[0909.3328] Fundamental Theoretical Bias in Gravitational Wave Astrophysics and the Parameterized Post-Einsteinian Framework

Authors: Nicolas Yunes, Frans Pretorius

Date: 17 Sep 2009

Abstract: We consider the concept of fundamental bias in gravitational wave astrophysics as the assumption that general relativity is the correct theory of gravity during the entire wave-generation and propagation regime. Such an assumption is valid in the weak-field, as verified by precision experiments and observations, but it need not hold in the dynamical strong-field regime where tests are lacking. Fundamental bias can cause systematic errors in the detection and parameter estimation of signals, which can lead to a mischaracterization of the universe through incorrect inferences about source event rates and populations. We propose a remedy through the introduction of the parameterized post-Einsteinian framework, which consists of the enhancement of waveform templates via the inclusion of post-Einsteinian parameters. These parameters would ostensibly be designed to interpolate between templates constructed in general relativity and well-motivated alternative theories of gravity, and also include extrapolations that follow sound theoretical principles, such as consistency with conservation laws and symmetries. As an example, we construct parameterized post-Einsteinian templates for the binary coalescence of equal-mass, non-spinning compact objects in a quasi-circular inspiral. The parametrized post-Einsteinian framework should allow matched filtered data to select a specific set of post-Einsteinian parameters without a priori assuming the validity of the former, thus either verifying general relativity or pointing to possible dynamical strong-field deviations.

abs pdf

Sep 21, 2009

0909.3328 (/preprints)
2009-09-21, 10:45 [edit]

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