results for au:Vitale_S in:gr-qc

- The detection of GW170817 and the identification of its host galaxy have allowed for the first standard-siren measurement of the Hubble constant, with an uncertainty of $\sim 14\%$. As more detections of binary neutron stars with redshift measurement are made, the uncertainty will shrink. The dominating factors will be the number of joint detections and the uncertainty on the luminosity distance of each event. Neutron star black hole mergers are also promising sources for advanced LIGO and Virgo. If the black hole spin induces precession of the orbital plane, the degeneracy between luminosity distance and the orbital inclination is broken, leading to a much better distance measurement. In addition neutron star black hole sources are observable to larger distances, owing to their higher mass. Neutron star black holes could also emit electromagnetic radiation: depending on the black hole spin and on the mass ratio, the neutron star can be tidally disrupted resulting in electromagnetic emission. We quantify the distance uncertainty for a wide range of black hole mass, spin and orientations and find that the 1-sigma statistical uncertainty can be up to a factor of $\sim 10$ better than for a non-spinning binary neutron star merger with the same signal-to-noise ratio. The better distance measurement, the larger gravitational-wave detectable volume, and the potentially bright electromagnetic emission, imply that spinning black hole neutron star binaries can be the optimal standard siren sources as long as their astrophysical rate is larger than $\sim 10$ Gpc$^{-3}$yr$^{-1}$, a value not excluded by current constraints.
- We show that gravitational-wave signals from compact binary mergers may be better distinguished from instrumental noise transients using Bayesian model comparison, even when the signal power is below the usual threshold for detection. This method could reject the vast majority of noise transients, and therefore increase sensitivity to weak gravitational waves. We demonstrate this using simulated signals, as well as data for GW150914 and LVT151012. Finally, we explore ways of incorporating our method into existing Advanced LIGO and Virgo searches to make them significantly more powerful.
- Mar 01 2018 gr-qc astro-ph.CO arXiv:1802.10194v2The detection of gravitational waves with Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo has enabled novel tests of general relativity, including direct study of the polarization of gravitational waves. While general relativity allows for only two tensor gravitational-wave polarizations, general metric theories can additionally predict two vector and two scalar polarizations. The polarization of gravitational waves is encoded in the spectral shape of the stochastic gravitational-wave background, formed by the superposition of cosmological and individually-unresolved astrophysical sources. Using data recorded by Advanced LIGO during its first observing run, we search for a stochastic background of generically-polarized gravitational waves. We find no evidence for a background of any polarization, and place the first direct bounds on the contributions of vector and scalar polarizations to the stochastic background. Under log-uniform priors for the energy in each polarization, we limit the energy-densities of tensor, vector, and scalar modes at 95% credibility to $\Omega^T_0 < 5.6 \times 10^{-8}$, $\Omega^V_0 < 6.4\times 10^{-8}$, and $\Omega^S_0 < 1.1\times 10^{-7}$ at a reference frequency $f_0 = 25$ Hz.
- 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 09 2018 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1802.02586v1We investigate the ability of ground based gravitational wave observatories to detect gravitational wave lensing events caused by stellar mass lenses. We show that LIGO and Virgo possess the sensitivities required to detect lenses with masses as small as $\sim 30 M_\odot$ provided that the gravitational wave is observed with a signal-to-noise ratio of $\sim30$. Third generation observatories will allow detection of gravitational wave lenses with masses of $\sim 1 M_\odot$. Finally, we discuss the possibility of lensing by multiple stars, as is the case if the gravitational radiation is passing through galactic nucleus or a dense star cluster.
- Dec 27 2017 gr-qc arXiv:1712.08772v2Thanks to the recent discoveries of gravitational wave signals from binary black hole mergers by Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory and Advanced Virgo, the genuinely strong-field dynamics of spacetime can now be probed, allowing for stringent tests of general relativity (GR). One set of tests consists of allowing for parametrized deformations away from GR in the template waveform models and then constraining the size of the deviations, as was done for the detected signals in previous work. In this paper, we construct reduced-order quadratures so as to speed up likelihood calculations for parameter estimation on future events. Next, we explicitly demonstrate the robustness of the parametrized tests by showing that they will correctly indicate consistency with GR if the theory is valid. We also check to what extent deviations from GR can be constrained as information from an increasing number of detections is combined. Finally, we evaluate the sensitivity of the method to possible violations of GR.
