[0903.2059] Constraining the Black Hole Mass Spectrum with Gravitational Wave Observations I: The Error Kernel

Authors: Joseph E. Plowman, Daniel C. Jacobs, Ronald W. Hellings, Shane L. Larson, Sachiko Tsuruta

Date: 11 Mar 2009

Abstract: Many models have been suggested for the origin of the supermassive black holes (SMBHs) that are found in the centres of most galaxies. One class of models -- the merger-tree models -- typically predict a high-redshift population of intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs), with between 100 and 100000 Solar Masses. A powerful way to observe these IMBHs is via gravitational waves the black holes emit as they merge. The statistics of the observed black hole population will allow us to discriminate between a merger tree and some other model, as well as between the various merger tree models themselves. However, gravitational wave detectors such as LISA will not be able to detect all such mergers nor assign precise black hole parameters to the merger, due to weak gravitational wave signal strengths. In order to use LISA observations to infer the statistics of the underlying population, these errors must be taken into account. We describe here a method for folding the LISA gravitational wave parameter error estimates into an ‘error kernel’ designed for use at the population model level. The effects of this error function are demonstrated by applying it to several recent models of black hole mergers, and some conclusions are made about LISA's ability to test models of the origin of supermassive black holes.

abs pdf

Mar 31, 2009

0903.2059 (/preprints)
2009-03-31, 14:26 [edit]

[0903.4616] Methods for detection and characterization of signals in noisy data with the Hilbert-Huang Transform

Authors: Alexander Stroeer, John K. Cannizzo, Jordan B. Camp, Nicolas Gagarin

Date: 26 Mar 2009

Abstract: The Hilbert-Huang Transform is a novel, adaptive approach to time series analysis that does not make assumptions about the data form. Its adaptive, local character allows the decomposition of non-stationary signals with hightime-frequency resolution but also renders it susceptible to degradation from noise. We show that complementing the HHT with techniques such as zero-phase filtering, kernel density estimation and Fourier analysis allows it to be used effectively to detect and characterize signals with low signal to noise ratio.

abs pdf

Mar 30, 2009

0903.4616 (/preprints)
2009-03-30, 12:51 [edit]

[0903.4791] Searching for gravitational-wave signals emitted by eccentric compact binaries using a non-eccentric template bank: implications for ground-based detectors

Authors: T Cokelaer, D Pathak

Date: 27 Mar 2009

Abstract: Most of the inspiralling compact binaries are expected to be circularized by the time their gravitational-wave signals enter the frequency band of ground-based detectors such as LIGO or VIRGO. However, it is not excluded that some of these binaries might still possess a significant eccentricity at a few tens of hertz. Despite this possibility, current search pipelines based on matched filtering techniques consider only non-eccentric templates. The effect of such an approximation on the loss of signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) has been investigated by Martel and Poisson (1999 Phys. Rev. D 60 124008) in the context of initial LIGO detector. They ascertained that non-eccentric templates will be successful at detecting eccentric signals. We revisit their work by incorporating current and future ground-based detectors and precisely quantify the exact loss of SNR. In order to be more faithful to an actual search, we maximized the SNR over a template bank, whose minimal match is set to 95%.
PACS numbers: 02.70.-c, 07.05.Kf, 95.85.Sz, 97.80.-d (Some figures in this article are in colour only in the electronic version)

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Mar 30, 2009

0903.4791 (/preprints)
2009-03-30, 12:42 [edit]

[0903.4717] The edge of locality: visualizing a black hole from the inside

Authors: Andrew J S Hamilton, Gavin Polhemus (JILA)

