Abstract: When galaxies merge, the supermassive black holes in their centers may form binaries and emit low-frequency gravitational radiation in the process. In this paper, we consider the galaxy 3C 66B, which was used as the target of the first multimessenger search for gravitational waves. Due to the observed periodicities present in the photometric and astrometric data of the source, it has been theorized to contain a supermassive black hole binary. Its apparent 1.05-year orbital period would place the gravitational-wave emission directly in the pulsar timing band. Since the first pulsar timing array study of 3C 66B, revised models of the source have been published, and timing array sensitivities and techniques have improved dramatically. With these advances, we further constrain the chirp mass of the potential supermassive black hole binary in 3C 66B to less than (1.65 ± 0.02) × 10⁹ M_⊙ using data from the NANOGrav 11-year data set. This upper limit provides a factor of 1.6 improvement over previous limits and a factor of 4.3 over the first search done. Nevertheless, the most recent orbital model for the source is still consistent with our limit from pulsar timing array data. In addition, we are able to quantify the improvement made by the inclusion of source properties gleaned from electromagnetic data over "blind" pulsar timing array searches. With these methods, it is apparent that it is not necessary to obtain exact a priori knowledge of the period of a binary to gain meaningful astrophysical inferences.

Publication: Astrophysical Journal Vol.: 900 No.: 2 ISSN: 1538-4357

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20200911-133137947

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Abstract: The regularity of pulsar emissions becomes apparent once we reference the pulses' times of arrivals to the inertial rest frame of the solar system. It follows that errors in the determination of Earth's position with respect to the solar system barycenter can appear as a time-correlated bias in pulsar-timing residual time series, affecting the searches for low-frequency gravitational waves performed with pulsar-timing arrays. Indeed, recent array data sets yield different gravitational-wave background upper limits and detection statistics when analyzed with different solar system ephemerides. Crucially, the ephemerides do not generally provide usable error representations. In this article, we describe the motivation, construction, and application of a physical model of solar system ephemeris uncertainties, which focuses on the degrees of freedom (Jupiter's orbital elements) most relevant to gravitational-wave searches with pulsar-timing arrays. This model, BayesEphem, was used to derive ephemeris-robust results in NANOGrav's 11 yr stochastic-background search, and it provides a foundation for future searches by NANOGrav and other consortia. The analysis and simulations reported here suggest that ephemeris modeling reduces the gravitational-wave sensitivity of the 11 yr data set and that this degeneracy will vanish with improved ephemerides and with pulsar-timing data sets that extend well beyond a single Jovian orbital period.

Publication: Astrophysical Journal Vol.: 893 No.: 2 ISSN: 1538-4357

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20200422-064558404

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Abstract: An ensemble of inspiraling supermassive black hole binaries should produce a stochastic background of very low frequency gravitational waves. This stochastic background is predicted to be a power law, with a gravitational-wave strain spectral index of −2/3, and it should be detectable by a network of precisely timed millisecond pulsars, widely distributed on the sky. This paper reports a new "time slicing" analysis of the 11 yr data release from the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav) using 34 millisecond pulsars. Methods to flag potential "false-positive" signatures are developed, including techniques to identify responsible pulsars. Mitigation strategies are then presented. We demonstrate how an incorrect noise model can lead to spurious signals, and we show how independently modeling noise across 30 Fourier components, spanning NANOGrav's frequency range, effectively diagnoses and absorbs the excess power in gravitational-wave searches. This results in a nominal, and expected, progression of our gravitational-wave statistics. Additionally, we show that the first interstellar medium event in PSR J1713+0747 pollutes the common red-noise process with low spectral index noise, and we use a tailored noise model to remove these effects.

Publication: Astrophysical Journal Vol.: 890 No.: 2 ISSN: 1538-4357

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20200224-125802735

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Abstract: The space-based gravitational-wave (henceforth, GW!) observatory LISA (Amaro-Seoane et al., 2017) will o˙er unparalleled science returns, including a view of massive black hole mergers up to high redshifts, precision tests of general relativity and black hole structure, a census of thousands of compact binaries in the Galaxy, and the possibility of detecting stochastic signals from the early Universe. While the Mock LISA Data Challenges (2006–2011) gave us confidence that LISA will be able to fulfill its scientific potential, we still have a rather incomplete idea of what the end-to-end LISA science analysis should look like. The task at hand is substantial: 1) Our data reduction process needs to ensure the phase coherence of GW measurements across data gaps and instrument glitches over multiple years. 2) Our waveform models need to reach part-in-105 accuracy to maximize the science payo˙ of the mission, with suÿcient computational eÿciency to sample parameter space broadly. 3) Our algorithms need to resolve thousands of individual sources of di˙erent types and strengths, all of them superimposed on the same multi-year dataset, while simultaneously characterizing the underlying noise-like stochastic background. 4) Our catalogs need to represent the complex and high-dimensional joint distributions of estimated source parameters for all sources. It is tempting to assume that current algorithms and prototype codes will scale up to this challenge, thanks to the greatly increased computational power that will become available by the time of LISA’s launch in the early 2030s. In reality, harnessing that power will require very di˙erent methods, adapted to future high-performance computational architectures that we can only glimpse now. Thus, we need to begin our exploration at this time, seeking inspiration from other disciplines (e.g., big data processing, computational biology, the most advanced applications in astroinformatics) and learning to pose the same physical questions in di˙erent, future-proof ways—or even daring to imagine questions that will be tractable only with future machines. The broad objective of this study was to imagine how evolved or rethought data analysis algorithms and source-modeling codes will perform the LISA science analysis on the computers of the future, with the hope of guiding LISA science and data analysis research and development in the years to come.

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20191002-102632020

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Abstract: Observations indicate that nearly all galaxies contain supermassive black holes at their centers. When galaxies merge, their component black holes form SMBH binaries (SMBHBs), which emit low-frequency gravitational waves (GWs) that can be detected by pulsar timing arrays. We have searched the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves 11 yr data set for GWs from individual SMBHBs in circular orbits. As we did not find strong evidence for GWs in our data, we placed 95% upper limits on the strength of GWs from such sources. At f_(gw) = 8 nHz, we placed a sky-averaged upper limit of h_0 < 7.3(3) × 10^(−15). We also developed a technique to determine the significance of a particular signal in each pulsar using "dropout" parameters as a way of identifying spurious signals. From these upper limits, we ruled out SMBHBs emitting GWs with f_(gw) = 8 nHz within 120 Mpc for M = 10^9 M⊙, and within 5.5 Gpc for M = 10^(10)M⊙ at our most sensitive sky location. We also determined that there are no SMBHBs with M > 1.6 x 10^9 M⊙ emitting GWs with f_(gw) = 2.8–317.8 nHz in the Virgo Cluster. Finally, we compared our strain upper limits to simulated populations of SMBHBs, based on galaxies in the Two Micron All-Sky Survey and merger rates from the Illustris cosmological simulation project, and found that only 34 out of 75,000 realizations of the local universe contained a detectable source.

Publication: Astrophysical Journal Vol.: 880 No.: 2 ISSN: 1538-4357

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20190731-102317556

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Abstract: Gravitational-wave data analysis demands sophisticated statistical noise models in a bid to extract highly obscured signals from data. In Bayesian model comparison, we choose among a landscape of models by comparing their marginal likelihoods. However, this computation is numerically fraught and can be sensitive to arbitrary choices in the specification of parameter priors. In Bayesian cross validation, we characterize the fit and predictive power of a model by computing the Bayesian posterior of its parameters in a training data set, and then use that posterior to compute the averaged likelihood of a different testing data set. The resulting cross-validation scores are straightforward to compute; they are insensitive to prior tuning; and they penalize unnecessarily complex models that overfit the training data at the expense of predictive performance. In this article, we discuss cross validation in the context of pulsar-timing-array data analysis, and we exemplify its application to simulated pulsar data (where it successfully selects the correct spectral index of a stochastic gravitational-wave background), and to a pulsar data set from the NANOGrav 11-yr release (where it convincingly favours a model that represents a transient feature in the interstellar medium). We argue that cross validation offers a promising alternative to Bayesian model comparison, and we discuss its use for gravitational-wave detection, by selecting or refuting models that include a gravitational-wave component.

Publication: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Vol.: 487 No.: 3 ISSN: 0035-8711

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20190815-140748905

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Abstract: The LIGO/Virgo gravitational-wave (GW) interferometers have to-date detected ten merging black hole (BH) binaries, some with masses considerably larger than had been anticipated. Stellar-mass BH binaries at the high end of the observed mass range (with "chirp mass" M ≳ 25M⊙) should be detectable by a space-based GW observatory years before those binaries become visible to ground-based GW detectors. This white paper discusses some of the synergies that result when the same binaries are observed by instruments in space and on the ground. We consider intermediate-mass black hole binaries (with total mass M∼10²−10⁴ M⊙) as well as stellar-mass black hole binaries. We illustrate how combining space-based and ground-based data sets can break degeneracies and thereby improve our understanding of the binary's physical parameters. While early work focused on how space-based observatories can forecast precisely when some mergers will be observed on the ground, the reverse is also important: ground-based detections will allow us to "dig deeper" into archived, space-based data to confidently identify black hole inspirals whose signal-to-noise ratios were originally sub-threshold, increasing the number of binaries observed in both bands by a factor of ∼4−7.

Publication: arXiv
ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20191217-105333186

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Abstract: We search for an isotropic stochastic gravitational-wave background (GWB) in the newly released 11 year data set from the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav). While we find no evidence for a GWB, we place constraints on a population of inspiraling supermassive black hole (SMBH) binaries, a network of decaying cosmic strings, and a primordial GWB. For the first time, we find that the GWB constraints are sensitive to the solar system ephemeris (SSE) model used and that SSE errors can mimic a GWB signal. We developed an approach that bridges systematic SSE differences, producing the first pulsar-timing array (PTA) constraints that are robust against SSE errors. We thus place a 95% upper limit on the GW-strain amplitude of A_(GWB) < 1.45 × 10^(−15) at a frequency of f = 1 yr^(−1) for a fiducial f^(−2/3) power-law spectrum and with interpulsar correlations modeled. This is a factor of ~2 improvement over the NANOGrav nine-year limit calculated using the same procedure. Previous PTA upper limits on the GWB (as well as their astrophysical and cosmological interpretations) will need revision in light of SSE systematic errors. We use our constraints to characterize the combined influence on the GWB of the stellar mass density in galactic cores, the eccentricity of SMBH binaries, and SMBH–galactic-bulge scaling relationships. We constrain the cosmic-string tension using recent simulations, yielding an SSE-marginalized 95% upper limit of Gμ < 5.3 × 10^(−11)—a factor of ~2 better than the published NANOGrav nine-year constraints. Our SSE-marginalized 95% upper limit on the energy density of a primordial GWB (for a radiation-dominated post-inflation universe) is Ω_(GWB)(f) h^2 < 3.4 × 10^(−10).

Publication: Astrophysical Journal Vol.: 859 No.: 1 ISSN: 1538-4357

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20180524-093543782

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Abstract: Cosmic strings are topological defects which can be formed in grand unified theory scale phase transitions in the early universe. They are also predicted to form in the context of string theory. The main mechanism for a network of Nambu-Goto cosmic strings to lose energy is through the production of loops and the subsequent emission of gravitational waves, thus offering an experimental signature for the existence of cosmic strings. Here we report on the analysis conducted to specifically search for gravitational-wave bursts from cosmic string loops in the data of Advanced LIGO 2015-2016 observing run (O1). No evidence of such signals was found in the data, and as a result we set upper limits on the cosmic string parameters for three recent loop distribution models. In this paper, we initially derive constraints on the string tension G μ and the intercommutation probability, using not only the burst analysis performed on the O1 data set but also results from the previously published LIGO stochastic O1 analysis, pulsar timing arrays, cosmic microwave background and big-bang nucleosynthesis experiments. We show that these data sets are complementary in that they probe gravitational waves produced by cosmic string loops during very different epochs. Finally, we show that the data sets exclude large parts of the parameter space of the three loop distribution models we consider.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 97 No.: 10 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20180508-132138534

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Abstract: The phenomenon of pulsar nulling—where pulsars occasionally turn off for one or more pulses—provides insight into pulsar-emission mechanisms and the processes by which pulsars turn off when they cross the "death line." However, while ever more pulsars are found that exhibit nulling behavior, the statistical techniques used to measure nulling are biased, with limited utility and precision. In this paper, we introduce an improved algorithm, based on Gaussian mixture models, for measuring pulsar nulling behavior. We demonstrate this algorithm on a number of pulsars observed as part of a larger sample of nulling pulsars, and show that it performs considerably better than existing techniques, yielding better precision and no bias. We further validate our algorithm on simulated data. Our algorithm is widely applicable to a large number of pulsars even if they do not show obvious nulls. Moreover, it can be used to derive nulling probabilities of nulling for individual pulses, which can be used for in-depth studies.