- Dec 20 2017 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1712.06635v1We present a critical reanalysis of the black-hole binary coalescences detected during LIGO's first observing run under different Bayesian prior assumptions. We summarize the main findings of Vitale et al. (2017) and show additional marginalized posterior distributions for some of the binaries' intrinsic parameters.
- We propose an upgrade of Advanced LIGO (aLIGO), named LIGO-LF, that focuses on improving the sensitivity in the 5-30 Hz low-frequency band, and we explore the upgrade's astrophysical applications. We present a comprehensive study of the detector's technical noises, and show that with the new technologies such as interferometrically-sensed seismometers and balanced-homodyne readout, LIGO-LF can reach the fundamental limits set by quantum and thermal noises down to 5 Hz. These technologies are also directly applicable to the future generation of detectors. LIGO-LF can observe a rich array of astrophysical sources such as binary black holes with total mass up to 2000 M_⊙. The horizon distance of a single LIGO-LF detector will be z ~ 6, greatly exceeding aLIGO's reach. Additionally, for a given source the chirp mass and total mass can be constrained 2 times better, and the effective spin 3-5 times better, than aLIGO. The total number of detected merging black holes will increase by a factor of 16 compared with aLIGO. Meanwhile, LIGO-LF will also significantly enhance the probability of detecting other astrophysical phenomena including the gravitational memory effects and the neutron star r-mode resonances.
- Dec 05 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.CO arXiv:1712.01168v1Cosmic strings are topological defects which can be formed in GUT-scale phase transitions in the early universe. They are also predicted to form in the context of string theory. The main mechanism for a network of Nambu-Goto cosmic strings to lose energy is through the production of loops and the subsequent emission of gravitational waves, thus offering an experimental signature for the existence of cosmic strings. Here we report on the analysis conducted to specifically search for gravitational-wave bursts from cosmic string loops in the data of Advanced LIGO 2015-2016 observing run (O1). No evidence of such signals was found in the data, and as a result we set upper limits on the cosmic string parameters for three recent loop distribution models. In this paper, we initially derive constraints on the string tension $G\mu$ and the intercommutation probability, using not only the burst analysis performed on the O1 data set, but also results from the previously published LIGO stochastic O1 analysis, pulsar timing arrays, cosmic microwave background and Big-Bang nucleosynthesis experiments. We show that these data sets are complementary in that they probe gravitational waves produced by cosmic string loops during very different epochs. Finally, we show that the data sets exclude large parts of the parameter space of the three loop distribution models we consider.
- Nov 21 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1711.06843v1We present the results of a search for long-duration gravitational wave transients in the data of the LIGO Hanford and LIGO Livingston second generation detectors between September 2015 and January 2016, with a total observational time of 49 days. The search targets gravitational wave transients of \unit[10 -- 500]s duration in a frequency band of \unit[24 -- 2048]Hz, with minimal assumptions about the signal waveform, polarization, source direction, or time of occurrence. No significant events were observed. %All candidate triggers were consistent with the expected background, As a result we set 90\% confidence upper limits on the rate of long-duration gravitational wave transients for different types of gravitational wave signals. We also show that the search is sensitive to sources in the Galaxy emitting at least $\sim$ \unit[$10^{-8}$]$\mathrm{M_{\odot} c^2}$ in gravitational waves.
- 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.
- Aug 24 2017 gr-qc arXiv:1708.06843v1Interferometric gravitational wave detectors are dynamic instruments. Changing gravitational-wave strains influence the trajectories of null geodesics and therefore modify the interferometric response. These effects will be important when the associated frequencies are comparable to the round-trip light travel time down the detector arms. The arms of advanced detectors currently in operation are short enough that the strain can be approximated as static, but planned 3$^\mathrm{rd}$ generation detectors, with arms an order of magnitude longer, will need to account for these effects. We investigate the impact of neglecting the frequency-dependent detector response for compact binary coalescences and show that it can introduce large systematic biases in localization, larger than the statistical uncertainty for 1.4-1.4$M_\odot$ neutron star coalescences at $z\lesssim1.7$. Analysis of $3^\mathrm{rd}$ generation detectors therefore must account for these effects.