Date: 27 Mar 2009

Abstract: We illustrate and discuss the view seen by an observer inside the horizon of a Schwarzschild black hole. The view as the observer approaches the central singularity is of particular interest because, according to ideas arising from "observer complementarity," points in opposite directions along the observer's past lightcone are at "the edge of locality," where standard flat-space quantum-field-theory commutation rules may be at the brink of failure. Near the singularity, the observer's view is aberrated by the diverging tidal force into a horizontal plane. The view in the horizontal plane is highly blueshifted, but all directions other than horizontal appear highly redshifted. We argue that the affine distance provides a canonical measure of distance along a light ray from emitter to observer. Since the affine distance is not directly measurable by the observer, we also consider perceptual distances, and argue that the trinocular distance (binocular distance is inadequate) provides an estimate of affine distance that would allow tree-leaping apes to survive in highly curved spacetime.

abs pdf

Mar 30, 2009

0903.4717 (/preprints)
2009-03-30, 12:41 [edit]

[0903.3733] Cosmic Swarms: A search for Supermassive Black Holes in the LISA data stream with a Hybrid Evolutionary Algorithm

Authors: Jonathan R. Gair, Edward K. Porter

Date: 22 Mar 2009

Abstract: We describe a hybrid evolutionary algorithm that can simultaneously search for multiple supermassive black hole binary (SMBHB) inspirals in LISA data. The algorithm mixes evolutionary computation, Metropolis-Hastings methods and Nested Sampling. The inspiral of SMBHBs presents an interesting problem for gravitational wave data analysis since, due to the LISA response function, the sources have a bi-modal sky solution. We show here that it is possible not only to detect multiple SMBHBs in the data stream, but also to investigate simultaneously all the various modes of the global solution. In all cases, the algorithm returns parameter determinations within $5\sigma$ (as estimated from the Fisher Matrix) of the true answer, for both the actual and antipodal sky solutions.

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Mar 24, 2009

0903.3733 (/preprints)
2009-03-24, 09:53 [edit]

[0903.3684] A Study of Elliptical Last Stable Orbits About a Massive Kerr Black Hole

Authors: P. G. Komorowski, S. R. Valluri, M. Houde

Date: 21 Mar 2009

Abstract: The last stable orbit (LSO) of a compact object (CO) is an important boundary condition when performing numerical analysis of orbit evolution. Although the LSO is already well understood for the case where a test-particle is in an elliptical orbit around a Schwarzschild black hole (SBH) and for the case of a circular orbit about a Kerr black hole (KBH) of normalised spin, S (|J|/Mˆ2, where J is the spin angular momentum of the KBH); it is worthwhile to extend our knowledge to include elliptical orbits about a KBH. This extension helps to lay the foundation for a better understanding of gravitational wave (GW) emission. The mathematical developments described in this work sprang from the use of an effective potential (V) derived from the Kerr metric, which encapsulates the Lense-Thirring precession. That allowed us to develop a new form of analytical expression to calculate the LSO Radius for circular orbits (R_LSO) of arbitrary KBH spin. We were then able to construct a numerical method to calculate the latus rectum (l_LSO) for an elliptical LSO.
Abstract Formulae for Eˆ2 (square of normalised orbital energy) and Lˆ2 (square of normalised orbital angular momentum) in terms of eccentricity, e, and latus rectum, l, were previously developed by others for elliptical orbits around an SBH and then extended to the KBH case; we used these results to generalise our analytical l_LSO equations to elliptical orbits. LSO data calculated from our analytical equations and numerical procedures, and those previously published, are then compared and found to be in excellent agreement.

abs pdf

Mar 24, 2009

0903.3684 (/preprints)
2009-03-24, 09:52 [edit]

[0903.3489] The Nature of Time

Authors: Julian Barbour

Date: 20 Mar 2009

Abstract: A review of some basic facts of classical dynamics shows that time, or precisely duration, is redundant as a fundamental concept. Duration and the behaviour of clocks emerge from a timeless law that governs change.

abs pdf

Mar 23, 2009

0903.3489 (/preprints)
2009-03-23, 09:20 [edit]

[0903.2603] Probing neutron stars with gravitational waves

Authors: Benjamin J. Owen (Penn State)

