[1108.2410] Application of asymptotic expansions for maximum likelihood estimators' errors to gravitational waves from binary mergers: the network case

Authors: Salvatore Vitale, Michele Zanolin

Date: 11 Aug 2011

Abstract: This paper describes the most accurate analytical frequentist assessment to date of the uncertainties in the estimation of physical parameters from gravitational waves generated by non spinning binary systems and Earth-based networks of laser interferometers. The paper quantifies how the accuracy in estimating the intrinsic parameters mostly depends on the network signal to noise ratio (SNR), but the resolution in the direction of arrival also strongly depends on the network geometry.
We compare results for 6 different existing and possible global networks and two different choices of the parameter space. We show how the fraction of the sky where the one sigma angular resolution is below 2 square degrees increases about 3 times when transitioning from the Hanford (USA), Livingston (USA) and Cascina (Italy) network to possible 5 sites ones (while keeping the network SNR fixed).
The technique adopted here is an asymptotic expansion of the uncertainties in inverse powers of the signal to noise ratio where the first order is the inverse Fisher information matrix. We show that a common approach to use simplified parameter spaces and only the Fisher information matrix can largely underestimate the uncertainties (by a factor ~7 for the one sigma sky uncertainty in square degrees at a network SNR of ~15).

abs pdf

Aug 13, 2011

1108.2410 (/preprints)
2011-08-13, 08:51 [edit]


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