Publication: Astrophysical Journal Vol.: 855 No.: 1 ISSN: 1538-4357

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20180228-093052525

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Abstract: We present results from the first directed search for nontensorial gravitational waves. While general relativity allows for tensorial (plus and cross) modes only, a generic metric theory may, in principle, predict waves with up to six different polarizations. This analysis is sensitive to continuous signals of scalar, vector, or tensor polarizations, and does not rely on any specific theory of gravity. After searching data from the first observation run of the advanced LIGO detectors for signals at twice the rotational frequency of 200 known pulsars, we find no evidence of gravitational waves of any polarization. We report the first upper limits for scalar and vector strains, finding values comparable in magnitude to previously published limits for tensor strain. Our results may be translated into constraints on specific alternative theories of gravity.

Publication: Physical Review Letters Vol.: 120 No.: 3 ISSN: 0031-9007

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20180123-105038585

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Abstract: We report results of a deep all-sky search for periodic gravitational waves from isolated neutron stars in data from the first Advanced LIGO observing run. This search investigates the low frequency range of Advanced LIGO data, between 20 and 100 Hz, much of which was not explored in initial LIGO. The search was made possible by the computing power provided by the volunteers of the Einstein@Home project. We find no significant signal candidate and set the most stringent upper limits to date on the amplitude of gravitational wave signals from the target population, corresponding to a sensitivity depth of 48.7 [1/√Hz]. At the frequency of best strain sensitivity, near 100 Hz, we set 90% confidence upper limits of 1.8×10^(−25). At the low end of our frequency range, 20 Hz, we achieve upper limits of 3.9×10^(−24). At 55 Hz we can exclude sources with ellipticities greater than 10^(−5) within 100 pc of Earth with fiducial value of the principal moment of inertia of 10^(38) kg m^2.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 96 No.: 12 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20171213-083832918

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Abstract: On August 17, 2017 at 12∶41:04 UTC the Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo gravitational-wave detectors made their first observation of a binary neutron star inspiral. The signal, GW170817, was detected with a combined signal-to-noise ratio of 32.4 and a false-alarm-rate estimate of less than one per 8.0×10^4 years. We infer the component masses of the binary to be between 0.86 and 2.26 M⊙, in agreement with masses of known neutron stars. Restricting the component spins to the range inferred in binary neutron stars, we find the component masses to be in the range 1.17–1.60 M⊙, with the total mass of the system 2.74^(+0.04)_(−0.01)M⊙. The source was localized within a sky region of 28 deg^2(90% probability) and had a luminosity distance of 40^(+8)_(−14) Mpc, the closest and most precisely localized gravitational-wave signal yet. The association with the γ-ray burst GRB 170817A, detected by Fermi-GBM 1.7 s after the coalescence, corroborates the hypothesis of a neutron star merger and provides the first direct evidence of a link between these mergers and short γ-ray bursts. Subsequent identification of transient counterparts across the electromagnetic spectrum in the same location further supports the interpretation of this event as a neutron star merger. This unprecedented joint gravitational and electromagnetic observation provides insight into astrophysics, dense matter, gravitation, and cosmology.

Publication: Physical Review Letters Vol.: 119 No.: 16 ISSN: 0031-9007

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20171016-090538618

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Abstract: We report on an all-sky search for periodic gravitational waves in the frequency band 20–475 Hz and with a frequency time derivative in the range of [−1.0,+0.1] × 10^(−8) Hz/s. Such a signal could be produced by a nearby spinning and slightly nonaxisymmetric isolated neutron star in our galaxy. This search uses the data from Advanced LIGO’s first observational run, O1. No periodic gravitational wave signals were observed, and upper limits were placed on their strengths. The lowest upper limits on worst-case (linearly polarized) strain amplitude h_0 are ∼4 × 10^(−25) near 170 Hz. For a circularly polarized source (most favorable orientation), the smallest upper limits obtained are ∼1.5 × 10^(−25). These upper limits refer to all sky locations and the entire range of frequency derivative values. For a population-averaged ensemble of sky locations and stellar orientations, the lowest upper limits obtained for the strain amplitude are ~2.5 × 10^(−25).

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 96 No.: 6 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20170912-124106618

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Abstract: Pulsar-timing data sets have been analysed with great success using probabilistic treatments based on Gaussian distributions, with applications ranging from studies of neutron-star structure to tests of general relativity and searches for nanosecond gravitational waves. As for other applications of Gaussian distributions, outliers in timing measurements pose a significant challenge to statistical inference, since they can bias the estimation of timing and noise parameters, and affect reported parameter uncertainties. We describe and demonstrate a practical end-to-end approach to perform Bayesian inference of timing and noise parameters robustly in the presence of outliers, and to identify these probabilistically. The method is fully consistent (i.e. outlier-ness probabilities vary in tune with the posterior distributions of the timing and noise parameters), and it relies on the efficient sampling of the hierarchical form of the pulsar-timing likelihood. Such sampling has recently become possible with a ‘no-U-turn’ Hamiltonian sampler coupled to a highly customized reparametrization of the likelihood; this code is described elsewhere, but it is already available online. We recommend our method as a standard step in the preparation of pulsar-timing-array data sets: even if statistical inference is not affected, follow-up studies of outlier candidates can reveal unseen problems in radio observations and timing measurements; furthermore, confidence in the results of gravitational-wave searches will only benefit from stringent statistical evidence that data sets are clean and outlier-free.

Publication: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Vol.: 466 No.: 4 ISSN: 0035-8711

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20170623-123731334

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Abstract: A transient gravitational-wave signal, GW150914, was identified in the twin Advanced LIGO detectors on September 14, 2015 at 09:50:45 UTC. To assess the implications of this discovery, the detectors remained in operation with unchanged configurations over a period of 39 d around the time of the signal. At the detection statistic threshold corresponding to that observed for GW150914, our search of the 16 days of simultaneous two-detector observational data is estimated to have a false alarm rate (FAR) of < 4.9 × 10^(−6) yr^(−1), yielding a p-value for GW150914 of < 2 × 10^(−7). Parameter estimation followup on this trigger identifies its source as a binary black hole (BBH) merger with component masses (m_1, m_2) = (36^(+5)_(−4), 29^(+4)_(−4)) M_⊙ at redshift z = 0.09^(+0.03)_(−0.04) (median and 90\% credible range). Here we report on the constraints these observations place on the rate of BBH coalescences. Considering only GW150914, assuming that all BBHs in the Universe have the same masses and spins as this event, imposing a search FAR threshold of 1 per 100 years, and assuming that the BBH merger rate is constant in the comoving frame, we infer a 90% credible range of merger rates between 2--53 Gpc^(−3) yr^(−1) (comoving frame). Incorporating all search triggers that pass a much lower threshold while accounting for the uncertainty in the astrophysical origin of each trigger, we estimate a higher rate, ranging from 13--600 Gpc^(−3) yr^(−1) depending on assumptions about the BBH mass distribution. All together, our various rate estimates fall in the conservative range 2--600 Gpc^(−3) yr^(−1).

Publication: Astrophysical Journal Letters Vol.: 833 No.: 1 ISSN: 2041-8205

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20161011-161919040

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Abstract: This article provides supplemental information for a Letter reporting the rate of (BBH) coalescences inferred from 16 days of coincident Advanced LIGO observations surrounding the transient (GW) signal GW150914. In that work we reported various rate estimates whose 90% confidence intervals fell in the range 2–600 Gpc^(−3) yr^(−1). Here we give details on our method and computations, including information about our search pipelines, a derivation of our likelihood function for the analysis, a description of the astrophysical search trigger distribution expected from merging BBHs, details on our computational methods, a description of the effects and our model for calibration uncertainty, and an analytic method for estimating our detector sensitivity, which is calibrated to our measurements.

Publication: Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series Vol.: 227 No.: 2 ISSN: 0067-0049

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20161103-144139033

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Abstract: The first observational run of the Advanced LIGO detectors, from September 12, 2015 to January 19, 2016, saw the first detections of gravitational waves from binary black hole mergers. In this paper, we present full results from a search for binary black hole merger signals with total masses up to 100M⊙ and detailed implications from our observations of these systems. Our search, based on general-relativistic models of gravitational-wave signals from binary black hole systems, unambiguously identified two signals, GW150914 and GW151226, with a significance of greater than 5σ over the observing period. It also identified a third possible signal, LVT151012, with substantially lower significance and with an 87% probability of being of astrophysical origin. We provide detailed estimates of the parameters of the observed systems. Both GW150914 and GW151226 provide an unprecedented opportunity to study the two-body motion of a compact-object binary in the large velocity, highly nonlinear regime. We do not observe any deviations from general relativity, and we place improved empirical bounds on several high-order post-Newtonian coefficients. From our observations, we infer stellar-mass binary black hole merger rates lying in the range 9–240 Gpc^(−3) yr^(−1). These observations are beginning to inform astrophysical predictions of binary black hole formation rates and indicate that future observing runs of the Advanced detector network will yield many more gravitational-wave detections.

Publication: Physical Review X Vol.: 6 No.: 4 ISSN: 2160-3308

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20161027-140916426

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Abstract: This paper presents updated estimates of source parameters for GW150914, a binary black-hole coalescence event detected by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) in 2015 [Abbott et al. Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 061102 (2016).]. Abbott et al. [Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 241102 (2016).] presented parameter estimation of the source using a 13-dimensional, phenomenological precessing-spin model (precessing IMRPhenom) and an 11-dimensional nonprecessing effective-one-body (EOB) model calibrated to numerical-relativity simulations, which forces spin alignment (nonprecessing EOBNR). Here, we present new results that include a 15-dimensional precessing-spin waveform model (precessing EOBNR) developed within the EOB formalism. We find good agreement with the parameters estimated previously [Abbott et al. Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 241102 (2016).], and we quote updated component masses of 35^(+5)_(−3) M⊙ and 30^(+3)_(−4) M⊙ (where errors correspond to 90% symmetric credible intervals). We also present slightly tighter constraints on the dimensionless spin magnitudes of the two black holes, with a primary spin estimate <0.65 and a secondary spin estimate <0.75 at 90% probability. Abbott et al. [Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 241102 (2016).] estimated the systematic parameter-extraction errors due to waveform-model uncertainty by combining the posterior probability densities of precessing IMRPhenom and nonprecessing EOBNR. Here, we find that the two precessing-spin models are in closer agreement, suggesting that these systematic errors are smaller than previously quoted.

Publication: Physical Review X Vol.: 6 No.: 4 ISSN: 2160-3308

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20161025-090158516

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Abstract: On September 14, 2015, the newly upgraded Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) recorded a loud gravitational-wave (GW) signal, emitted a billion light-years away by a coalescing binary of two stellar-mass black holes. The detection was announced in February 2016, in time for the hundredth anniversary of Einstein's prediction of GWs within the theory of general relativity (GR). The signal represents the first direct detection of GWs, the first observation of a black-hole binary, and the first test of GR in its strong-field, high-velocity, nonlinear regime. In the remainder of its first observing run, LIGO observed two more signals from black-hole binaries, one moderately loud, another at the boundary of statistical significance. The detections mark the end of a decades-long quest and the beginning of GW astronomy: finally, we are able to probe the unseen, electromagnetically dark Universe by listening to it. In this article, we present a short historical overview of GW science: this young discipline combines GR, arguably the crowning achievement of classical physics, with record-setting, ultra-low-noise laser interferometry, and with some of the most powerful developments in the theory of differential geometry, partial differential equations, high-performance computation, numerical analysis, signal processing, statistical inference, and data science. Our emphasis is on the synergy between these disciplines and how mathematics, broadly understood, has historically played, and continues to play, a crucial role in the development of GW science. We focus on black holes, which are very pure mathematical solutions of Einstein's gravitational-field equations that are nevertheless realized in Nature and that provided the first observed signals.

Publication: Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society Vol.: 53 No.: 4 ISSN: 0273-0979

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20170223-100913579

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Abstract: We report the observation of a gravitational-wave signal produced by the coalescence of two stellar-mass black holes. The signal, GW151226, was observed by the twin detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) on December 26, 2015 at 03:38:53 UTC. The signal was initially identified within 70 s by an online matched-filter search targeting binary coalescences. Subsequent off-line analyses recovered GW151226 with a network signal-to-noise ratio of 13 and a significance greater than 5σ. The signal persisted in the LIGO frequency band for approximately 1 s, increasing in frequency and amplitude over about 55 cycles from 35 to 450 Hz, and reached a peak gravitational strain of 3.4^(+0.7)_(-0.9) ×10^(-22). The inferred source-frame initial black hole masses are 14.2^(+8.3)_(-3.7) M⊙ and 7.5^(+2.3)_(-2.3) M⊙, and the final black hole mass is 20.8^(+6.1)_(-1.7) M⊙. We find that at least one of the component black holes has spin greater than 0.2. This source is located at a luminosity distance of 440^(+180)_(-190) Mpc corresponding to a redshift of 0.09^(+0.03)_(-0.04). All uncertainties define a 90% credible interval. This second gravitational-wave observation provides improved constraints on stellar populations and on deviations from general relativity.