- Jul 18 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1707.04637v2In a regime where data are only mildly informative, prior choices can play a significant role in Bayesian statistical inference, potentially affecting the inferred physics. We show this is indeed the case for some of the parameters inferred from current gravitational-wave measurements of binary black hole coalescences. We reanalyze the first detections performed by the twin LIGO interferometers using alternative (and astrophysically motivated) prior assumptions. We find different prior distributions can introduce deviations in the resulting posteriors that impact the physical interpretation of these systems. For instance, (i) limits on the $90\%$ credible interval on the effective black hole spin $\chi_{\rm eff}$ are subject to variations of $\sim 10\%$ if a prior with black hole spins mostly aligned to the binary's angular momentum is considered instead of the standard choice of isotropic spin directions, and (ii) under priors motivated by the initial stellar mass function, we infer tighter constraints on the black hole masses, and in particular, we find no support for any of the inferred masses within the putative mass gap $M \lesssim 5 M_\odot$.
- Jul 11 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.IM arXiv:1707.02667v2We report on an all-sky search for periodic gravitational waves in the frequency band 20-475 Hz and with a frequency time derivative in the range of [-1.0, +0.1]e-8 Hz/s. Such a signal could be produced by a nearby spinning and slightly non-axisymmetric isolated neutron star in our galaxy. This search uses the data from Advanced LIGO's first observational run, O1. No periodic gravitational wave signals were observed, and upper limits were placed on their strengths. The lowest upper limits on worst-case (linearly polarized) strain amplitude h0 are 4e-25 near 170 Hz. For a circularly polarized source (most favorable orientation), the smallest upper limits obtained are 1.5e-25. These upper limits refer to all sky locations and the entire range of frequency derivative values. For a population-averaged ensemble of sky locations and stellar orientations, the lowest upper limits obtained for the strain amplitude are 2.5e-25.
- Jul 11 2017 gr-qc arXiv:1707.02669v2We report results of a deep all-sky search for periodic gravitational waves from isolated neutron stars in data from the first Advanced LIGO observing run. This search investigates the low frequency range of Advanced LIGO data, between 20 and 100 Hz, much of which was not explored in initial LIGO. The search was made possible by the computing power provided by the volunteers of the Einstein@Home project. We find no significant signal candidate and set the most stringent upper limits to date on the amplitude of gravitational wave signals from the target population, corresponding to a sensitivity depth of 48.7 [1/$\sqrt{{\textrm{Hz}}}$]. At the frequency of best strain sensitivity, near 100 Hz, we set 90% confidence upper limits of $1.8 \times 10^{-25}$. At the low end of our frequency range, 20 Hz, we achieve upper limits of $3.9 \times 10^{-24}$. At 55 Hz we can exclude sources with ellipticities greater than $10^{-5}$ within 100 pc of Earth with fiducial value of the principal moment of inertia of $10^{38} \textrm{kg m}^2$.
- Jun 13 2017 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1706.03119v3We present the results of a semicoherent search for continuous gravitational waves from the low-mass X-ray binary Scorpius X-1, using data from the first Advanced LIGO observing run. The search method uses details of the modelled, parametrized continuous signal to combine coherently data separated by less than a specified coherence time, which can be adjusted to trade off sensitivity against computational cost. A search was conducted over the frequency range from 25 Hz to 2000 Hz, spanning the current observationally-constrained range of the binary orbital parameters. No significant detection candidates were found, and frequency-dependent upper limits were set using a combination of sensitivity estimates and simulated signal injections. The most stringent upper limit was set at 175 Hz, with comparable limits set across the most sensitive frequency range from 100 Hz to 200 Hz. At this frequency, the 95 pct upper limit on signal amplitude h0 is 2.3e-25 marginalized over the unknown inclination angle of the neutron star's spin, and 8.03e-26 assuming the best orientation (which results in circularly polarized gravitational waves). These limits are a factor of 3-4 stronger than those set by other analyses of the same data, and a factor of about 7 stronger than the best upper limits set using initial LIGO data. In the vicinity of 100 Hz, the limits are a factor of between 1.2 and 3.5 above the predictions of the torque balance model, depending on inclination angle, if the most likely inclination angle of 44 degrees is assumed, they are within a factor of 1.7.
