[0904.1017] Exploring short gamma-ray bursts as gravitational-wave standard sirens

Authors: Samaya Nissanke, Scott A. Hughes, Daniel E. Holz, Neal Dalal, Jonathan L. Sievers

Date: 7 Apr 2009

Abstract: Recent observations support the hypothesis that a large fraction of "short-hard" gamma-ray bursts (SHBs) are associated with compact binary inspiral. Since gravitational-wave (GW) measurements of well-localized inspiraling binaries can measure absolute source distances, simultaneous observation of a binary's GWs and SHB would allow us to independently determine both its luminosity distance and redshift. Such a "standard siren" (the GW analog of a standard candle) would provide an excellent probe of the relatively nearby universe's expansion, complementing other standard candles. In this paper, we examine binary measurement using a Markov Chain Monte Carlo technique to build the probability distributions describing measured parameters. We assume that each SHB observation gives both sky position and the time of coalescence, and we take both binary neutron stars and black hole-neutron star coalescences as plausible SHB progenitors. We examine how well parameters (particularly luminosity distance) can be measured from GW observations of these sources by a range of ground-based detector networks. We find that earlier estimates overstate how well distances can be measured, even at fairly large signal-to-noise ratio. The fundamental limitation to determining distance to these sources is the gravitational waveform's degeneracy between luminosity distance and source inclination. Despite this, we find that excellent results can be achieved by measuring a large number of coalescing binaries, especially if the worldwide network consists of many widely separated detectors. Advanced GW detectors will be able to determine the absolute luminosity distance to an accuracy of 10-30% for NS-NS (out to 600 Mpc) and NS-BH binaries (out to 1400 Mpc). (Abridged)

abs pdf

Apr 15, 2009

0904.1017 (/preprints)
2009-04-15, 16:13 [edit]

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