Date: 15 Mar 2009

Abstract: Within the next decade gravitational-wave (GW) observations by Advanced LIGO in the United States, Advanced Virgo and GEO HF in Europe, and possibly other ground-based instruments will provide unprecedented opportunities to look directly into the dense interiors of neutron stars which are opaque to all forms of electromagnetic (EM) radiation. The 10-10000 Hz frequency band available to these ground-based interferometers is inhabited by many neutron star mode frequencies, spin frequencies, and inverse dynamical timescales. GWs can provide information on bulk properties of neutron stars (masses, radii, locations…) as well as microphysics of their substance (crystalline structure, viscosity, composition…), some of which is difficult or impossible to obtain by EM observations alone. The former will tell us about the astrophysics of neutron stars, and the latter will illuminate fundamental issues in nuclear and particle physics and the physics of extremely condensed matter. Although GW searches can be done "blind," they become richer and more informative with input from EM observations; and thus the combination of the two is crucial for learning the most we can about neutron stars. Healthy GW and EM observational programs must be accompanied by vigorous theoretical research on the interface of astrophysics, gravitational physics, nuclear and particle physics in order to extract the most from the observations.

abs pdf

Mar 18, 2009

0903.2603 (/preprints)
2009-03-18, 10:40 [edit]

[0903.2085] A brief introduction to Cadabra: a tool for tensor computations in General Relativity

Authors: Leo Brewin

Date: 12 Mar 2009

Abstract: Cadabra is a powerful computer program for the manipulation of tensor equations. It was designed for use in high energy physics but its rich structure and ease of use lends itself well to the routine computations required in General Relativity. Here we will present a series of simple examples showing how Cadabra may be used, including verifying that the Levi-Civita connection is a metric connection and a derivation of the Gauss equation between induced and ambient curvatures.

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Mar 15, 2009

0903.2085 (/preprints)
2009-03-15, 15:18 [edit]

[0903.1615] Determination of the relativistic parameter gamma using very long baseline interferometry

Authors: S. B. Lambert, C. Le Poncin-Lafitte

Date: 9 Mar 2009

Abstract: Relativistic bending in the vicinity of a massive body is characterized only by the post-Newtonian parameter $\gamma$ within the standard parameterized post-Newtonian formalism, which is unity in General Relativity. Aiming at estimating this parameter, we use very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) to measure the gravitational deflection of radio waves emitted by distant compact radio sources, by Solar System bodies. We analyze geodetic VLBI observations recorded since 1979. We compare estimates of $\gamma$ and errors obtained using various analysis schemes including global estimations over several time spans and with various Sun elongation cut-off angles, and analysis of radio source coordinate time series. We arrive at the conclusion that the relativistic parameter $\gamma$ cannot be estimated at better than $2\times10ˆ{-4}$. The main factor of limitation is the uncertainty in the determination of (global or session-wise) radio source coordinates. A sum of various instrumental and modeling errors and analysis strategy defects, that cannot be decorrelated and corrected yet, is at the origin of the limitating noise.

abs pdf

Mar 10, 2009

0903.1615 (/preprints)
2009-03-10, 11:44 [edit]

[0903.1105] The Event Horizon of Sagittarius A*

Authors: Avery E. Broderick (1), Abraham Loeb (2), Ramesh Narayan (2) ((1) CITA,(2) Harvard CfA)

Date: 5 Mar 2009

Abstract: Black hole event horizons, causally separating the external universe from compact regions of spacetime, are one of the most exotic predictions of General Relativity (GR). Until recently, their compact size has prevented efforts to study them directly. Here we show that recent millimeter and infrared observations of Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, all but requires the existence of a horizon. Specifically, we show that these observations limit the luminosity of any putative visible compact emitting region to below 0.4% of Sgr A*'s accretion luminosity. Equivalently, this requires the efficiency of converting the gravitational binding energy liberated during accretion into radiation and kinetic outflows to be greater than 99.6%, considerably larger than those implicated in Sgr A*, and therefore inconsistent with the existence of such a visible region. Finally, since we are able to frame this argument entirely in terms of observable quantities, our results apply to all geometric theories of gravity that admit stationary solutions, including the commonly discussed f(R) class of theories.