- Jun 07 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1706.01812v1We describe the observation of GW170104, a gravitational-wave signal produced by the coalescence of a pair of stellar-mass black holes. The signal was measured on January 4, 2017 at 10:11:58.6 UTC by the twin advanced detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory during their second observing run, with a network signal-to-noise ratio of 13 and a false alarm rate less than 1 in 70,000 years. The inferred component black hole masses are $31.2^{+8.4}_{-6.0}\,M_\odot$ and $19.4^{+5.3}_{-5.9}\,M_\odot$ (at the 90% credible level). The black hole spins are best constrained through measurement of the effective inspiral spin parameter, a mass-weighted combination of the spin components perpendicular to the orbital plane, $\chi_\mathrm{eff} = -0.12^{+0.21}_{-0.30}.$ This result implies that spin configurations with both component spins positively aligned with the orbital angular momentum are disfavored. The source luminosity distance is $880^{+450}_{-390}~\mathrm{Mpc}$ corresponding to a redshift of $z = 0.18^{+0.08}_{-0.07}$. We constrain the magnitude of modifications to the gravitational-wave dispersion relation and perform null tests of general relativity. Assuming that gravitons are dispersed in vacuum like massive particles, we bound the graviton mass to $m_g \le 7.7 \times 10^{-23}~\mathrm{eV}/c^2$. In all cases, we find that GW170104 is consistent with general relativity.
- Apr 18 2017 gr-qc arXiv:1704.04628v4During their first observational run, the two Advanced LIGO detectors attained an unprecedented sensitivity, resulting in the first direct detections of gravitational-wave signals and GW151226, produced by stellar-mass binary black hole systems. This paper reports on an all-sky search for gravitational waves (GWs) from merging intermediate mass black hole binaries (IMBHBs). The combined results from two independent search techniques were used in this study: the first employs a matched-filter algorithm that uses a bank of filters covering the GW signal parameter space, while the second is a generic search for GW transients (bursts). No GWs from IMBHBs were detected, therefore, we constrain the rate of several classes of IMBHB mergers. The most stringent limit is obtained for black holes of individual mass $100\,M_\odot$, with spins aligned with the binary orbital angular momentum. For such systems, the merger rate is constrained to be less than $0.93~\mathrm{Gpc^{-3}\,yr}^{-1}$ in comoving units at the $90\%$ confidence level, an improvement of nearly 2 orders of magnitude over previous upper limits.
- Apr 13 2017 gr-qc arXiv:1704.03719v3Results are presented from a semi-coherent search for continuous gravitational waves from the brightest low-mass X-ray binary, Scorpius X-1, using data collected during the first Advanced LIGO observing run (O1). The search combines a frequency domain matched filter (Bessel-weighted $\mathcal{F}$-statistic) with a hidden Markov model to track wandering of the neutron star spin frequency. No evidence of gravitational waves is found in the frequency range 60-650 Hz. Frequentist 95% confidence strain upper limits, $h_0^{95\%} = 4.0\times10^{-25}$, $8.3\times10^{-25}$, and $3.0\times10^{-25}$ for electromagnetically restricted source orientation, unknown polarization, and circular polarization, respectively, are reported at 106 Hz. They are $\leq 10$ times higher than the theoretical torque-balance limit at 106 Hz.
- 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 29 2016 astro-ph.CO gr-qc arXiv:1611.08943v2The merger rate of black hole binaries inferred from the detections in the first Advanced LIGO science run, implies that a stochastic background produced by a cosmological population of mergers will likely mask the primordial gravitational-wave background. Here we demonstrate that the next generation of ground-based detectors, such as the Einstein Telescope and Cosmic Explorer, will be able to observe binary black hole mergers throughout the universe with sufficient efficiency that the confusion background can potentially be subtracted to observe the primordial background at the level of $\Omega_{\mathrm{GW}} \simeq 10^{-13}$ after five years of observation.
- 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.
- Nov 09 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1611.02438v2Localization estimates for GW150914, the first binary black hole detected by the LIGO instruments, were shared with partner facilities for electromagnetic follow-up. While the source was a compact binary coalescence (CBC), it was first identified by algorithms that search for unmodeled signals, which produced the skymaps that directed electromagnetic observations. Later on, CBC specific algorithms produced refined versions, which showed significant differences. In this paper we show that those differences were not accidental and that CBC and unmodeled skymaps for binary black holes will frequently be different; we thus provide a way to determine whether to observe electromagnetically as promptly as possible (following a gravitational-wave detection), or to wait until CBC skymaps become available, should they not be available in low latency. We also show that, unsurprisingly, CBC algorithms can yield much smaller searched areas.