Publication: Physical Review Letters Vol.: 116 No.: 24 ISSN: 0031-9007

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20160615-122950563

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Abstract: The LIGO detection of GW150914 provides an unprecedented opportunity to study the two-body motion of a compact-object binary in the large-velocity, highly nonlinear regime, and to witness the final merger of the binary and the excitation of uniquely relativistic modes of the gravitational field. We carry out several investigations to determine whether GW150914 is consistent with a binary black-hole merger in general relativity. We find that the final remnant’s mass and spin, as determined from the low-frequency (inspiral) and high-frequency (postinspiral) phases of the signal, are mutually consistent with the binary black-hole solution in general relativity. Furthermore, the data following the peak of GW150914 are consistent with the least-damped quasinormal mode inferred from the mass and spin of the remnant black hole. By using waveform models that allow for parametrized general-relativity violations during the inspiral and merger phases, we perform quantitative tests on the gravitational-wave phase in the dynamical regime and we determine the first empirical bounds on several high-order post-Newtonian coefficients. We constrain the graviton Compton wavelength, assuming that gravitons are dispersed in vacuum in the same way as particles with mass, obtaining a 90%-confidence lower bound of 10^(13 ) km. In conclusion, within our statistical uncertainties, we find no evidence for violations of general relativity in the genuinely strong-field regime of gravity.

Publication: Physical Review Letters Vol.: 116 No.: 22 ISSN: 0031-9007

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20160607-154130083

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Abstract: Decade-long timing observations of arrays of millisecond pulsars have placed highly constraining upper limits on the amplitude of the nanohertz gravitational-wave stochastic signal from the mergers of supermassive black hole binaries (~10^(−15) strain at f = 1 yr^(−1)). These limits suggest that binary merger rates have been overestimated, or that environmental influences from nuclear gas or stars accelerate orbital decay, reducing the gravitational-wave signal at the lowest, most sensitive frequencies. This prompts the question whether nanohertz gravitational waves (GWs) are likely to be detected in the near future. In this Letter, we answer this question quantitatively using simple statistical estimates, deriving the range of true signal amplitudes that are compatible with current upper limits, and computing expected detection probabilities as a function of observation time. We conclude that small arrays consisting of the pulsars with the least timing noise, which yield the tightest upper limits, have discouraging prospects of making a detection in the next two decades. By contrast, we find large arrays are crucial to detection because the quadrupolar spatial correlations induced by GWs can be well sampled by many pulsar pairs. Indeed, timing programs that monitor a large and expanding set of pulsars have an ~80% probability of detecting GWs within the next 10 years, under assumptions on merger rates and environmental influences ranging from optimistic to conservative. Even in the extreme case where 90% of binaries stall before merger and environmental coupling effects diminish low-frequency gravitational-wave power, detection is delayed by at most a few years.

Publication: Astrophysical Journal Letters Vol.: 819 No.: 1 ISSN: 2041-8205

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20160226-073845969

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Abstract: In this paper we present the results of the first low frequency all-sky search of continuous gravitational wave signals conducted on Virgo VSR2 and VSR4 data. The search covered the full sky, a frequency range between 20 Hz and 128 Hz with a range of spin-down between −1.0×10^(−10) Hz/s and +1.5×10^(−11) Hz/s, and was based on a hierarchical approach. The starting point was a set of short Fast Fourier Transforms (FFT), of length 8192 seconds, built from the calibrated strain data. Aggressive data cleaning, both in the time and frequency domains, has been done in order to remove, as much as possible, the effect of disturbances of instrumental origin. On each dataset a number of candidates has been selected, using the FrequencyHough transform in an incoherent step. Only coincident candidates among VSR2 and VSR4 have been examined in order to strongly reduce the false alarm probability, and the most significant candidates have been selected. The criteria we have used for candidate selection and for the coincidence step greatly reduce the harmful effect of large instrumental artifacts. Selected candidates have been subject to a follow-up by constructing a new set of longer FFTs followed by a further incoherent analysis. No evidence for continuous gravitational wave signals was found, therefore we have set a population-based joint VSR2-VSR4 90% confidence level upper limit on the dimensionless gravitational wave strain in the frequency range between 20 Hz and 128 Hz. This is the first all-sky search for continuous gravitational waves conducted at frequencies below 50 Hz. We set upper limits in the range between about 10^(−24) and 2×10^(−23) at most frequencies. Our upper limits on signal strain show an improvement of up to a factor of ∼2 with respect to the results of previous all-sky searches at frequencies below 80 Hz.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 93 No.: 4 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20160301-082544147

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Abstract: We report results of a wideband search for periodic gravitational waves from isolated neutron stars within the Orion spur towards both the inner and outer regions of our Galaxy. As gravitational waves interact very weakly with matter, the search is unimpeded by dust and concentrations of stars. One search disk (A) is 6.87° in diameter and centered on 20^h10^m54.71^s+33°33′25.29′′, and the other (B) is 7.45° in diameter and centered on 8^h35^m20.61^s−46°49′25.151′′. We explored the frequency range of 50–1500 Hz and frequency derivative from 0 to −5×10^(−9) Hz/s. A multistage, loosely coherent search program allowed probing more deeply than before in these two regions, while increasing coherence length with every stage. Rigorous follow-up parameters have winnowed the initial coincidence set to only 70 candidates, to be examined manually. None of those 70 candidates proved to be consistent with an isolated gravitational-wave emitter, and 95% confidence level upper limits were placed on continuous-wave strain amplitudes. Near 169 Hz we achieve our lowest 95% C.L. upper limit on the worst-case linearly polarized strain amplitude h_0 of 6.3×10^(−25), while at the high end of our frequency range we achieve a worst-case upper limit of 3.4×10^(−24) for all polarizations and sky locations.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 93 No.: 4 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20160316-065149466

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Abstract: On September 14, 2015 at 09:50:45 UTC the two detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory simultaneously observed a transient gravitational-wave signal. The signal sweeps upwards in frequency from 35 to 250 Hz with a peak gravitational-wave strain of 1.0×10^(−21). It matches the waveform predicted by general relativity for the inspiral and merger of a pair of black holes and the ringdown of the resulting single black hole. The signal was observed with a matched-filter signal-to-noise ratio of 24 and a false alarm rate estimated to be less than 1 event per 203 000 years, equivalent to a significance greater than 5.1σ. The source lies at a luminosity distance of 410 +160/−180 Mpc corresponding to a redshift z=0.09 +0.03/−0.04. In the source frame, the initial black hole masses are 36+5−4M_⊙ and 29+4−4M_⊙, and the final black hole mass is 62+4−4M⊙, with 3.0+0.5−0.5M_⊙c^2 radiated in gravitational waves. All uncertainties define 90% credible intervals. These observations demonstrate the existence of binary stellar-mass black hole systems. This is the first direct detection of gravitational waves and the first observation of a binary black hole merger.

Publication: Physical Review Letters Vol.: 116 No.: 6 ISSN: 0031-9007

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20160211-080913893

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Abstract: In 2009–2010, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) operated together with international partners Virgo and GEO600 as a network to search for gravitational waves (GWs) of astrophysical origin. The sensitivity of these detectors was limited by a combination of noise sources inherent to the instrumental design and its environment, often localized in time or frequency, that couple into the GW readout. Here we review the performance of the LIGO instruments during this epoch, the work done to characterize the detectors and their data, and the effect that transient and continuous noise artefacts have on the sensitivity of LIGO to a variety of astrophysical sources.

Publication: Classical and Quantum Gravity Vol.: 32 No.: 11 ISSN: 0264-9381

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20150622-120844267

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Abstract: The LIGO Open Science Center (LOSC) fulfills LIGO's commitment to release, archive, and serve LIGO data in a broadly accessible way to the scientific community and to the public, and to provide the information and tools necessary to understand and use the data. In August 2014, the LOSC published the full dataset from Initial LIGO's "S5" run at design sensitivity, the first such large-scale release and a valuable testbed to explore the use of LIGO data by non-LIGO researchers and by the public, and to help teach gravitational-wave data analysis to students across the world. In addition to serving the S5 data, the LOSC web portal (losc.ligo.org) now offers documentation, data-location and data-quality queries, tutorials and example code, and more. We review the mission and plans of the LOSC, focusing on the S5 data release.

Publication: Journal of Physics: Conference Series Vol.: 610ISSN: 1742-6596

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20150814-114443011

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Abstract: The Advanced LIGO gravitational wave detectors are second-generation instruments designed and built for the two LIGO observatories in Hanford, WA and Livingston, LA, USA. The two instruments are identical in design, and are specialized versions of a Michelson interferometer with 4 km long arms. As in Initial LIGO, Fabry–Perot cavities are used in the arms to increase the interaction time with a gravitational wave, and power recycling is used to increase the effective laser power. Signal recycling has been added in Advanced LIGO to improve the frequency response. In the most sensitive frequency region around 100 Hz, the design strain sensitivity is a factor of 10 better than Initial LIGO. In addition, the low frequency end of the sensitivity band is moved from 40 Hz down to 10 Hz. All interferometer components have been replaced with improved technologies to achieve this sensitivity gain. Much better seismic isolation and test mass suspensions are responsible for the gains at lower frequencies. Higher laser power, larger test masses and improved mirror coatings lead to the improved sensitivity at mid and high frequencies. Data collecting runs with these new instruments are planned to begin in mid-2015.

Publication: Classical and Quantum Gravity Vol.: 32 No.: 7 ISSN: 0264-9381

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20150417-133457450

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Abstract: We present results of a search for continuously emitted gravitational radiation, directed at the brightest low-mass x-ray binary, Scorpius X-1. Our semicoherent analysis covers 10 days of LIGO S5 data ranging from 50–550 Hz, and performs an incoherent sum of coherent F-statistic power distributed amongst frequency-modulated orbital sidebands. All candidates not removed at the veto stage were found to be consistent with noise at a 1% false alarm rate. We present Bayesian 95% confidence upper limits on gravitational-wave strain amplitude using two different prior distributions: a standard one, with no a priori assumptions about the orientation of Scorpius X-1; and an angle-restricted one, using a prior derived from electromagnetic observations. Median strain upper limits of 1.3×10^(−24) and 8×10^(−25) are reported at 150 Hz for the standard and angle-restricted searches respectively. This proof-of-principle analysis was limited to a short observation time by unknown effects of accretion on the intrinsic spin frequency of the neutron star, but improves upon previous upper limits by factors of ∼1.4 for the standard, and 2.3 for the angle-restricted search at the sensitive region of the detector.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 91 No.: 6 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20150504-084613268

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Abstract: In this paper we present the results of a coherent narrow-band search for continuous gravitational-wave signals from the Crab and Vela pulsars conducted on Virgo VSR4 data. In order to take into account a possible small mismatch between the gravitational-wave frequency and two times the star rotation frequency, inferred from measurement of the electromagnetic pulse rate, a range of 0.02 Hz around two times the star rotational frequency has been searched for both the pulsars. No evidence for a signal has been found and 95% confidence level upper limits have been computed assuming both that polarization parameters are completely unknown and that they are known with some uncertainty, as derived from x-ray observations of the pulsar wind torii. For Vela the upper limits are comparable to the spin-down limit, computed assuming that all the observed spin-down is due to the emission of gravitational waves. For Crab the upper limits are about a factor of 2 below the spin-down limit, and represent a significant improvement with respect to past analysis. This is the first time the spin-down limit is significantly overcome in a narrow-band search.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 91 No.: 2 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20150310-151957061

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Abstract: Searches for a stochastic gravitational-wave background (SGWB) using terrestrial detectors typically involve cross-correlating data from pairs of detectors. The sensitivity of such cross-correlation analyses depends, among other things, on the separation between the two detectors: the smaller the separation, the better the sensitivity. Hence, a colocated detector pair is more sensitive to a gravitational-wave background than a noncolocated detector pair. However, colocated detectors are also expected to suffer from correlated noise from instrumental and environmental effects that could contaminate the measurement of the background. Hence, methods to identify and mitigate the effects of correlated noise are necessary to achieve the potential increase in sensitivity of colocated detectors. Here we report on the first SGWB analysis using the two LIGO Hanford detectors and address the complications arising from correlated environmental noise. We apply correlated noise identification and mitigation techniques to data taken by the two LIGO Hanford detectors, H1 and H2, during LIGO’s fifth science run. At low frequencies, 40–460 Hz, we are unable to sufficiently mitigate the correlated noise to a level where we may confidently measure or bound the stochastic gravitational-wave signal. However, at high frequencies, 460–1000 Hz, these techniques are sufficient to set a 95% confidence level upper limit on the gravitational-wave energy density of Ω(f)<7.7×10^(−4)(f/900 Hz)^3, which improves on the previous upper limit by a factor of ∼180. In doing so, we demonstrate techniques that will be useful for future searches using advanced detectors, where correlated noise (e.g., from global magnetic fields) may affect even widely separated detectors.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 91 No.: 2 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20150317-110958591

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Abstract: Gravitational waves from a variety of sources are predicted to superpose to create a stochastic background. This background is expected to contain unique information from throughout the history of the Universe that is unavailable through standard electromagnetic observations, making its study of fundamental importance to understanding the evolution of the Universe. We carry out a search for the stochastic background with the latest data from the LIGO and Virgo detectors. Consistent with predictions from most stochastic gravitational-wave background models, the data display no evidence of a stochastic gravitational-wave signal. Assuming a gravitational-wave spectrum of Ω_(GW)(f)=Ω_α(f/f_(ref))_α, we place 95% confidence level upper limits on the energy density of the background in each of four frequency bands spanning 41.5–1726 Hz. In the frequency band of 41.5–169.25 Hz for a spectral index of α=0, we constrain the energy density of the stochastic background to be Ω_(GW)(f)<5.6×10^(−6). For the 600–1000 Hz band, Ω_(GW)(f)<0.14(f/900 Hz)^3, a factor of 2.5 lower than the best previously reported upper limits. We find Ω_(GW)(f)<1.8×10^(−4) using a spectral index of zero for 170–600 Hz and Ω_(GW)(f)<1.0(f/1300 Hz)^3 for 1000–1726 Hz, bands in which no previous direct limits have been placed. The limits in these four bands are the lowest direct measurements to date on the stochastic background. We discuss the implications of these results in light of the recent claim by the BICEP2 experiment of the possible evidence for inflationary gravitational waves.