abs pdf

Mar 10, 2009

0903.1105 (/preprints)
2009-03-10, 11:44 [edit]

[0903.1166] Testing General Relativity with Atomic Clocks

Authors: S. Reynaud, C. Salomon, P. Wolf

Date: 6 Mar 2009

Abstract: We discuss perspectives for new tests of general relativity which are based on recent technological developments as well as new ideas. We focus our attention on tests performed with atomic clocks and do not repeat arguments present in the other contributions to the present volume. In particular, we present the scientific motivations of the space projects ACES and SAGAS.

abs pdf

Mar 09, 2009

0903.1166 (/preprints)
2009-03-09, 09:43 [edit]

[0903.1122] Radiation reaction and gravitational waves in the effective field theory approach

Authors: Chad R. Galley, Manuel Tiglio

Date: 5 Mar 2009

Abstract: We compute the contribution to the Lagrangian from the leading order (2.5 post-Newtonian) radiation reaction and the quadrupolar gravitational waves emitted from a binary system using the effective field theory (EFT) approach of Goldberger and Rothstein. We use an initial value formulation of the underlying (quantum) framework to implement retarded boundary conditions and describe these real-time dissipative processes. We also demonstrate why the usual scattering formalism of quantum field theory inadequately accounts for these. The methods discussed here should be useful for deriving real-time quantities (including radiation reaction forces and gravitational wave emission) and hereditary terms in the post-Newtonian approximation (including memory, tail and other causal, history-dependent integrals) within the EFT approach. We also provide a consistent formulation of the radiation sector in the equivalent effective field theory approach of Kol and Smolkin.

abs pdf

Mar 09, 2009

0903.1122 (/preprints)
2009-03-09, 09:42 [edit]

[0903.0528] Probing non-tensorial polarizations of stochastic gravitational-wave backgrounds with ground-based laser interferometers

Authors: Atsushi Nishizawa, Atsushi Taruya, Kazuhiro Hayama, Seiji Kawamura, Masa-aki Sakagami

Date: 3 Mar 2009

Abstract: In a general metric theory of gravitation in four dimensions, six polarizations of a gravitational wave are allowed: two scalar and two vector modes, in addition to two tensor modes in general relativity. Such additional polarization modes appear due to additional degrees of freedom in modified theories of gravitation or theories with extra dimensions. Thus, observations of gravitational waves can be utilized to constrain the extended models of gravitation. In this paper, we investigate detectability of additional polarization modes of gravitational waves, particularly focusing on a stochastic gravitational-wave background, with laser-interferometric detectors on the Earth. We found that multiple detectors can separate the mixture of polarization modes in detector outputs, and that they have almost the same sensitivity to each polarization mode of stochastic gravitational-wave background.

abs pdf

Mar 05, 2009

0903.0528 (/preprints)
2009-03-05, 08:08 [edit]

[0903.0383] The Galactic Center: A Laboratory for Fundamental Astrophysics and Galactic Nuclei

Authors: A. Ghez, M. Morris, J. Lu, N. Weinberg, K. Matthews, T. Alexander, P. Armitage, E. Becklin, W. Brown, R. Campbell, T. Do, A. Eckart, R. Genzel, A. Gould, B. Hansen, L. Ho, F. Lo, A. Loeb, F. Melia, D. Merritt, M. Milosavljevic, H. Perets, F. Rasio, M. Reid, S. Salim, R. Schoedel, S. Yelda

