical torque-balance strain limit are optimistic.
- Gravitational-wave radiometry is a powerful tool by which weak signals with unknown signal morphologies are recovered through a process of cross correlation. Radiometry has been used, e.g., to search for persistent signals from known neutron stars such as Scorpius X-1. In this paper, we demonstrate how a more ambitious search--for persistent signals from unknown neutron stars--can be efficiently carried out using folded data, in which an entire ~year-long observing run is represented as a single sidereal day. The all-sky, narrowband radiometer search described here will provide a computationally tractable means to uncover gravitational-wave signals from unknown, nearby neutron stars in binary systems, which can have modulation depths of ~0.1-2 Hz. It will simultaneously provide a sensitive search algorithm for other persistent, narrowband signals from unexpected sources.
- Jan 28 2015 astro-ph.IM gr-qc arXiv:1501.06648v3We explore the possibility of very long-lived gravitational-wave transients (and detector artifacts) lasting hours to weeks. Such very long signals are both interesting in their own right and as a potential source of systematic error in searches for persistent signals, e.g., from a stochastic gravitational-wave background. We review possible mechanisms for emission on these time scales and discuss computational challenges associated with their detection: namely, the substantial volume of data involved in a search for very long transients can require vast computer memory and processing time. These computational difficulties can be addressed through a form of data compression known as coarse-graining, in which information about short time spans is discarded in order to reduce the computational requirements of a search. Using data compression, we demonstrate an efficient radiometer (cross-correlation) algorithm for the detection of very long transients. In the process, we identify features of a very long transient search (related to the rotation of the Earth) that make it more complicated than a search for shorter transient signals. We implement suitable solutions.
- Dec 16 2014 gr-qc arXiv:1412.4665v5Compact binary coalescences are a promising source of gravitational waves for second-generation interferometric gravitational-wave detectors such as advanced LIGO and advanced Virgo. While most binaries are expected to possess circular orbits, some may be eccentric, for example, if they are formed through dynamical capture. Eccentric orbits can create difficulty for matched filtering searches due to the challenges of creating effective template banks to detect these signals. In previous work, we showed how seedless clustering can be used to detect low-mass ($M_\text{total}\leq10M_\odot$) compact binary coalescences for both spinning and eccentric systems, assuming a circular post-Newtonian expansion. Here, we describe a parameterization that is designed to maximize sensitivity to low-eccentricity ($0\leq\epsilon\leq0.6$) systems, derived from the analytic equations. We show that this parameterization provides a robust and computationally efficient method for detecting eccentric low-mass compact binaries. Based on these results, we conclude that advanced detectors will have a chance of detecting eccentric binaries if optimistic models prove true. However, a null observation is unlikely to firmly rule out models of eccentric binary populations.
- 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.
- Oct 29 2014 gr-qc astro-ph.IM arXiv:1410.7764v2In 2009-2010, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observa- tory (LIGO) operated together with international partners Virgo and GEO600 as a network to search for gravitational waves of astrophysical origin. The sensitiv- ity of these detectors was limited by a combination of noise sources inherent to the instrumental design and its environment, often localized in time or frequency, that couple into the gravitational-wave readout. Here we review the performance of the LIGO instruments during this epoch, the work done to characterize the de- tectors and their data, and the effect that transient and continuous noise artefacts have on the sensitivity of LIGO to a variety of astrophysical sources.
- 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.
- Oct 20 2014 gr-qc astro-ph.CO arXiv:1410.4779v2The recent claim by BICEP2 of evidence for primordial gravitational waves from inflation has focused interest on the potential for early-Universe cosmology using observations of gravitational waves. In addition to cosmic microwave background detectors, efforts are underway to carry out gravitational-wave astronomy over a wide range of frequencies including pulsar timing arrays (nHz), space-based detectors (mHz), and terrestrial detectors ($\sim$10-2000 Hz). This multiband effort will probe a wide range of times in the early Universe (each corresponding to a different energy scale), during which gravitational-wave backgrounds may have been produced through processes such as phase transitions or preheating. In this letter, we derive a rule of thumb (not quite so strong as an upper limit) governing the maximum energy density of cosmological backgrounds. For most cosmological scenarios, we expect the energy density spectrum to peak at values of $\Omega_\text{gw}(f)\lesssim10^{-12\pm2}$. We discuss the applicability of this rule of thumb and the implications for gravitational-wave astronomy.
- Aug 06 2014 gr-qc astro-ph.IM arXiv:1408.0840v1Compact binary coalescences are a promising source of gravitational waves for second-generation interferometric gravitational-wave detectors. Although matched filtering is the optimal search method for well-modeled systems, alternative detection strategies can be used to guard against theoretical errors (e.g., involving new physics and/or assumptions about spin/eccentricity) while providing a measure of redundancy. In previous work, we showed how "seedless clustering" can be used to detect long-lived gravitational-wave transients in both targeted and all-sky searches. In this paper, we apply seedless clustering to the problem of low-mass ($M_\text{total}\leq10M_\odot$) compact binary coalescences for both spinning and eccentric systems. We show that seedless clustering provides a robust and computationally efficient method for detecting low-mass compact binaries.
- 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.
- One of the key science goals of advanced gravitational-wave detectors is to observe a stochastic gravitational-wave background. However, recent work demonstrates that correlated magnetic fields from Schumann resonances can produce correlated strain noise over global distances, potentially limiting the sensitivity of stochastic background searches with advanced detectors. In this paper, we estimate the correlated noise budget for the worldwide Advanced LIGO network and conclude that correlated noise may affect upcoming measurements. We investigate the possibility of a Wiener filtering scheme to subtract correlated noise from Advanced LIGO searches, and estimate the required specifications. We also consider the possibility that residual correlated noise remains following subtraction, and we devise an optimal strategy for measuring astronomical parameters in the presence of correlated noise. Using this new formalism, we estimate the loss of sensitivity for a broadband, isotropic stochastic background search using 1 yr of LIGO data at design sensitivity. Given our current noise budget, the uncertainty with which LIGO can estimate energy density will likely increase by a factor of ~4--if it is impossible to achieve significant subtraction. Additionally, narrowband cross-correlation searches may be severely affected at low frequencies f < 45 Hz without effective subtraction.
- 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.
- Apr 21 2014 gr-qc arXiv:1404.4642v1A common technique for detection of gravitational-wave signals is searching for excess power in frequency-time maps of gravitational-wave detector data. In the event of a detection, model selection and parameter estimation will be performed in order to explore the properties of the source. In this paper, we develop a Bayesian statistical method for extracting model-dependent parameters from observed gravitational-wave signals in frequency-time maps. We demonstrate the method by recovering the parameters of model gravitational-wave signals added to simulated advanced LIGO noise. We also characterize the performance of the method and discuss prospects for future work.