Publication: Physical Review Letters Vol.: 113 No.: 23 ISSN: 0031-9007

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20150107-131249161

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Abstract: We report the results of a multimessenger search for coincident signals from the LIGO and Virgo gravitational-wave observatories and the partially completed IceCube high-energy neutrino detector, including periods of joint operation between 2007–2010. These include parts of the 2005–2007 run and the 2009–2010 run for LIGO-Virgo, and IceCube’s observation periods with 22, 59 and 79 strings. We find no significant coincident events, and use the search results to derive upper limits on the rate of joint sources for a range of source emission parameters. For the optimistic assumption of gravitational-wave emission energy of 10^(−2) M_⊙c^2 at ∼150 Hz with ∼60 ms duration, and high-energy neutrino emission of 10^(51) erg comparable to the isotropic gamma-ray energy of gamma-ray bursts, we limit the source rate below 1.6×10^(−2) Mpc^(−3) yr^(−1). We also examine how combining information from gravitational waves and neutrinos will aid discovery in the advanced gravitational-wave detector era.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 90 No.: 10 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20150108-091905659

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Abstract: We present the first results of an all-sky search for continuous gravitational waves from unknown spinning neutron stars in binary systems using LIGO and Virgo data. Using a specially developed analysis program, the TwoSpect algorithm, the search was carried out on data from the sixth LIGO science run and the second and third Virgo science runs. The search covers a range of frequencies from 20 Hz to 520 Hz, a range of orbital periods from 2 to ∼2,254 h and a frequency- and period-dependent range of frequency modulation depths from 0.277 to 100 mHz. This corresponds to a range of projected semimajor axes of the orbit from ∼0.6×10^(−3) ls to ∼6,500 ls assuming the orbit of the binary is circular. While no plausible candidate gravitational wave events survive the pipeline, upper limits are set on the analyzed data. The most sensitive 95% confidence upper limit obtained on gravitational wave strain is 2.3×10^(−24) at 217 Hz, assuming the source waves are circularly polarized. Although this search has been optimized for circular binary orbits, the upper limits obtained remain valid for orbital eccentricities as large as 0.9. In addition, upper limits are placed on continuous gravitational wave emission from the low-mass x-ray binary Scorpius X-1 between 20 Hz and 57.25 Hz.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 90 No.: 6 ISSN: 1550-7998

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20141023-161438810

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Abstract: We present an implementation of the F-statistic to carry out the first search in data from the Virgo laser interferometric gravitational wave detector for periodic gravitational waves from a priori unknown, isolated rotating neutron stars. We searched a frequency f_0 range from 100 Hz to 1 kHz and the frequency dependent spindown f_1 range from -1.6(f_0/100 Hz) x 10^(-9) Hz s^(−1) to zero. A large part of this frequency–spindown space was unexplored by any of the all-sky searches published so far. Our method consisted of a coherent search over two-day periods using the F-statistic, followed by a search for coincidences among the candidates from the two-day segments. We have introduced a number of novel techniques and algorithms that allow the use of the fast Fourier transform (FFT) algorithm in the coherent part of the search resulting in a fifty-fold speed-up in computation of the F-statistic with respect to the algorithm used in the other pipelines. No significant gravitational wave signal was found. The sensitivity of the search was estimated by injecting signals into the data. In the most sensitive parts of the detector band more than 90% of signals would have been detected with dimensionless gravitational-wave amplitude greater than 5 x 10^(-24).

Publication: Classical and Quantum Gravity Vol.: 31 No.: 16 ISSN: 0264-9381

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20141002-114441991

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Abstract: We present the results of a search for gravitational waves associated with 223 γ-ray bursts (GRBs) detected by the InterPlanetary Network (IPN) in 2005–2010 during LIGO’s fifth and sixth science runs and Virgo’s first, second, and third science runs. The IPN satellites provide accurate times of the bursts and sky localizations that vary significantly from degree scale to hundreds of square degrees. We search for both a well-modeled binary coalescence signal, the favored progenitor model for short GRBs, and for generic, unmodeled gravitational wave bursts. Both searches use the event time and sky localization to improve the gravitational wave search sensitivity as compared to corresponding all-time, all-sky searches. We find no evidence of a gravitational wave signal associated with any of the IPN GRBs in the sample, nor do we find evidence for a population of weak gravitational wave signals associated with the GRBs. For all IPN-detected GRBs, for which a sufficient duration of quality gravitational wave data are available, we place lower bounds on the distance to the source in accordance with an optimistic assumption of gravitational wave emission energy of 10^(−2)M⊙c^2 at 150 Hz, and find a median of 13 Mpc. For the 27 short-hard GRBs we place 90% confidence exclusion distances to two source models: a binary neutron star coalescence, with a median distance of 12 Mpc, or the coalescence of a neutron star and black hole, with a median distance of 22 Mpc. Finally, we combine this search with previously published results to provide a population statement for GRB searches in first-generation LIGO and Virgo gravitational wave detectors and a resulting examination of prospects for the advanced gravitational wave detectors.

Publication: Physical Review Letters Vol.: 113 No.: 1 ISSN: 0031-9007

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20140818-125913710

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Abstract: In this paper we report on a search for short-duration gravitational wave bursts in the frequency range 64 Hz–1792 Hz associated with gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), using data from GEO 600 and one of the LIGO or Virgo detectors. We introduce the method of a linear search grid to analyze GRB events with large sky localization uncertainties, for example the localizations provided by the Fermi Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM). Coherent searches for gravitational waves (GWs) can be computationally intensive when the GRB sky position is not well localized, due to the corrections required for the difference in arrival time between detectors. Using a linear search grid we are able to reduce the computational cost of the analysis by a factor of O(10) for GBM events. Furthermore, we demonstrate that our analysis pipeline can improve upon the sky localization of GRBs detected by the GBM, if a high-frequency GW signal is observed in coincidence. We use the method of the linear grid in a search for GWs associated with 129 GRBs observed satellite-based gamma-ray experiments between 2006 and 2011. The GRBs in our sample had not been previously analyzed for GW counterparts. A fraction of our GRB events are analyzed using data from GEO 600 while the detector was using squeezed-light states to improve its sensitivity; this is the first search for GWs using data from a squeezed-light interferometric observatory. We find no evidence for GW signals, either with any individual GRB in this sample or with the population as a whole. For each GRB we place lower bounds on the distance to the progenitor, under an assumption of a fixed GW emission energy of 10^(−2)M⊙c^2, with a median exclusion distance of 0.8 Mpc for emission at 500 Hz and 0.3 Mpc at 1 kHz. The reduced computational cost associated with a linear search grid will enable rapid searches for GWs associated with Fermi GBM events once the advanced LIGO and Virgo detectors begin operation.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 89 No.: 12 ISSN: 1550-7998

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20140808-100111073

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Abstract: The Numerical INJection Analysis (NINJA) project is a collaborative effort between members of the numerical relativity and gravitational-wave (GW) astrophysics communities. The purpose of NINJA is to study the ability to detect GWs emitted from merging binary black holes (BBH) and recover their parameters with next-generation GW observatories. We report here on the results of the second NINJA project, NINJA-2, which employs 60 complete BBH hybrid waveforms consisting of a numerical portion modelling the late inspiral, merger, and ringdown stitched to a post-Newtonian portion modelling the early inspiral. In a 'blind injection challenge' similar to that conducted in recent Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) and Virgo science runs, we added seven hybrid waveforms to two months of data recoloured to predictions of Advanced LIGO (aLIGO) and Advanced Virgo (AdV) sensitivity curves during their first observing runs. The resulting data was analysed by GW detection algorithms and 6 of the waveforms were recovered with false alarm rates smaller than 1 in a thousand years. Parameter-estimation algorithms were run on each of these waveforms to explore the ability to constrain the masses, component angular momenta and sky position of these waveforms. We find that the strong degeneracy between the mass ratio and the BHs' angular momenta will make it difficult to precisely estimate these parameters with aLIGO and AdV. We also perform a large-scale Monte Carlo study to assess the ability to recover each of the 60 hybrid waveforms with early aLIGO and AdV sensitivity curves. Our results predict that early aLIGO and AdV will have a volume-weighted average sensitive distance of 300 Mpc (1 Gpc) for 10M_⊙ + 10M_⊙ (50M_⊙ + 50M_⊙) BBH coalescences. We demonstrate that neglecting the component angular momenta in the waveform models used in matched-filtering will result in a reduction in sensitivity for systems with large component angular momenta. This reduction is estimated to be up to ~15% for 50M_⊙ + 50M_⊙ BBH coalescences with almost maximal angular momenta aligned with the orbit when using early aLIGO and AdV sensitivity curves.

Publication: Classical and Quantum Gravity Vol.: 31 No.: 11 ISSN: 0264-9381

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20140626-115501423

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Abstract: We report results from a search for gravitational waves produced by perturbed intermediate mass black holes (IMBH) in data collected by LIGO and Virgo between 2005 and 2010. The search was sensitive to astrophysical sources that produced damped sinusoid gravitational wave signals, also known as ringdowns, with frequency 50≤f_0/Hz≤2000 and decay timescale 0.0001≲τ/s≲0.1 characteristic of those produced in mergers of IMBH pairs. No significant gravitational wave candidate was detected. We report upper limits on the astrophysical coalescence rates of IMBHs with total binary mass 50≤M/M_⊙≤450 and component mass ratios of either 1:1 or 4:1. For systems with total mass 100≤M/M_⊙≤150, we report a 90% confidence upper limit on the rate of binary IMBH mergers with nonspinning and equal mass components of 6.9×10^(−8) Mpc^(−3) yr^(−1). We also report a rate upper limit for ringdown waveforms from perturbed IMBHs, radiating 1% of their mass as gravitational waves in the fundamental, ℓ=m=2, oscillation mode, that is nearly three orders of magnitude more stringent than previous results.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 89 No.: 10 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20140630-140920794

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Abstract: We report on an all-sky search for periodic gravitational waves in the frequency range 50–1000 Hz with the first derivative of frequency in the range −8.9 × 10^(−10) Hz s^(−1) to zero in two years of data collected during LIGO's fifth science run. Our results employ a Hough transform technique, introducing a χ^2 test and analysis of coincidences between the signal levels in years 1 and 2 of observations that offers a significant improvement in the product of strain sensitivity with compute cycles per data sample compared to previously published searches. Since our search yields no surviving candidates, we present results taking the form of frequency dependent, 95% confidence upper limits on the strain amplitude h0. The most stringent upper limit from year 1 is 1.0 × 10^(−24) in the 158.00–158.25 Hz band. In year 2, the most stringent upper limit is 8.9 × 10^(−25) in the 146.50–146.75 Hz band. This improved detection pipeline, which is computationally efficient by at least two orders of magnitude better than our flagship Einstein@Home search, will be important for 'quick-look' searches in the Advanced LIGO and Virgo detector era.