- Nov 04 2016 gr-qc arXiv:1611.01122v4The era of gravitational-wave astronomy has started with the discovery of the binary black hole coalescences (BBH) GW150914 and GW151226 by the LIGO instruments. These systems allowed for the first direct measurement of masses and spins of black holes. The component masses in each of the systems have been estimated with uncertainties of over 10\%, with only weak constraints on the spin magnitude and orientation. In this paper we show how these uncertainties will be typical for this type of source when using advanced detectors. Focusing in particular on heavy BBH of masses similar to GW150914, we find that typical uncertainties in the estimation of the source-frame component masses will be around 40\%. We also find that for most events the magnitude of the component spins will be estimated poorly: for only 10\% of the systems the uncertainties in the spin magnitude of the primary (secondary) BH will be below 0.7 (0.8). Conversely, the effective spin along the angular momentum can be estimated more precisely than either spins, with uncertainties below 0.16 for 10\% of the systems. We also quantify how often large or negligible primary spins can be excluded, and how often the sign of the effective spin can be measured. We show how the angle between the spin and the orbital angular momentum can only seldom be measured with uncertainties below 60$^\circ$. We then investigate how the measurement of spin parameters depends on the inclination angle and the total mass of the source. We find that when precession is present, uncertainties are smaller for systems observed close to edge-on. Contrarily to what happens for low-mass, inspiral dominated, sources, for heavy BBH we find that large spins aligned with the orbital angular momentum can be measured with small uncertainty. We also show how spin uncertainties increase with the total mass. Finally...
- Oct 24 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1610.06917v2The two binary black-hole (BBH) coalescences detected by LIGO, GW150914 and GW151226, were relatively nearby sources, with a redshift of ~0.1. As the sensitivity of Advanced LIGO and Virgo increases in the next few years, they will eventually detect stellar-mass BBHs up to redshifts of ~1. However, these are still relatively small distances compared with the size of the Universe, or with those encountered in most areas of astrophysics. In order to study BBH during the epoch of reionization, or black holes born from population III stars, more sensitive instruments are needed. Third-generation gravitational-wave detectors, such as the Einstein Telescope or the Cosmic Explorer are already in an advanced R&D stage. These detectors will be roughly a factor of 10 more sensitive in strain than the current generation, and be able to detect BBH mergers beyond a redshift of 20. In this paper we quantify the precision with which these new facilities will be able to estimate the parameters of stellar-mass, heavy, and intermediate-mass BBH as a function of their redshifts and the number of detectors. We show that having only two detectors would result in relatively poor estimates of black hole intrinsic masses; a situation improved with three or four instruments. Larger improvements are visible for the sky localization, although it is not yet clear whether BBHs are luminous in the electromagnetic or neutrino band. The measurement of the spin parameters, on the other hand, do not improve significantly as more detectors are added to the network since redshift information are not required to measure spin.
- Oct 24 2016 gr-qc arXiv:1610.06914v2Advanced gravitational-wave observatories, such as LIGO and Virgo, will detect hundreds of gravitational waves emitted by binary black holes in the next few years. The collection of detected sources is expected to have certain properties. It is expected that a selection bias will exist toward higher mass systems, that most events will be oriented with their angular momentum pointing to or away from Earth, and that quiet events will be much more numerous than loud events. In this paper we show how all these assumptions are only true for existing detectors and do not have any universality. Using an network of proposed third-generation gravitational wave detectors, we show how each of these assumptions must be revised and we discuss several consequences on the characterization of the sources.
- Sep 22 2016 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1609.06362v2Recent studies suggest that coalescing neutron stars are subject to a fluid instability involving the nonlinear coupling of the tide to $p$-modes and $g$-modes. Its influence on the inspiral dynamics and thus the gravitational wave signal is, however, uncertain because we do not know precisely how the instability saturates. Here we construct a simple, physically motivated model of the saturation that allows us to explore the instability's impact as a function of the model parameters. We find that for plausible assumptions about the saturation, current gravitational wave detectors might miss $> 70\%$ of events if only point particle waveforms are used. Parameters such as the chirp mass, component masses, and luminosity distance might also be significantly biased. On the other hand, we find that relatively simple modifications to the point particle waveform can alleviate these problems and enhance the science that emerges from the detection of binary neutron stars.