Date: 2 Mar 2009

Abstract: As the closest example of a galactic nucleus, the Galactic center presents an exquisite laboratory for learning about supermassive black holes (SMBH) and their environs. Detailed studies of stellar dynamics deep in the potential well of a galaxy, with exisiting and future large ground-based telescopes, offer several exciting directions in the coming decade. First, it will be possible to obtain precision measurements of the Galaxy's central potential, providing both a unique test of General Relativity (GR) and a detection of the extended dark matter distribution that is predicted to exist around the SMBH. Tests of gravity have not previously been possible on the mass scale of a SMBH. Similarly, only upper limits on the extended matter distribution on small scales currently exist; detection of dark matter on these scales is an important test of Lambda-CDM and the detection of stellar remnants would reveal a population that may dominate the stellar dynamics on the smallest scales. Second, our detailed view of the SMBH and its local gas and stellar environment provides insight into how SMBHs at the centers of galaxies form, grow and interact with their environs as well as on the exotic processes at work in the densest stellar clusters in the Universe. The key questions, still unanswered, of when and how SMBHs formed in the early universe, and the myriad ways in which feedback from SMBHs can affect structure formation, can be informed by directly observing the physical processes operating at the SMBH.

abs pdf

Mar 04, 2009

0903.0383 (/preprints)
2009-03-04, 11:59 [edit]

[0902.1527] Astro2010 Decadal Survey Whitepaper: Coordinated Science in the Gravitational and Electromagnetic Skies

Authors: Josh Bloom et al.

Date: 10 Feb 2009

Abstract: It is widely expected that the coming decade will witness the first direct detection of gravitational waves (GWs). The ground-based LIGO and Virgo GW observatories are being upgraded to advanced sensitivity, and are expected to observe a significant binary merger rate. The launch of The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) would extend the GW window to low frequencies, opening new vistas on dynamical processes involving massive (M >~ 10ˆ5 M_Sun) black holes. GW events are likely to be accompanied by electromagnetic (EM) counterparts and, since information carried electromagnetically is complementary to that carried gravitationally, a great deal can be learned about an event and its environment if it becomes possible to measure both forms of radiation in concert. Measurements of this kind will mark the dawn of trans-spectral astrophysics, bridging two distinct spectral bands of information. The aim of this whitepaper is to articulate future directions in both theory and observation that are likely to impact broad astrophysical inquiries of general interest. What will EM observations reflect on the nature and diversity of GW sources? Can GW sources be exploited as complementary probes of cosmology? What cross-facility coordination will expand the science returns of gravitational and electromagnetic observations?

abs pdf

Mar 04, 2009

0902.1527 (/preprints)
2009-03-04, 09:28 [edit]

[0902.0416] Gravitational waves from black hole-neutron star binaries I: Classification of waveforms

Authors: Masaru Shibata, Kohtaro Kyutoku, Tetsuro Yamamoto, Keisuke Taniguchi

Date: 3 Feb 2009

Abstract: Using our new numerical-relativity code SACRA, long-term simulations for inspiral and merger of black hole (BH)-neutron star (NS) binaries are performed, focusing particularly on gravitational waveforms. As the initial conditions, BH-NS binaries in a quasiequilibrium state are prepared in a modified version of the moving-puncture approach. The BH is modeled by a nonspinning moving puncture and for the NS, a polytropic equation of state with $\Gamma=2$ and the irrotational velocity field are employed. The mass ratio of the BH to the NS, $Q=M_{\rm BH}/M_{\rm NS}$, is chosen in the range between 1.5 and 5. The compactness of the NS, defined by ${\cal C}=GM_{\rm NS}/cˆ2R_{\rm NS}$, is chosen to be between 0.145 and 0.178. For a large value of $Q$ for which the NS is not tidally disrupted and is simply swallowed by the BH, gravitational waves are characterized by inspiral, merger, and ringdown waveforms. In this case, the waveforms are qualitatively the same as that from BH-BH binaries. For a sufficiently small value of $Q \alt 2$, the NS may be tidally disrupted before it is swallowed by the BH. In this case, the amplitude of the merger and ringdown waveforms is very low, and thus, gravitational waves are characterized by the inspiral waveform and subsequent quick damping. The difference in the merger and ringdown waveforms is clearly reflected in the spectrum shape and in the ‘cut-off’ frequency above which the spectrum amplitude steeply decreases. When an NS is not tidally disrupted (e.g., for Q=5), kick velocity, induced by asymmetric gravitational wave emission, agrees approximately with that derived for the merger of BH-BH binaries, whereas for the case that the tidal disruption occurs, the kick velocity is significantly suppressed.