Publication: Classical and Quantum Gravity Vol.: 31 No.: 8 ISSN: 0264-9381

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20140603-092556549

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Abstract: We present the results of searches for gravitational waves from a large selection of pulsars using data from the most recent science runs (S6, VSR2 and VSR4) of the initial generation of interferometric gravitational wave detectors LIGO (Laser Interferometric Gravitational-wave Observatory) and Virgo. We do not see evidence for gravitational wave emission from any of the targeted sources but produce upper limits on the emission amplitude. We highlight the results from seven young pulsars with large spin-down luminosities. We reach within a factor of five of the canonical spin-down limit for all seven of these, whilst for the Crab and Vela pulsars we further surpass their spin-down limits. We present new or updated limits for 172 other pulsars (including both young and millisecond pulsars). Now that the detectors are undergoing major upgrades, and, for completeness, we bring together all of the most up-to-date results from all pulsars searched for during the operations of the first-generation LIGO, Virgo and GEO600 detectors. This gives a total of 195 pulsars including the most recent results described in this paper.

Publication: Astrophysical Journal Vol.: 785 No.: 2 ISSN: 0004-637X

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20130930-103904702

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Abstract: During the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory and Virgo joint science runs in 2009-2010, gravitational wave (GW) data from three interferometer detectors were analyzed within minutes to select GW candidate events and infer their apparent sky positions. Target coordinates were transmitted to several telescopes for follow-up observations aimed at the detection of an associated optical transient. Images were obtained for eight such GW candidates. We present the methods used to analyze the image data as well as the transient search results. No optical transient was identified with a convincing association with any of these candidates, and none of the GW triggers showed strong evidence for being astrophysical in nature. We compare the sensitivities of these observations to several model light curves from possible sources of interest, and discuss prospects for future joint GW-optical observations of this type.

Publication: Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series Vol.: 211 No.: 1 ISSN: 0067-0049

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20140408-071345962

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Abstract: Recent years have seen a burgeoning interest in using pulsar timing arrays (PTAs) as gravitational-wave (GW) detectors. To date, that interest has focused mainly on three particularly promising source types: supermassive black hole binaries, cosmic strings, and the stochastic background from early-Universe phase transitions. In this paper, by contrast, our aim is to investigate the PTA potential for discovering unanticipated sources. We derive significant constraints on the available discovery space based solely on energetic and statistical considerations: we show that a PTA detection of GWs at frequencies above ∼10^(−5) Hz would either be an extraordinary coincidence or violate “cherished beliefs;” we show that for PTAs GW memory can be more detectable than direct GWs, and that, as we consider events at ever higher redshift, the memory effect increasingly dominates an event’s total signal-to-noise ratio. The paper includes also a simple analysis of the effects of pulsar red noise in PTA searches, and a demonstration that the effects of periodic GWs in the ∼10^(−7)–10^(−4.5) Hz band would not be degenerate with small errors in standard pulsar parameters (except in a few narrow bands).

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 89 No.: 4 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20140402-133231801

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Abstract: Long gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) have been linked to extreme core-collapse supernovae from massivestars. Gravitational waves (GW) offer a probe of the physics behind long GRBs. We investigate models of long-lived (~10–1000 s) GW emission associated with the accretion disk of a collapsed star or with its protoneutron star remnant. Using data from LIGO’s fifth science run, and GRB triggers from the Swift experiment, we perform a search for unmodeled long-lived GW transients. Finding no evidence of GW emission, we place 90% confidence-level upper limits on the GW fluence at Earth from long GRBs for three waveforms inspired by a model of GWs from accretion disk instabilities. These limits range from F < 3:5 ergs cm^(-2) to F < 1200 ergs cm^(-2), depending on the GRB and on the model, allowing us to probe optimistic scenarios of GW production out to distances as far as ≈ 33 Mpc. Advanced detectors are expected to achieve strain sensitivities 10x better than initial LIGO, potentially allowing us to probe the engines of the nearest long GRBs.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 88 No.: 12 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20140130-095945569

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Abstract: We present the results of a directed search for continuous gravitational waves from unknown, isolated neutron stars in the Galactic center region, performed on two years of data from LIGO’s fifth science run from two LIGO detectors. The search uses a semicoherent approach, analyzing coherently 630 segments, each spanning 11.5 hours, and then incoherently combining the results of the single segments. It covers gravitational wave frequencies in a range from 78 to 496 Hz and a frequency-dependent range of first-order spindown values down to −7.86×10^(−8) Hz/s at the highest frequency. No gravitational waves were detected. The 90% confidence upper limits on the gravitational wave amplitude of sources at the Galactic center are ∼3.35×10^(−25) for frequencies near 150 Hz. These upper limits are the most constraining to date for a large-parameter-space search for continuous gravitational wave signals.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 88 No.: 10 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20140124-110416768

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Abstract: Nearly a century after Einstein first predicted the existence of gravitational waves, a global network of Earth-based gravitational wave observatories is seeking to directly detect this faint radiation using precision laser interferometry. Photon shot noise, due to the quantum nature of light, imposes a fundamental limit on the attometre-level sensitivity of the kilometre-scale Michelson interferometers deployed for this task. Here, we inject squeezed states to improve the performance of one of the detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) beyond the quantum noise limit, most notably in the frequency region down to 150 Hz, critically important for several astrophysical sources, with no deterioration of performance observed at any frequency. With the injection of squeezed states, this LIGO detector demonstrated the best broadband sensitivity to gravitational waves ever achieved, with important implications for observing the gravitational-wave Universe with unprecedented sensitivity.

Publication: Nature Photonics Vol.: 7 No.: 8 ISSN: 1749-4885

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20140124-105938310

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Abstract: We describe the implementation of a search for gravitational waves from compact binary coalescences in LIGO and Virgo data. This all-sky, all-time, multidetector search for binary coalescence has been used to search data taken in recent LIGO and Virgo runs. The search is built around a matched filter analysis of the data, augmented by numerous signal consistency tests designed to distinguish artifacts of non- Gaussian detector noise from potential detections.We demonstrate the search performance using Gaussian noise and data from the fifth LIGO science run and demonstrate that the signal consistency tests are capable of mitigating the effect of non-Gaussian noise and providing a sensitivity comparable to that achieved in Gaussian noise.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 87 No.: 2 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20130306-090142836

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Abstract: Astronomy, like most other fields, is being deluged by exponentially growing streams of ever more complex data. While these massive data streams bring a great discovery potential, their full scientific exploitation poses many challenges, due to both data volumes and data complexity. Moreover, the need to discover and characterize interesting, faint signals in such data streams quickly and robustly, in order to deploy costly follow-up resources that are often necessary for the full scientific returns, makes the challenges even sharper. Examples in astronomy include transient events and variable sources found in digital synoptic sky surveys, gravitational wave signals, faint radio transients, pulsars, and other types of variable sources in the next generation of panoramic radio surveys, etc. Similar situations arise in the context of space science and planetary exploration, environmental monitoring, security, etc. In most cases, rapid discovery and characterization of interesting signals is highly computationally limited. The goal of this study was to define a number of interesting, often mission-critical challenges of this nature in the broader context of time-domain astronomy, but with an eye on their applicability elsewhere.

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20160203-094000654

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Abstract: Compact Galactic binaries where at least one member is a white dwarf (WD) or neutron star constitute the majority of individually detectable sources for future low-frequency space-based gravitational-wave (GW) observatories; they also form an unresolved continuum, the dominant Galactic foreground at frequencies below a few mHz. Due to the paucity of electromagnetic observations, the majority of studies of Galactic-binary populations so far have been based on population-synthesis simulations. However, recent surveys have reported several new detections of WD binaries, providing new constraints for population estimates. In this article, we evaluate the impact of revised local densities of interacting WD binaries on future GW observations. Specifically, we consider five scenarios that explain these densities with different assumptions on the formation of interacting systems; we simulate corresponding populations of detached and interacting WD binaries; we estimate the number of individually detectable GW sources and the magnitude of the confusion-noise foreground, as observed by space-based detectors with 5 and 1 Mkm arms. We confirm earlier estimates of thousands of detached-binary detections, but project only a few ten to a few hundred detections of interacting systems. This reduction is partly due to our assessment of detection prospects, based on the iterative identification and subtraction of bright sources with respect to both instrument and confusion noise. We also confirm earlier estimates for the confusion-noise foreground, except in one scenario that explains smaller local densities of interacting systems with smaller numbers of progenitor detached systems.

Publication: Astrophysical Journal Vol.: 758 No.: 2 ISSN: 0004-637X

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20121207-132844562

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Abstract: We present the results of a LIGO search for gravitational waves (GWs) associated with GRB 051103, a short-duration hard-spectrum gamma-ray burst (GRB) whose electromagnetically determined sky position is coincident with the spiral galaxy M81, which is 3.6 Mpc from Earth. Possible progenitors for short-hard GRBs include compact object mergers and soft gamma repeater (SGR) giant flares. A merger progenitor would produce a characteristic GW signal that should be detectable at a distance of M81, while GW emission from an SGR is not expected to be detectable at that distance. We found no evidence of a GW signal associated with GRB 051103. Assuming weakly beamed γ-ray emission with a jet semi-angle of 30°, we exclude a binary neutron star merger in M81 as the progenitor with a confidence of 98%. Neutron star-black hole mergers are excluded with >99% confidence. If the event occurred in M81, then our findings support the hypothesis that GRB 051103 was due to an SGR giant flare, making it one of the most distant extragalactic magnetars observed to date.

Publication: Astrophysical Journal Vol.: 755 No.: 1 ISSN: 0004-637X

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20120829-154041074

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Abstract: The signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) is used in gravitational-wave observations as the basic figure of merit for detection confidence and, together with the Fisher matrix, for the amount of physical information that can be extracted from a detected signal. SNRs are usually computed from a sensitivity curve, which describes the gravitational-wave amplitude needed by a monochromatic source of given frequency to achieve a threshold SNR. Although the term 'sensitivity' is used loosely to refer to the detector's noise spectral density, the two quantities are not the same: the sensitivity includes also the frequency- and orientation-dependent response of the detector to gravitational waves and takes into account the duration of observation. For interferometric space-based detectors similar to LISA, which are sensitive to long-lived signals and have constantly changing position and orientation, exact SNRs need to be computed on a source-by-source basis. For convenience, most authors prefer to work with sky-averaged sensitivities, accepting inaccurate SNRs for individual sources and giving up control over the statistical distribution of SNRs for source populations. In this paper, we describe a straightforward end-to-end recipe to compute the non-sky-averaged sensitivity of interferometric space-based detectors of any geometry. This recipe includes the effects of spacecraft motion and of seasonal variations in the partially subtracted confusion foreground from Galactic binaries, and it can be used to generate a sampling distribution of sensitivities for a given source population. In effect, we derive error bars for the sky-averaged sensitivity curve, which provide a stringent statistical interpretation for previously unqualified statements about sky-averaged SNRs. As a worked-out example, we consider isotropic and Galactic-disk populations of monochromatic sources, as observed with the 'classic LISA' configuration. We confirm that the (standard) inverse-rms average sensitivity for the isotropic population remains the same whether or not the LISA orbits are included in the computation. However, detector motion tightens the distribution of sensitivities, so for 50% of sources the sensitivity is within 30% of its average. For the Galactic-disk population, the average and the distribution of the sensitivity for a moving detector turn out to be similar to the isotropic case.

Publication: Classical and Quantum Gravity Vol.: 29 No.: 12 ISSN: 0264-9381

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20130305-143752417

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Abstract: We report on a search for gravitational waves from coalescing compact binaries using LIGO and Virgo observations between July 7, 2009, and October 20, 2010. We searched for signals from binaries with total mass between 2 and 25M_⊙; this includes binary neutron stars, binary black holes, and binaries consisting of a black hole and neutron star. The detectors were sensitive to systems up to 40 Mpc distant for binary neutron stars, and further for higher mass systems. No gravitational-wave signals were detected. We report upper limits on the rate of compact binary coalescence as a function of total mass, including the results from previous LIGO and Virgo observations. The cumulative 90% confidence rate upper limits of the binary coalescence of binary neutron star, neutron star-black hole, and binary black hole systems are 1.3×10^(-4), 3.1×10^(-5), and 6.4×10^(-6) Mpc^(-3) yr^(-1), respectively. These upper limits are up to a factor 1.4 lower than previously derived limits. We also report on results from a blind injection challenge.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 85 No.: 8 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20120518-143548930

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Abstract: Aims. A transient astrophysical event observed in both gravitational wave (GW) and electromagnetic (EM) channels would yield rich scientific rewards. A first program initiating EM follow-ups to possible transient GW events has been developed and exercised by the LIGO and Virgo community in association with several partners. In this paper, we describe and evaluate the methods used to promptly identify and localize GW event candidates and to request images of targeted sky locations. Methods. During two observing periods (Dec. 17, 2009 to Jan. 8, 2010 and Sep. 2 to Oct. 20, 2010), a low-latency analysis pipeline was used to identify GW event candidates and to reconstruct maps of possible sky locations. A catalog of nearby galaxies and Milky Way globular clusters was used to select the most promising sky positions to be imaged, and this directional information was delivered to EM observatories with time lags of about thirty minutes. A Monte Carlo simulation has been used to evaluate the low-latency GW pipeline’s ability to reconstruct source positions correctly. Results. For signals near the detection threshold, our low-latency algorithms often localized simulated GW burst signals to tens of square degrees, while neutron star/neutron star inspirals and neutron star/black hole inspirals were localized to a few hundred square degrees. Localization precision improves for moderately stronger signals. The correct sky location of signals well above threshold and originating from nearby galaxies may be observed with ~50% or better probability with a few pointings of wide-field telescopes.