- 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 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1606.01095v12015 will see the first observations of Advanced LIGO and the start of the gravitational-wave (GW) advanced-detector era. One of the most promising sources for ground-based GW detectors are binary neutron-star (BNS) coalescences. In order to use any detections for astrophysics, we must understand the capabilities of our parameter-estimation analysis. By simulating the GWs from an astrophysically motivated population of BNSs, we examine the accuracy of parameter inferences in the early advanced-detector era. We find that sky location, which is important for electromagnetic follow-up, can be determined rapidly (~5 s), but that sky areas may be hundreds of square degrees. The degeneracy between component mass and spin means there is significant uncertainty for measurements of the individual masses and spins; however, the chirp mass is well measured (typically better than 0.1%).
- 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.
- May 04 2016 gr-qc arXiv:1605.01037v2With the discovery of the black hole binary (BBH) coalescence GW150914 the era of gravitational-wave (GW) astronomy has started. It has recently been shown that BBH with masses comparable to or higher than GW150914 would be visible in the eLISA band a few years before they finally merge in the band of ground-based detectors. This would allow for pre-merger electromagnetic alerts, dramatically increasing the chances of a joint detection, if BBH are indeed luminous in the electromagnetic band. In this paper we explore a quite different aspect of multi-band GW astronomy, and verify if, and to what extent, measurement of masses and sky position with eLISA could improve parameter estimation and tests of general relativity with ground-based detectors. We generate a catalog of 200 BBH and find that having prior information from eLISA can reduce the uncertainty in the measurement of source distance and primary black hole spin by up to factor of 2 in ground-based GW detectors. The component masses estimate from eLISA will not be refined by the ground based detectors, whereas joint analysis will yield precise characterization of the newly formed black hole and improve consistency tests of general relativity.
- 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.
- Mar 25 2016 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1603.07333v4The Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) discovered gravitational waves (GWs) from a binary black hole merger in 2015 September and may soon observe signals from neutron star mergers. There is considerable interest in searching for their faint and rapidly fading electromagnetic (EM) counterparts, though GW position uncertainties are as coarse as hundreds of square degrees. Because LIGO's sensitivity to binary neutron stars is limited to the local universe, the area on the sky that must be searched could be reduced by weighting positions by mass, luminosity, or star formation in nearby galaxies. Since GW observations provide information about luminosity distance, combining the reconstructed volume with positions and redshifts of galaxies could reduce the area even more dramatically. A key missing ingredient has been a rapid GW parameter estimation algorithm that reconstructs the full distribution of sky location and distance. We demonstrate the first such algorithm, which takes under a minute, fast enough to enable immediate EM follow-up. By combining the three-dimensional posterior with a galaxy catalog, we can reduce the number of galaxies that could conceivably host the event by a factor of 1.4, the total exposure time for the Swift X-ray Telescope by a factor of 2, the total exposure time for a synoptic optical survey by a factor of 2, and the total exposure time for a narrow-field optical telescope by a factor of 3. This encourages us to suggest a new role for small field of view optical instruments in performing targeted searches of the most massive galaxies within the reconstructed volumes.
- 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 $2$--$600 \, \mathrm{Gpc}^{-3} \mathrm{yr}^{-1}$.
- Dec 01 2015 astro-ph.IM gr-qc arXiv:1511.09198v1Future space borne gravitational wave detectors will require a precise definition of calibration signals to ensure the achievement of their design sensitivity. The careful design of the test signals plays a key role in the correct understanding and characterisation of these instruments. In that sense, methods achieving optimal experiment designs must be considered as complementary to the parameter estimation methods being used to determine the parameters describing the system. The relevance of experiment design is particularly significant for the LISA Pathfinder mission, which will spend most of its operation time performing experiments to characterise key technologies for future space borne gravitational wave observatories. Here we propose a framework to derive the optimal signals ---in terms of minimum parameter uncertainty--- to be injected to these instruments during its calibration phase. We compare our results with an alternative numerical algorithm which achieves an optimal input signal by iteratively improving an initial guess. We show agreement of both approaches when applied to the LISA Pathfinder case.
