Authors: Joey Shapiro Key, Neil J. Cornish
Date: 18 Jun 2010
Abstract: The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) is designed to detect gravitational wave signals from astrophysical sources, including those from coalescing binary systems of compact objects such as black holes. Colliding galaxies have central black holes that sink to the center of the merged galaxy and begin to orbit one another and emit gravitational waves. Some galaxy evolution models predict that the binary black hole system will enter the LISA band with significant orbital eccentricity, while other models suggest that the orbits will already have circularized. Using a full seventeen parameter waveform model that includes the effects of orbital eccentricity, spin precession and higher harmonics, we investigate how well the source parameters can be inferred from simulated LISA data. Defining the reference eccentricity as the value one year before merger, we find that for typical LISA sources, it will be possible to measure the eccentricity to an accuracy of parts in a thousand. The accuracy with which the eccentricity can be measured depends only very weakly on the eccentricity, making it possible to distinguish circular orbits from those with very small eccentricities. LISA measurements of the orbital eccentricity can provide strong constraints on theories of galaxy mergers in the early universe.
© M. Vallisneri 2012 — last modified on 2010/01/29
Tantum in modicis, quantum in maximis