Publication: Astronomy and Astrophysics Vol.: 539ISSN: 0004-6361

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20120619-081035905

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Abstract: We report on an all-sky search for periodic gravitational waves in the frequency band 50–800 Hz and with the frequency time derivative in the range of 0 through -6×10^(-9) Hz/s. Such a signal could be produced by a nearby spinning and slightly nonaxisymmetric isolated neutron star in our Galaxy. After recent improvements in the search program that yielded a 10× increase in computational efficiency, we have searched in two years of data collected during LIGO’s fifth science run and have obtained the most sensitive all-sky upper limits on gravitational-wave strain to date. Near 150 Hz our upper limit on worst-case linearly polarized strain amplitude h_0 is 1×10^(-24), while at the high end of our frequency range we achieve a worst-case upper limit of 3.8×10^(-24) for all polarizations and sky locations. These results constitute a factor of 2 improvement upon previously published data. A new detection pipeline utilizing a loosely coherent algorithm was able to follow up weaker outliers, increasing the volume of space where signals can be detected by a factor of 10, but has not revealed any gravitational-wave signals. The pipeline has been tested for robustness with respect to deviations from the model of an isolated neutron star, such as caused by a low-mass or long-period binary companion.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 85 No.: 2 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20120206-151908677

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Abstract: The gravitational-wave (GW) sky may include nearby pointlike sources as well as stochastic backgrounds. We perform two directional searches for persistent GWs using data from the LIGO S5 science run: one optimized for pointlike sources and one for arbitrary extended sources. Finding no evidence to support the detection of GWs, we present 90% confidence level (C.L.) upper-limit maps of GW strain power with typical values between 2-20×10^(-50) strain^2 Hz^(-1) and 5-35×10^(-49) strain^2 Hz^(-1) sr^(-1) for pointlike and extended sources, respectively. The latter result is the first of its kind. We also set 90% C.L. limits on the narrow-band root-mean-square GW strain from interesting targets including Sco X-1, SN 1987A and the Galactic center as low as ≈7×10^(-25) in the most sensitive frequency range near 160 Hz.

Publication: Physical Review Letters Vol.: 107 No.: 27 ISSN: 0031-9007

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20120130-113016680

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Abstract: Around the globe several observatories are seeking the first direct detection of gravitational waves (GWs). These waves are predicted by Einstein’s general theory of relativity and are generated, for example, by black-hole binary systems. Present GW detectors are Michelson-type kilometre-scale laser interferometers measuring the distance changes between mirrors suspended in vacuum. The sensitivity of these detectors at frequencies above several hundred hertz is limited by the vacuum (zero-point) fluctuations of the electromagnetic field. A quantum technology—the injection of squeezed light—offers a solution to this problem. Here we demonstrate the squeezed-light enhancement of GEO 600, which will be the GW observatory operated by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration in its search for GWs for the next 3–4 years. GEO 600 now operates with its best ever sensitivity, which proves the usefulness of quantum entanglement and the qualification of squeezed light as a key technology for future GW astronomy.

Publication: Nature Physics Vol.: 7 No.: 12 ISSN: 1745-2473

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20180611-155020083

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Abstract: We present direct upper limits on continuous gravitational wave emission from the Vela pulsar using data from the Virgo detector's second science run. These upper limits have been obtained using three independent methods that assume the gravitational wave emission follows the radio timing. Two of the methods produce frequentist upper limits for an assumed known orientation of the star's spin axis and value of the wave polarization angle of, respectively, 1.9 × 10^(–24) and 2.2 × 10^(–24), with 95% confidence. The third method, under the same hypothesis, produces a Bayesian upper limit of 2.1 × 10^(–24), with 95% degree of belief. These limits are below the indirect spin-down limit of 3.3 × 10^(–24) for the Vela pulsar, defined by the energy loss rate inferred from observed decrease in Vela's spin frequency, and correspond to a limit on the star ellipticity of ~10^(–3). Slightly less stringent results, but still well below the spin-down limit, are obtained assuming the star's spin axis inclination and the wave polarization angles are unknown.

Publication: Astrophysical Journal Vol.: 737 No.: 2 ISSN: 0004-637X

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20110909-103003031

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Abstract: Soft gamma repeaters (SGRs) and anomalous X-ray pulsars (AXPs) are thought to be magnetars: neutron stars powered by extreme magnetic fields. These rare objects are characterized by repeated and sometimes spectacular gamma-ray bursts. The burst mechanism might involve crustal fractures and excitation of non-radial modes which would emit gravitational waves (GWs). We present the results of a search for GW bursts from six galactic magnetars that is sensitive to neutron star f-modes, thought to be the most efficient GW emitting oscillatory modes in compact stars. One of them, SGR 0501+4516, is likely ~1 kpc from Earth, an order of magnitude closer than magnetars targeted in previous GW searches. A second, AXP 1E 1547.0–5408, gave a burst with an estimated isotropic energy >10^(44) erg which is comparable to the giant flares. We find no evidence of GWs associated with a sample of 1279 electromagnetic triggers from six magnetars occurring between 2006 November and 2009 June, in GW data from the LIGO, Virgo, and GEO600 detectors. Our lowest model-dependent GW emission energy upper limits for band- and time-limited white noise bursts in the detector sensitive band, and for f-mode ringdowns (at 1090 Hz), are 3.0 × 10^(44) d^2_1 erg and 1.4 × 10^(47) d^2_1 erg, respectively, where d_1 = ^(d0501)_(1kpc) and d_ (0501) is the distance to SGR 0501+4516. These limits on GW emission from f-modes are an order of magnitude lower than any previous, and approach the range of electromagnetic energies seen in SGR giant flares for the first time.

Publication: Astrophysical Journal Letters Vol.: 734 No.: 2 ISSN: 2041-8205

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20110826-142324216

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Abstract: We present the first modeled search for gravitational waves using the complete binary black-hole gravitational waveform from inspiral through the merger and ringdown for binaries with negligible component spin. We searched approximately 2 years of LIGO data, taken between November 2005 and September 2007, for systems with component masses of 1–99M_⊙ and total masses of 25–100M_⊙. We did not detect any plausible gravitational-wave signals but we do place upper limits on the merger rate of binary black holes as a function of the component masses in this range. We constrain the rate of mergers for 19M_⊙ ≤ m_1, m_2 ≤ 28M_⊙ binary black-hole systems with negligible spin to be no more than 2.0 Mpc^(-3) Myr^(-1) at 90% confidence.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 83 No.: 12 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20110620-080921042

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Abstract: The Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) is a network of three detectors built to detect local perturbations in the space-time metric from astrophysical sources These detectors two in Hanford WA and one in Livingston LA are power-recycled Fabry-Perot Michelson interferometers In their fifth science run (S5) between November 2005 and October 2007 these detectors accumulated one year of triple coincident data while operating at their designed sensitivity In this paper we describe the calibration of the instruments in the S5 data set including measurement techniques and uncertainty estimation.

Publication: Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment Vol.: 624 No.: 1 ISSN: 0168-9002

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20110112-154537740

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Abstract: We report the results of the first search for gravitational waves from compact binary coalescence using data from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory and Virgo detectors. Five months of data were collected during the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory’s S5 and Virgo’s VSR1 science runs. The search focused on signals from binary mergers with a total mass between 2 and 35M_⊙. No gravitational waves are identified. The cumulative 90%-confidence upper limits on the rate of compact binary coalescence are calculated for nonspinning binary neutron stars, black hole-neutron star systems, and binary black holes to be 8.7×10^(-3) yr^(-1) L_(10)^(-1), 2.2×10^(-3) yr^(-1) L_(10)^(-1), and 4.4×10^(-4) yr^(-1) L_(10)^(-1), respectively, where L_(10) is 10^(10) times the blue solar luminosity. These upper limits are compared with astrophysical expectations.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 82 No.: 10 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20110106-093745583

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Abstract: We present a search for periodic gravitational waves from the neutron star in the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A. The search coherently analyzes data in a 12 day interval taken from the fifth science run of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory. It searches gravitational-wave frequencies from 100 to 300 Hz and covers a wide range of first and second frequency derivatives appropriate for the age of the remnant and for different spin-down mechanisms. No gravitational-wave signal was detected. Within the range of search frequencies, we set 95% confidence upper limits of (0.7–1.2) × 10^(−24) on the intrinsic gravitational-wave strain, (0.4–4) × 10^(−4) on the equatorial ellipticity of the neutron star, and 0.005–0.14 on the amplitude of r-mode oscillations of the neutron star. These direct upper limits beat indirect limits derived from energy conservation and enter the range of theoretical predictions involving crystalline exotic matter or runaway r-modes. This paper is also the first gravitational-wave search to present upper limits on the r-mode amplitude.

Publication: Astrophysical Journal Vol.: 722 No.: 2 ISSN: 0004-637X

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20101206-105405445

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Abstract: A network of observable, macroscopic cosmic (super-)strings may well have formed in the early Universe. If so, the cusps that generically develop on cosmic-string loops emit bursts of gravitational radiation that could be detectable by gravitational-wave interferometers, such as the ground-based LIGO/Virgo detectors and the planned, space-based LISA detector. Here we report on two versions of a LISA-oriented string-burst search pipeline that we have developed and tested within the context of the Mock LISA Data Challenges. The two versions rely on the publicly available MultiNest and PyMC software packages, respectively. To reduce the effective dimensionality of the search space, our implementations use the F-statistic to analytically maximize over the signal’s amplitude and polarization, A and ψ, and use the FFT to search quickly over burst arrival times t_C. The standard F-statistic is essentially a frequentist statistic that maximizes the likelihood; we also demonstrate an approximate, Bayesian version of the F-statistic that incorporates realistic priors on A and ψ. We calculate how accurately LISA can expect to measure the physical parameters of string-burst sources, and compare to results based on the Fisher-matrix approximation. To understand LISA’s angular resolution for string-burst sources, we draw maps of the waveform fitting factor (maximized over (A, ψ, t_C)) as a function of the sky position; these maps dramatically illustrate why (for LISA) inferring the correct sky location of the emitting string loop will often be practically impossible. In addition, we identify and elucidate several symmetries that are imbedded in this search problem, and we derive the distribution of cut-off frequencies f_(max) for observable bursts.

Publication: Classical and Quantum Gravity Vol.: 27 No.: 18 ISSN: 0264-9381

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20100908-093644724

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Abstract: We present an up-to-date, comprehensive summary of the rates for all types of compact binary coalescence sources detectable by the initial and advanced versions of the ground-based gravitational-wave detectors LIGO and Virgo. Astrophysical estimates for compact-binary coalescence rates depend on a number of assumptions and unknown model parameters and are still uncertain. Themost confident among these estimates are the rate predictions for coalescing binary neutron stars which are based on extrapolations from observed binary pulsars in our galaxy. These yield a likely coalescence rate of 100 Myr^(−1) per Milky Way Equivalent Galaxy (MWEG), although the rate could plausibly range from 1 Myr^(−1) MWEG^(−1) to 1000 Myr^(−1) MWEG^(−1) (Kalogera et al 2004 Astrophys. J. 601 L179; Kalogera et al 2004 Astrophys. J. 614 L137 (erratum)). We convert coalescence rates into detection rates based on data from the LIGO S5 and Virgo VSR2 science runs and projected sensitivities for our advanced detectors. Using the detector sensitivities derived from these data, we find a likely detection rate of 0.02 per year for Initial LIGO–Virgo interferometers, with a plausible range between 2 × 10^(−4) and 0.2 per year. The likely binary neutron–star detection rate for the Advanced LIGO–Virgo network increases to 40 events per year, with a range between 0.4 and 400 per year.

Publication: Classical and Quantum Gravity Vol.: 27 No.: 17 ISSN: 0264-9381

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20100811-144535085

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Abstract: We present the results of a search for gravitational-wave bursts (GWBs) associated with 137 gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) that were detected by satellite-based gamma-ray experiments during the fifth LIGO science run and first Virgo science run. The data used in this analysis were collected from 2005 November 4 to 2007 October 1, and most of the GRB triggers were from the Swift satellite. The search uses a coherent network analysis method that takes into account the different locations and orientations of the interferometers at the three LIGO-Virgo sites. We find no evidence for GWB signals associated with this sample of GRBs. Using simulated short-duration (<1 s) waveforms, we set upper limits on the amplitude of gravitational waves associated with each GRB. We also place lower bounds on the distance to each GRB under the assumption of a fixed energy emission in gravitational waves, with a median limit of D ~ 12 Mpc(E^(iso)_(GW)/0.01 M_☉ c ^(2)^(1/2) for emission at frequencies around 150 Hz, where the LIGO-Virgo detector network has best sensitivity. We present astrophysical interpretations and implications of these results, and prospects for corresponding searches during future LIGO-Virgo runs.