- Nov 19 2015 gr-qc astro-ph.IM arXiv:1511.05955v3The observational era of gravitational-wave astronomy began in the Fall of 2015 with the detection of GW150914. One potential type of detectable gravitational wave is short-duration gravitational-wave bursts, whose waveforms can be difficult to predict. We present the framework for a new detection algorithm for such burst events -- \textitoLIB -- that can be used in low-latency to identify gravitational-wave transients independently of other search algorithms. This algorithm consists of 1) an excess-power event generator based on the Q-transform -- \textitOmicron --, 2) coincidence of these events across a detector network, and 3) an analysis of the coincident events using a Markov chain Monte Carlo Bayesian evidence calculator -- \textitLALInferenceBurst. These steps compress the full data streams into a set of Bayes factors for each event; through this process, we use elements from information theory to minimize the amount of information regarding the signal-versus-noise hypothesis that is lost. We optimally extract this information using a likelihood-ratio test to estimate a detection significance for each event. Using representative archival LIGO data, we show that the algorithm can detect gravitational-wave burst events of astrophysical strength in realistic instrumental noise across different burst waveform morphologies. We also demonstrate that the combination of Bayes factors by means of a likelihood-ratio test can improve the detection efficiency of a gravitational-wave burst search. Finally, we show that oLIB's performance is robust against the choice of gravitational-wave populations used to model the likelihood-ratio test likelihoods.
- 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 $80~\mathrm{Hz}$.
- 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.
- Aug 24 2015 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1508.05336v3Inspiraling binary neutron stars are expected to be one of the most significant sources of gravitational-wave signals for the new generation of advanced ground-based detectors. We investigate how well we could hope to measure properties of these binaries using the Advanced LIGO detectors, which began operation in September 2015. We study an astrophysically motivated population of sources (binary components with masses $1.2~\mathrm{M}_\odot$--$1.6~\mathrm{M}_\odot$ and spins of less than $0.05$) using the full LIGO analysis pipeline. While this simulated population covers the observed range of potential binary neutron-star sources, we do not exclude the possibility of sources with parameters outside these ranges; given the existing uncertainty in distributions of mass and spin, it is critical that analyses account for the full range of possible mass and spin configurations. We find that conservative prior assumptions on neutron-star mass and spin lead to average fractional uncertainties in component masses of $\sim 16\%$, with little constraint on spins (the median $90\%$ upper limit on the spin of the more massive component is $\sim 0.7$). Stronger prior constraints on neutron-star spins can further constrain mass estimates, but only marginally. However, we find that the sky position and luminosity distance for these sources are not influenced by the inclusion of spin; therefore, if LIGO detects a low-spin population of BNS sources, less computationally expensive results calculated neglecting spin will be sufficient for guiding electromagnetic follow-up.
- Mar 19 2015 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1503.05405v2Recently exploratory studies were performed on the possibility of constraining the neutron star equation of state (EOS) using signals from coalescing binary neutron stars, or neutron star-black hole systems, as they will be seen in upcoming advanced gravitational wave detectors such as Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo. In particular, it was estimated to what extent the combined information from multiple detections would enable one to distinguish between different equations of state through hypothesis ranking or parameter estimation. Under the assumption of zero neutron star spins both in signals and in template waveforms and considering tidal effects to 1 post-Newtonian (1PN) order, it was found that O(20) sources would suffice to distinguish between a hard, moderate, and soft equation of state. Here we revisit these results, this time including neutron star tidal effects to the highest order currently known, termination of gravitational waveforms at the contact frequency, neutron star spins, and the resulting quadrupole-monopole interaction. We also take the masses of neutron stars in simulated sources to be distributed according to a relatively strongly peaked Gaussian, as hinted at by observations, but without assuming that the data analyst will necessarily have accurate knowledge of this distribution for use as a mass prior. We find that especially the effect of the latter is dramatic, necessitating many more detections to distinguish between different EOS and causing systematic biases in parameter estimation, on top of biases due to imperfect understanding of the signal model pointed out in earlier work. This would get mitigated if reliable prior information about the mass distribution could be folded into the analyses.
- Mar 17 2015 gr-qc arXiv:1503.04307v2With the discovery of the binary black hole coalescence GW150914, the era of gravitational-wave astrophysics has started. Gravitational-wave signals emitted by compact binary coalescences will be detected in large number by LIGO and Virgo in the coming months and years. Much about compact binaries is still uncertain, including some key details about their formation channels. The two scenarios which are typically considered, common envelope evolution and dynamical capture, result in different distributions for the orientation of the black hole spins. In particular, common envelope evolution is expected to be highly efficient in aligning spins with the orbital angular momentum. In this paper we simulate catalogs of gravitational-wave signals in which a given fraction of events comes from common envelop evolution, and has spins nearly aligned with the orbital angular momentum. We show how the fraction of aligned systems can be accurately estimated using Bayesian parameter estimation, with 1 $\sigma$ uncertainties of the order of 10% after 100-200 sources are detected.
