[0903.2059] Constraining the Black Hole Mass Spectrum with Gravitational Wave Observations I: The Error Kernel

Authors: Joseph E. Plowman, Daniel C. Jacobs, Ronald W. Hellings, Shane L. Larson, Sachiko Tsuruta

Date: 11 Mar 2009

Abstract: Many models have been suggested for the origin of the supermassive black holes (SMBHs) that are found in the centres of most galaxies. One class of models -- the merger-tree models -- typically predict a high-redshift population of intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs), with between 100 and 100000 Solar Masses. A powerful way to observe these IMBHs is via gravitational waves the black holes emit as they merge. The statistics of the observed black hole population will allow us to discriminate between a merger tree and some other model, as well as between the various merger tree models themselves. However, gravitational wave detectors such as LISA will not be able to detect all such mergers nor assign precise black hole parameters to the merger, due to weak gravitational wave signal strengths. In order to use LISA observations to infer the statistics of the underlying population, these errors must be taken into account. We describe here a method for folding the LISA gravitational wave parameter error estimates into an ‘error kernel’ designed for use at the population model level. The effects of this error function are demonstrated by applying it to several recent models of black hole mergers, and some conclusions are made about LISA's ability to test models of the origin of supermassive black holes.

abs pdf

Mar 31, 2009

0903.2059 (/preprints)
2009-03-31, 14:26 [edit]

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