Publication: Astrophysical Journal Vol.: 715 No.: 2 ISSN: 0004-637X

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20100610-092615176

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Abstract: Progenitor scenarios for short gamma-ray bursts (short GRBs) include coalescenses of two neutron stars or a neutron star and black hole, which would necessarily be accompanied by the emission of strong gravitational waves. We present a search for these known gravitational-wave signatures in temporal and directional coincidence with 22 GRBs that had sufficient gravitational-wave data available in multiple instruments during LIGO's fifth science run, S5, and Virgo's first science run, VSR1. We find no statistically significant gravitational-wave candidates within a [ – 5, + 1) s window around the trigger time of any GRB. Using the Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney U-test, we find no evidence for an excess of weak gravitational-wave signals in our sample of GRBs. We exclude neutron star-black hole progenitors to a median 90% confidence exclusion distance of 6.7 Mpc.

Publication: Astrophysical Journal Vol.: 715 No.: 2 ISSN: 0004-637X

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20100609-133535106

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Abstract: We present results from an all-sky search for unmodeled gravitational-wave bursts in the data collected by the LIGO, GEO 600 and Virgo detectors between November 2006 and October 2007. The search is performed by three different analysis algorithms over the frequency band 50–6000 Hz. Data are analyzed for times with at least two of the four LIGO-Virgo detectors in coincident operation, with a total live time of 266 days. No events produced by the search algorithms survive the selection cuts. We set a frequentist upper limit on the rate of gravitational-wave bursts impinging on our network of detectors. When combined with the previous LIGO search of the data collected between November 2005 and November 2006, the upper limit on the rate of detectable gravitational-wave bursts in the 64–2048 Hz band is 2.0 events per year at 90% confidence. We also present event rate versus strength exclusion plots for several types of plausible burst waveforms. The sensitivity of the combined search is expressed in terms of the root-sum-squared strain amplitude for a variety of simulated waveforms and lies in the range 6×10^(-22) Hz^(-1/2) to 2×10^(-20) Hz^(-1/2). This is the first untriggered burst search to use data from the LIGO and Virgo detectors together, and the most sensitive untriggered burst search performed so far.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 81 No.: 10 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20100624-112258931

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Abstract: The Mock LISA Data Challenges are a program to demonstrate LISA data-analysis capabilities and to encourage their development. Each round of challenges consists of one or more datasets containing simulated instrument noise and gravitational waves from sources of undisclosed parameters. Participants analyze the datasets and report best-fit solutions for the source parameters. Here we present the results of the third challenge, issued in April 2008, which demonstrated the positive recovery of signals from chirping galactic binaries, from spinning supermassive-black-hole binaries (with optimal SNRs between ~10 and 2000), from simultaneous extreme-mass-ratio inspirals (SNRs of 10–50), from cosmic-string-cusp bursts (SNRs of 10–100), and from a relatively loud isotropic background with Ω_(gw)(f) ~ 10^(−11), slightly below the LISA instrument noise.

Publication: Classical and Quantum Gravity Vol.: 27 No.: 8 ISSN: 0264-9381

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20101021-130719200

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Abstract: We present a search for gravitational waves from 116 known millisecond and young pulsars using data from the fifth science run of the LIGO detectors. For this search, ephemerides overlapping the run period were obtained for all pulsars using radio and X-ray observations. We demonstrate an updated search method that allows for small uncertainties in the pulsar phase parameters to be included in the search. We report no signal detection from any of the targets and therefore interpret our results as upper limits on the gravitational wave signal strength. The most interesting limits are those for young pulsars. We present updated limits on gravitational radiation from the Crab pulsar, where the measured limit is now a factor of 7 below the spin-down limit. This limits the power radiated via gravitational waves to be less than ~2% of the available spin-down power. For the X-ray pulsar J0537 – 6910 we reach the spin-down limit under the assumption that any gravitational wave signal from it stays phase locked to the X-ray pulses over timing glitches, and for pulsars J1913+1011 and J1952+3252 we are only a factor of a few above the spin-down limit. Of the recycled millisecond pulsars, several of the measured upper limits are only about an order of magnitude above their spin-down limits. For these our best (lowest) upper limit on gravitational wave amplitude is 2.3 × 10^(–26) for J1603 – 7202 and our best (lowest) limit on the inferred pulsar ellipticity is 7.0 × 10^(–8) for J2124 – 3358.

Publication: Astrophysical Journal Vol.: 713 No.: 1 ISSN: 0004-637X

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20180309-065629209

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Abstract: We summarize the sensitivity achieved by the LIGO and Virgo gravitational wave detectors for compact binary coalescence (CBC) searches during LIGO's fifth science run and Virgo's first science run. We present noise spectral density curves for each of the four detectors that operated during these science runs which are representative of the typical performance achieved by the detectors for CBC searches. These spectra are intended for release to the public as a summary of detector performance for CBC searches during these science runs.

Publication: arXiv
ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20130319-151403161

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Abstract: We present an all-sky search for gravitational waves in the frequency range 1 to 6 kHz during the first calendar year of LIGO’s fifth science run. This is the first untriggered LIGO burst analysis to be conducted above 3 kHz. We discuss the unique properties of interferometric data in this regime. 161.3 days of triple-coincident data were analyzed. No gravitational events above threshold were observed and a frequentist upper limit of 5.4 year^(-1) on the rate of strong gravitational-wave bursts was placed at a 90% confidence level. Implications for specific theoretical models of gravitational-wave emission are also discussed.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 80 No.: 10 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20100419-091739093

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Abstract: We present the results obtained from an all-sky search for gravitational-wave (GW) bursts in the 64– 2000 Hz frequency range in data collected by the LIGO detectors during the first year (November 2005— November 2006) of their fifth science run. The total analyzed live time was 268.6 days. Multiple hierarchical data analysis methods were invoked in this search. The overall sensitivity expressed in terms of the root-sum-square (rss) strain amplitude h_(rss) for gravitational-wave bursts with various morphologies was in the range of 6 x 10^(-22) Hz^(-1/2) to a few x 10^(-21) Hz^(-1/2). No GW signals were observed and a frequentist upper limit of 3.75 events per year on the rate of strong GW bursts was placed at the 90% confidence level. As in our previous searches, we also combined this rate limit with the detection efficiency for selected waveform morphologies to obtain event rate versus strength exclusion curves. In sensitivity, these exclusion curves are the most stringent to date.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 80 No.: 10 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20100112-150144281

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Abstract: We report on a matched-filter search for gravitational wave bursts from cosmic string cusps using LIGO data from the fourth science run (S4) which took place in February and March 2005. No gravitational waves were detected in 14.9 days of data from times when all three LIGO detectors were operating. We interpret the result in terms of a frequentist upper limit on the rate of gravitational wave bursts and use the limits on the rate to constrain the parameter space (string tension, reconnection probability, and loop sizes) of cosmic string models. Many grand unified theory-scale models (with string tension Gµ/c^2[approximate]10^(-6)) can be ruled out at 90% confidence for reconnection probabilities p<=10^(-3) if loop sizes are set by gravitational back reaction.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 80 No.: 6 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20091021-153057198

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Abstract: According to general relativity a perturbed black hole will settle to a stationary configuration by the emission of gravitational radiation. Such a perturbation will occur, for example, in the coalescence of a black hole binary, following their inspiral and subsequent merger. At late times the waveform is a superposition of quasinormal modes, which we refer to as the ringdown. The dominant mode is expected to be the fundamental mode, l = m = 2. Since this is a well-known waveform, matched filtering can be implemented to search for this signal using LIGO data. We present a search for gravitational waves from black hole ringdowns in the fourth LIGO science run S4, during which LIGO was sensitive to the dominant mode of perturbed black holes with masses in the range of 10M_☉ to 500M_☉, the regime of intermediate-mass black holes, to distances up to 300 Mpc. We present a search for gravitational waves from black hole ringdowns using data from S4. No gravitational wave candidates were found; we place a 90%-confidence upper limit on the rate of ringdowns from black holes with mass between 85M_☉ and 390M_☉ in the local universe, assuming a uniform distribution of sources, of 3:2 X 10^(-5) yr^(-1) Mpc^(-3)= 1:6 X 10^(-3) yr^(-1)L_10-^1 L_(10) ; where L_(10) is 10^(10) times the solar blue-light luminosity.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 80 No.: 6 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20091023-111958820

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Abstract: We present the results of a LIGO search for short-duration gravitational waves (GWs) associated with the 2006 March 29 SGR 1900+14 storm. A new search method is used, "stacking" the GW data around the times of individual soft-gamma bursts in the storm to enhance sensitivity for models in which multiple bursts are accompanied by GW emission. We assume that variation in the time difference between burst electromagnetic emission and potential burst GW emission is small relative to the GW signal duration, and we time-align GW excess power time-frequency tilings containing individual burst triggers to their corresponding electromagnetic emissions. We use two GW emission models in our search: a fluence-weighted model and a flat (unweighted) model for the most electromagnetically energetic bursts. We find no evidence of GWs associated with either model. Model-dependent GW strain, isotropic GW emission energy E_(GW), and γ ≡ E_(GW)/E_(EM) upper limits are estimated using a variety of assumed waveforms. The stacking method allows us to set the most stringent model-dependent limits on transient GW strain published to date. We find E_(GW) upper limit estimates (at a nominal distance of 10 kpc) of between 2 × 10^(45) erg and 6 × 10^(50) erg depending on the waveform type. These limits are an order of magnitude lower than upper limits published previously for this storm and overlap with the range of electromagnetic energies emitted in soft gamma repeater (SGR) giant flares.

Publication: Astrophysical Journal Letters Vol.: 701 No.: 2 ISSN: 2041-8205

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20090901-112329874

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Abstract: This paper reports on an all-sky search for periodic gravitational waves from sources such as deformed isolated rapidly spinning neutron stars. The analysis uses 840 hours of data from 66 days of the fifth LIGO science run (S5). The data were searched for quasimonochromatic waves with frequencies f in the range from 50 to 1500 Hz, with a linear frequency drift _ƒ (measured at the solar system barycenter) in the range -ƒ/T < ƒ_ < 0:1ƒ/T, for a minimum spin-down age T of 1000 years for signals below 400 Hz and 8000 years above 400 Hz. The main computational work of the search was distributed over approximately 100 000 computers volunteered by the general public. This large computing power allowed the use of a relatively long coherent integration time of 30 hours while searching a large parameter space. This search extends Einstein@Home’s previous search in LIGO S4 data to about 3 times better sensitivity. No statistically significant signals were found. In the 125–225 Hz band, more than 90% of sources with dimensionless gravitational-wave strain tensor amplitude greater than 3 X 10^(-24) would have been detected.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 80 No.: 4 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20091020-142129445

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Abstract: We report on a search for gravitational waves from coalescing compact binaries, of total mass between 2 and 35M_☉, using LIGO observations between November 14, 2006 and May 18, 2007. No gravitational-wave signals were detected. We report upper limits on the rate of compact binary coalescence as a function of total mass. The LIGO cumulative 90%-confidence rate upper limits of the binary coalescence of neutron stars, black holes and black hole-neutron star systems are 1.4 × 10^(-2), 7.3 × 10(-4) and 3.6 × 10(-3) yr(-1) L_10^(-1), respectively, where L_(10_ is 10^(10) times the blue solar luminosity

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 80 No.: 4 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20091007-094829151

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Abstract: The goal of the Laser Interferometric Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) is to detect and study gravitational waves (GWs) of astrophysical origin. Direct detection of GWs holds the promise of testing general relativity in the strong-field regime, of providing a new probe of exotic objects such as black holes and neutron stars and of uncovering unanticipated new astrophysics. LIGO, a joint Caltech–MIT project supported by the National Science Foundation, operates three multi-kilometer interferometers at two widely separated sites in the United States. These detectors are the result of decades of worldwide technology development, design, construction and commissioning. They are now operating at their design sensitivity, and are sensitive to gravitational wave strains smaller than one part in 10^(21). With this unprecedented sensitivity, the data are being analyzed to detect or place limits on GWs from a variety of potential astrophysical sources.

