4,981 research outputs found

    Decoding mode-mixing in black-hole merger ringdown

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    Optimal extraction of information from gravitational-wave observations of binary black-hole coalescences requires detailed knowledge of the waveforms. Current approaches for representing waveform information are based on spin-weighted spherical harmonic decomposition. Higher-order harmonic modes carrying a few percent of the total power output near merger can supply information critical to determining intrinsic and extrinsic parameters of the binary. One obstacle to constructing a full multi-mode template of merger waveforms is the apparently complicated behavior of some of these modes; instead of settling down to a simple quasinormal frequency with decaying amplitude, some ∣m∣≠ℓ|m| \neq \ell modes show periodic bumps characteristic of mode-mixing. We analyze the strongest of these modes -- the anomalous (3,2)(3,2) harmonic mode -- measured in a set of binary black-hole merger waveform simulations, and show that to leading order, they are due to a mismatch between the spherical harmonic basis used for extraction in 3D numerical relativity simulations, and the spheroidal harmonics adapted to the perturbation theory of Kerr black holes. Other causes of mode-mixing arising from gauge ambiguities and physical properties of the quasinormal ringdown modes are also considered and found to be small for the waveforms studied here.Comment: 15 pages, 10 figures, 2 tables; new version has improved Figs. 1-3, consistent labelling of simulations between Tables I & II, additional/corrected references, and extra hyphen

    Improved Time-Domain Accuracy Standards for Model Gravitational Waveforms

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    Model gravitational waveforms must be accurate enough to be useful for detection of signals and measurement of their parameters, so appropriate accuracy standards are needed. Yet these standards should not be unnecessarily restrictive, making them impractical for the numerical and analytical modelers to meet. The work of Lindblom, Owen, and Brown [Phys. Rev. D 78, 124020 (2008)] is extended by deriving new waveform accuracy standards which are significantly less restrictive while still ensuring the quality needed for gravitational-wave data analysis. These new standards are formulated as bounds on certain norms of the time-domain waveform errors, which makes it possible to enforce them in situations where frequency-domain errors may be difficult or impossible to estimate reliably. These standards are less restrictive by about a factor of 20 than the previously published time-domain standards for detection, and up to a factor of 60 for measurement. These new standards should therefore be much easier to use effectively.Comment: 10 pages, 5 figure

    Testing Gravitational Physics with Space-based Gravitational-wave Observations

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    Gravitational wave observations provide exceptional and unique opportunities for precision tests of gravitational physics, as predicted by general relativity (GR). Space-based gravitational wave measurements, with high signal-to-noise ratios and large numbers of observed events may provide the best-suited gravitational-wave observations for testing GR with unprecedented precision. These observations will be especially useful in testing the properties of gravitational waves and strong-field aspects of the theory which are less relevant in other observations. We review the proposed GR test based on observations of massive black hole mergers, extreme mass ratio inspirals, and galactic binary systems

    Comparison of Atom Interferometers and Light Interferometers as Space-Based Gravitational Wave Detectors

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    We consider a class of proposed gravitational wave detectors based on multiple atomic interferometers separated by large baselines and referenced by common laser systems. We compute the sensitivity limits of these detectors due to intrinsic phase noise of the light sources, non-inertial motion of the light sources, and atomic shot noise and compare them to sensitivity limits for traditional light interferometers. We find that atom interferometers and light interferometers are limited in a nearly identical way by intrinsic phase noise and that both require similar mitigation strategies (e.g. multiple arm instruments) to reach interesting sensitivities. The sensitivity limit from motion of the light sources is slightly different and favors the atom interferometers in the low-frequency limit, although the limit in both cases is severe

    Numerical Relativity for Space-Based Gravitational Wave Astronomy

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    In the next decade, gravitational wave instruments in space may provide high-precision measurements of gravitational-wave signals from strong sources, such as black holes. Currently variations on the original Laser Interferometer Space Antenna mission concepts are under study in the hope of reducing costs. Even the observations of a reduced instrument may place strong demands on numerical relativity capabilities. Possible advances in the coming years may fuel a new generation of codes ready to confront these challenges

    The two-phase approximation for black hole collisions: Is it robust?

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    Recently Abrahams and Cook devised a method of estimating the total radiated energy resulting from collisions of distant black holes by applying Newtonian evolution to the holes up to the point where a common apparent horizon forms around the two black holes and subsequently applying Schwarzschild perturbation techniques . Despite the crudeness of their method, their results for the case of head-on collisions were surprisingly accurate. Here we take advantage of the simple radiated energy formula devised in the close-slow approximation for black hole collisions to test how strongly the Abrahams-Cook result depends on the choice of moment when the method of evolution switches over from Newtonian to general relativistic evolution. We find that their result is robust, not depending strongly on this choice.Comment: 4 pages, 3 figures, submitted to Classical and Quantum Gravit

    Reducing reflections from mesh refinement interfaces in numerical relativity

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    Full interpretation of data from gravitational wave observations will require accurate numerical simulations of source systems, particularly binary black hole mergers. A leading approach to improving accuracy in numerical relativity simulations of black hole systems is through fixed or adaptive mesh refinement techniques. We describe a manifestation of numerical interface truncation error which appears as slowly converging, artificial reflections from refinement boundaries in a broad class of mesh refinement implementations, potentially compromising the effectiveness of mesh refinement techniques for some numerical relativity applications if left untreated. We elucidate this numerical effect by presenting a model problem which exhibits the phenomenon, but which is simple enough that its numerical error can be understood analytically. Our analysis shows that the effect is caused by variations in finite differencing error generated across low and high resolution regions, and that its slow convergence is caused by the presence of dramatic speed differences among propagation modes typical of 3+1 relativity. Lastly, we resolve the problem, presenting a class of finite differencing stencil modifications, termed mesh-adapted differencing (MAD), which eliminate this pathology in both our model problem and in numerical relativity examples.Comment: 7 page

    Promise and Progress of Millihertz Gravitational-Wave Astronomy

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    Extending the new field of gravitational wave (GW) astronomy into the millihertz band with a space-based GW observatory is a high-priority objective of international astronomy community. This paper summarizes the astrophysical promise and the technological groundwork for such an observatory, concretely focusing on the prospects for the proposed Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) mission concept
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