abs pdf

Mar 04, 2009

0902.0416 (/preprints)
2009-03-04, 09:12 [edit]

[0902.2923] The astrophysics of ultra-compact binaries

Authors: G. Nelemans, M. Wood, P. Groot, S. Anderson, K. Belczynski, M. Benacquista, P. Charles, A. Cumming, C. Deloye, P. Jonker, V. Kalogera, C. Knigge, T. Marsh, P. Motl, R. Napiwotzki, K. O'Brien, E.S. Phinney, G. Ramsay, T. Shahbaz, J.-E. Solheim, D. Steeghs, M. van der Sluys, F. Verbunt, B. Warner, K. Werner, K. Wu, L. R. Yungelson

Date: 17 Feb 2009

Abstract: This white paper briefly describes the astrophysics of ultra-compact binaries, with emphasis of the challenges and opportunities in the next decade.

abs pdf

Mar 03, 2009

0902.2923 (/preprints)
2009-03-03, 08:44 [edit]

[0903.0324] Discrete derivative estimation in LISA Pathfinder data reduction

Authors: Luigi Ferraioli, Mauro Hueller, Stefano Vitale

Date: 2 Mar 2009

Abstract: Data analysis for the LISA Technology package (LTP) experiment to be flown aboard the LISA Pathfinder mission requires the solution of the system dynamics for the calculation of the force acting on the test masses (TMs) starting from interferometer position data. The need for a solution to this problem has prompted us to implement a discrete time domain derivative estimator suited for the LTP experiment requirements. We first report on the mathematical procedures for the definition of two methods; the first based on a parabolic fit approximation and the second based on a Taylor series expansion. These two methods are then generalized and incorporated in a more general class of five point discrete derivative estimators. The same procedure employed for the second derivative can be applied to the estimation of the first derivative and of a data smoother allowing defining a class of simple five points estimators for both. The performances of three particular realization of the five point second derivative estimator are analyzed with simulated noisy data. This analysis pointed out that those estimators introducing large amount of high frequency noise can determine systematic errors in the estimation of low frequencies noise levels.

abs pdf

Mar 03, 2009

0903.0324 (/preprints)
2009-03-03, 08:43 [edit]

[0903.0338] Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology with Gravitational Waves

Authors: B.S. Sathyaprakash, B.F. Schutz

Date: 2 Mar 2009

Abstract: Gravitational wave detectors are already operating at interesting sensitivity levels, and they have an upgrade path that should result in secure detections by 2014. We review the physics of gravitational waves, how they interact with detectors (bars and interferometers), and how these detectors operate. We study the most likely sources of gravitational waves and review the data analysis methods that are used to extract their signals from detector noise. Then we consider the consequences of gravitational wave detections and observations for physics, astrophysics, and cosmology.

abs pdf

Mar 03, 2009

0903.0338 (/preprints)
2009-03-03, 08:42 [edit]

[0903.0100] Will Einstein Have the Last Word on Gravity?

Authors: Bernard F. Schutz, Joan Centrella, Curt Cutler, Scott A. Hughes

Date: 28 Feb 2009

Abstract: This is a whitepaper submitted to the 2010 Astronomy Decadal Review process, addressing the potential tests of gravity theory that could be made by observations of gravitational waves in the milliHertz frequency band by the proposed ESA-NASA gravitational wave observatory LISA. A key issue is that observations in this band of binary systems consisting of black holes offer very clean tests with high signal-to-noise ratios. Gravitational waves would probe nonlinear gravity and could reveal small corrections, such as extra long-range fields that arise in unified theories, deviations of the metric around massive black holes from the Kerr solution, massive gravitons, chiral effects, and effects of extra dimensions. The availability of strong signals from massive black hole binaries as well as complex signals from extreme mass-ratio binaries is unique to the milliHertz waveband and makes LISA a particularly sensitive probe of the validity of general relativity.

abs pdf

Mar 03, 2009

0903.0100 (/preprints)
2009-03-03, 08:42 [edit]

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