[1110.2229] Accurate gravitational waveforms for binary-black-hole mergers with nearly extremal spins

Authors: Geoffrey Lovelace, Michael Boyle, Mark A. Scheel, Bela Szilagyi

Date: 10 Oct 2011

Abstract: Motivated by the possibility of observing gravitational waves from merging black holes whose spins are nearly extremal (i.e., 1 in dimensionless units), we present numerical waveforms from simulations of merging black holes with the highest spins simulated to date: (1) a 25.5-orbit inspiral, merger, and ringdown of two holes with equal masses and spins of magnitude 0.97 aligned with the orbital angular momentum; and (2) a previously reported 12.5-orbit inspiral, merger, and ringdown of two holes with equal masses and spins of magnitude 0.95 anti-aligned with the orbital angular momentum. First, we consider the horizon mass and spin evolution of the new aligned-spin simulation. During the inspiral, the horizon area and spin evolve in remarkably close agreement with Alvi's analytic predictions, and the remnant hole's final spin agrees reasonably well with several analytic predictions. We also find that the total energy emitted by a real astrophysical system with these parameters — almost all of which is radiated during the time included in this simulation — would be 10.952% of the initial mass at infinite separation. Second, we consider the gravitational waveforms for both simulations. After estimating their uncertainties, we compare the waveforms to several post-Newtonian approximants, finding significant disagreement well before merger, although the phase of the TaylorT4 approximant happens to agree remarkably well with the numerical prediction in the aligned-spin case. We find that the post-Newtonian waveforms have sufficient uncertainty that hybridized waveforms will require far longer numerical simulations (in the absence of improved post-Newtonian waveforms) for accurate parameter estimation of low-mass binary systems.

abs pdf

Oct 11, 2011

1110.2229 (/preprints)
2011-10-11, 22:23 [edit]

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