- Dec 30 2014 gr-qc astro-ph.IM arXiv:1412.8384v1The LISA Pathfinder mission will demonstrate the technology of drag-free test masses for use as inertial references in future space-based gravitational wave detectors. To accomplish this, the Pathfinder spacecraft will perform drag-free flight about a test mass while measuring the acceleration of this primary test mass relative to a second reference test mass. Because the reference test mass is contained within the same spacecraft, it is necessary to apply forces on it to maintain its position and attitude relative to the spacecraft. These forces are a potential source of acceleration noise in the LISA Pathfinder system that are not present in the full LISA configuration. While LISA Pathfinder has been designed to meet it's primary mission requirements in the presence of this noise, recent estimates suggest that the on-orbit performance may be limited by this `suspension noise'. The drift-mode or free-flight experiments provide an opportunity to mitigate this noise source and further characterize the underlying disturbances that are of interest to the designers of LISA-like instruments. This article provides a high-level overview of these experiments and the methods under development to analyze the resulting data.
- 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.
- Nov 26 2014 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1411.6934v2Advanced ground-based gravitational-wave (GW) detectors begin operation imminently. Their intended goal is not only to make the first direct detection of GWs, but also to make inferences about the source systems. Binary neutron-star mergers are among the most promising sources. We investigate the performance of the parameter-estimation \edit(PE) pipeline that will be used during the first observing run of the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (aLIGO) in 2015: we concentrate on the ability to reconstruct the source location on the sky, but also consider the ability to measure masses and the distance. Accurate, rapid sky-localization is necessary to alert electromagnetic (EM) observatories so that they can perform follow-up searches for counterpart transient events. We consider PE accuracy in the presence of \editnon-stationary, non-Gaussian noise. We find that the character of the noise makes negligible difference to the PE performance \editat a given signal-to-noise ratio. The source luminosity distance can only be poorly constrained, the median $90\%$ ($50\%$) credible interval scaled with respect to the true distance is $0.85$ ($0.38$). However, the chirp mass is well measured. Our chirp-mass estimates are subject to systematic error because we used gravitational-waveform templates without component spin to carry out inference on signals with moderate spins, but the total error is typically less than $10^{-3} M_\odot$. The median $90\%$ ($50\%$) credible region for sky localization is $\sim600~\mathrm{deg^{2}}$ ($\sim150~\mathrm{deg^{2}}$), with $3\%$ ($30\%$) of detected events localized within $100~\mathrm{deg^{2}}$. Early aLIGO, with only two detectors, will have a sky-localization accuracy for binary neutron stars of hundreds of square degrees; this makes EM follow-up challenging, but not impossible.
- 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.
- Effect of squeezing on parameter estimation of gravitational waves emitted by compact binary systemsOct 31 2014 gr-qc arXiv:1410.8503v2The LIGO gravitational wave (GW) detectors will begin collecting data in 2015, with Virgo following shortly after. The use of squeezing has been proposed as a way to reduce the quantum noise without increasing the laser power, and has been successfully tested at one of the LIGO sites and at GEO in Germany. When used in Advanced LIGO without a filter cavity, the squeezer improves the performances of detectors above about 100 Hz, at the cost of a higher noise floor in the low frequency regime. Frequency-dependent squeezing, on the other hand, will lower the noise floor throughout the entire band. Squeezing technology will have a twofold impact: it will change the number of expected detections and it will impact the quality of parameter estimation for the detected signals. In this work we consider three different GW detector networks, each utilizing a different type of squeezer, all corresponding to plausible implementations. Using LALInference, a powerful Monte Carlo parameter estimation algorithm, we study how each of these networks estimates the parameters of GW signals emitted by compact binary systems, and compare the results with a baseline advanced LIGO-Virgo network. We find that, even in its simplest implementation, squeezing has a large positive impact: the sky error area of detected signals will shrink by about 30% on average, increasing the chances of finding an electromagnetic counterpart to the GW detection. Similarly, we find that the measurability of tidal deformability parameters for neutron stars in binaries increases by about 30%, which could aid in determining the equation of state of neutron stars. The degradation in the measurement of the chirp mass, as a result of the higher low-frequency noise, is shown to be negligible when compared to systematic errors.
- 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.