Publication: Reports on Progress in Physics Vol.: 72 No.: 7 ISSN: 0034-4885

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20090925-102147548

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Abstract: We have searched for gravitational waves from coalescing low mass compact binary systems with a total mass between 2M_([sun]) and 35Mz-([sun]) and a minimum component mass of 1M_([sun]) using data from the first year of the fifth science run of the three LIGO detectors, operating at design sensitivity. Depending on the mass, we are sensitive to coalescences as far as 150 Mpc from the Earth. No gravitational-wave signals were observed above the expected background. Assuming a population of compact binary objects with a Gaussian mass distribution representing binary neutron star systems, black hole–neutron star binary systems, and binary black hole systems, we calculate the 90% confidence upper limit on the rate of coalescences to be 3.9×10^(-2) yr^(-1)L_(10)^(-1), 1.1×10^(-2) yr^(-1)L_(10)^(-1), and 2.5×10^(-3)yr^(-1)L_(10)^(-1), respectively, where L_(10) is 10^(10) times the blue solar luminosity. We also set improved upper limits on the rate of compact binary coalescences per unit blue-light luminosity, as a function of mass.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 79 No.: 12 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20091007-073406265

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Abstract: The Mock LISA Data Challenges are a programme to demonstrate and encourage the development of LISA data-analysis capabilities, tools and techniques. At the time of this workshop, three rounds of challenges had been completed, and the next was about to start. In this paper we provide a critical analysis of the entries to the latest completed round, Challenge 1B. The entries confirm the consolidation of a range of data-analysis techniques for galactic and massive-black-hole binaries, and they include the first convincing examples of detection and parameter estimation of extreme-mass-ratio inspiral sources. In this paper we also introduce the next round, Challenge 3. Its data sets feature more realistic waveform models (e.g., galactic binaries may now chirp, and massive-black-hole binaries may precess due to spin interactions), as well as new source classes (bursts from cosmic strings, isotropic stochastic backgrounds) and more complicated nonsymmetric instrument noise.

Publication: Classical and Quantum Gravity Vol.: 25 No.: 18 ISSN: 0264-9381

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:BABcqg08b

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Abstract: We report on the methods and results of the first dedicated search for gravitational waves emitted during the inspiral of compact binaries with spinning component bodies. We analyze 788 hours of data collected during the third science run (S3) of the LIGO detectors. We searched for binary systems using a detection template family specially designed to capture the effects of the spin-induced precession of the orbital plane. We present details of the techniques developed to enable this search for spin-modulated gravitational waves, highlighting the differences between this and other recent searches for binaries with nonspinning components. The template bank we employed was found to yield high matches with our spin-modulated target waveform for binaries with masses in the asymmetric range 1.0M⊙

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20140522-094029718

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Abstract: We analyzed the available LIGO data coincident with GRB 070201, a short-duration, hard-spectrum gamma-ray burst (GRB) whose electromagnetically determined sky position is coincident with the spiral arms of the Andromeda galaxy (M31). Possible progenitors of such short, hard GRBs include mergers of neutron stars or a neutron star and a black hole, or soft gamma-ray repeater (SGR) flares. These events can be accompanied by gravitational-wave emission. No plausible gravitational-wave candidates were found within a 180s long window around the time of GRB 070201. This result implies that a compact binary progenitor of GRB 070201, with masses in the range 1M☉ < m1 < 3M☉ and 1M☉ < m2 < 40M☉, located in M31 is excluded at > 99% confidence. If the GRB 070201 progenitor was not in M31, then we can exclude a binary neutron star merger progenitor with distance D < 3.5 Mpc, assuming random inclination, at 90% confidence. The result also implies that an unmodeled gravitational-wave burst from GRB 070201 most probably emitted less than 4.4×10^(-4) M☉c^2 (7.9×10^50 ergs) in any 100 ms long period within the signal region if the source was in M31 and radiated isotropically at the same frequency as LIGO's peak sensitivity (f ≈ 150 Hz). This upper limit does not exclude current models of SGRs at the M31 distance.

Publication: Astrophysical Journal Vol.: 681 No.: 2 ISSN: 0004-637X

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:ABBapj08

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Abstract: The Mock LISA data challenges are a program to demonstrate LISA data-analysis capabilities and to encourage their development. Each round of challenges consists of several data sets containing simulated instrument noise and gravitational waves from sources of undisclosed parameters. Participants are asked to analyze the data sets and report the maximum information about the source parameters. The challenges are being released in rounds of increasing complexity and realism: here we present the results of Challenge 2, issued in Jan 2007, which successfully demonstrated the recovery of signals from nonspinning supermassive-black-hole binaries with optimal SNRs between ~ 10 and 2000, from ~20 000 overlapping galactic white-dwarf binaries (among a realistically distributed population of 26 million), and from the extreme-mass-ratio inspirals of compact objects into central galactic black holes with optimal SNRs ~ 100.

Publication: Classical and Quantum Gravity Vol.: 25 No.: 11 ISSN: 0264-9381

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:BABcqg08a

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Abstract: The first simultaneous operation of the AURIGA detector and the LIGO observatory was an opportunity to explore real data, joint analysis methods between two very different types of gravitational wave detectors: resonant bars and interferometers. This paper describes a coincident gravitational wave burst search, where data from the LIGO interferometers are cross-correlated at the time of AURIGA candidate events to identify coincident transients. The analysis pipeline is tuned with two thresholds, on the signal-to-noise ratio of AURIGA candidate events and on the significance of the cross-correlation test in LIGO. The false alarm rate is estimated by introducing time shifts between data sets and the network detection efficiency is measured by adding simulated gravitational wave signals to the detector output. The simulated waveforms have a significant fraction of power in the narrower AURIGA band. In the absence of a detection, we discuss how to set an upper limit on the rate of gravitational waves and to interpret it according to different source models. Due to the short amount of analyzed data and to the high rate of non-Gaussian transients in the detectors' noise at the time, the relevance of this study is methodological: this was the first joint search for gravitational wave bursts among detectors with such different spectral sensitivity and the first opportunity for the resonant and interferometric communities to unify languages and techniques in the pursuit of their common goal.

Publication: Classical and Quantum Gravity Vol.: 25 No.: 9 ISSN: 0264-9381

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20090630-134133512

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Abstract: We describe a simple framework to assess the LISA scientific performance (more specifically, its sensitivity and expected parameter-estimation precision for prescribed gravitational-wave signals) under the assumption of failure of one or two inter-spacecraft laser measurements (links) and of one to four intra-spacecraft laser measurements. We apply the framework to the simple case of measuring the LISA sensitivity to monochromatic circular binaries, and the LISA parameter-estimation precision for the gravitational-wave polarization angle of these systems. Compared to the six-link baseline configuration, the five-link case is characterized by a small loss in signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) in the high-frequency section of the LISA band; the four-link case shows a reduction by a factor of sqrt{2} at low frequencies, and by up to ~2 at high frequencies. The uncertainty in the estimate of polarization, as computed in the Fisher-matrix formalism, also worsens when moving from six to five, and then to four links: this can be explained by the reduced SNR available in those configurations (except for observations shorter than three months, where five and six links do better than four even with the same SNR). In addition, we prove (for generic signals) that the SNR and Fisher matrix are invariant with respect to the choice of a basis of TDI observables; rather, they depend only on which inter-spacecraft and intra-spacecraft measurements are available.

Publication: Classical and Quantum Gravity Vol.: 25 No.: 6 ISSN: 0264-9381

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:VALcqg08

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Abstract: We report on a search for gravitational waves from the coalescence of compact binaries during the third and fourth LIGO science runs. The search focused on gravitational waves generated during the inspiral phase of the binary evolution. In our analysis, we considered three categories of compact binary systems, ordered by mass: (i) primordial black hole binaries with masses in the range 0.35M_⊙

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20140401-081124003

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Abstract: We present the results of a search for short-duration gravitational-wave bursts associated with 39 gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) detected by gamma-ray satellite experiments during LIGO’s S2, S3, and S4 science runs. The search involves calculating the crosscorrelation between two interferometer data streams surrounding the GRB trigger time. We search for associated gravitational radiation from single GRBs, and also apply statistical tests to search for a gravitational-wave signature associated with the whole sample. For the sample examined, we find no evidence for the association of gravitational radiation with GRBs, either on a single-GRB basis or on a statistical basis. Simulating gravitational-wave bursts with sine-Gaussian waveforms, we set upper limits on the root-sum-square of the gravitational-wave strain amplitude of such waveforms at the times of the GRB triggers. We also demonstrate how a sample of several GRBs can be used collectively to set constraints on population models. The small number of GRBs and the significant change in sensitivity of the detectors over the three runs, however, limits the usefulness of a population study for the S2, S3, and S4 runs. Finally, we discuss prospects for the search sensitivity for the ongoing S5 run, and beyond for the next generation of detectors.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 77 No.: 6 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20140522-133958402

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Abstract: The Fishermatrix formalism is used routinely in the literature on gravitational-wave detection to characterize the parameter-estimation performance of gravitational-wave measurements, given parametrized models of the waveforms, and assuming detector noise of known colored Gaussian distribution. Unfortunately, the Fisher matrix can be a poor predictor of the amount of information obtained from typical observations, especially for waveforms with several parameters and relatively low expected signal-to-noise ratios (SNR), or for waveforms depending weakly on one or more parameters, when their priors are not taken into proper consideration. In this paper I discuss these pitfalls; show how they occur, even for relatively strong signals, with a commonly used template family for binary-inspiral waveforms; and describe practical recipes to recognize them and cope with them. Specifically, I answer the following questions: (i) What is the significance of (quasi-)singular Fisher matrices, and how must we deal with them? (ii) When is it necessary to take into account prior probability distributions for the source parameters? (iii) When is the signal-to-noise ratio high enough to believe the Fisher-matrix result? In addition, I provide general expressions for the higher-order, beyond-Fisher-matrix terms in the 1/SNR expansions for the expected parameter accuracies.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 77 No.: 4 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:VALprd08

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Abstract: We report on an all-sky search with the LIGO detectors for periodic gravitational waves in the frequency range 50–1000 Hz and with the frequency’s time derivative in the range −1×10^(−8) Hz s^(−1) to zero. Data from the fourth LIGO science run (S4) have been used in this search. Three different semicoherent methods of transforming and summing strain power from short Fourier transforms (SFTs) of the calibrated data have been used. The first, known as StackSlide, averages normalized power from each SFT. A “weighted Hough” scheme is also developed and used, which also allows for a multi-interferometer search. The third method, known as PowerFlux, is a variant of the StackSlide method in which the power is weighted before summing. In both the weighted Hough and PowerFlux methods, the weights are chosen according to the noise and detector antenna-pattern to maximize the signal-to-noise ratio. The respective advantages and disadvantages of these methods are discussed. Observing no evidence of periodic gravitational radiation, we report upper limits; we interpret these as limits on this radiation from isolated rotating neutron stars. The best population-based upper limit with 95% confidence on the gravitational-wave strain amplitude, found for simulated sources distributed isotropically across the sky and with isotropically distributed spin axes, is 4.28×10^(−24) (near 140 Hz). Strict upper limits are also obtained for small patches on the sky for best-case and worst-case inclinations of the spin axes.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 77 No.: 2 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20140328-095155437

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Abstract: The fourth science run of the LIGO and GEO 600 gravitational-wave detectors, carried out in early 2005, collected data with significantly lower noise than previous science runs. We report on a search for short-duration gravitational-wave bursts with arbitrary waveform in the 64–1600 Hz frequency range appearing in all three LIGO interferometers. Signal consistency tests, data quality cuts and auxiliary-channel vetoes are applied to reduce the rate of spurious triggers. No gravitational-wave signals are detected in 15.5 days of live observation time; we set a frequentist upper limit of 0.15 day^(−1) (at 90% confidence level) on the rate of bursts with large enough amplitudes to be detected reliably. The amplitude sensitivity of the search, characterized using Monte Carlo simulations, is several times better than that of previous searches. We also provide rough estimates of the distances at which representative supernova and binary black hole merger signals could be detected with 50% efficiency by this analysis.

Publication: Classical and Quantum Gravity Vol.: 24 No.: 22 ISSN: 0264-9381

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20140113-082240415

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Abstract: We searched for an anisotropic background of gravitational waves using data from the LIGO S4 science run and a method that is optimized for point sources. This is appropriate if, for example, the gravitational wave background is dominated by a small number of distinct astrophysical sources. No signal was seen. Upper limit maps were produced assuming two different power laws for the source strain power spectrum. For an f^(−3) power law and using the50 Hz to 1.8 kHz band the upper limits on the source strain power spectrum vary between 1.2×10^(−48) Hz^(−1) (100 Hz/f)^3 and 1.2×10^(−47) Hz^(−1) (100 Hz/f)^3, depending on the position in the sky. Similarly, in the case of constant strain power spectrum, the upper limits vary between 8.5×10−49 Hz−1 and 6.1×10^(−48) Hz^(−1). As a side product a limit on an isotropic background of gravitational waves was also obtained. All limits are at the 90% confidence level. Finally, as an application, we focused on the direction of Sco-X1, the brightest low-mass x-ray binary. We compare the upper limit on strain amplitude obtained by this method to expectations based on the x-ray flux from Sco-X1.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 76 No.: 8 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20140328-113831012

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Abstract: We carry out two searches for periodic gravitational waves using the most sensitive few hours of data from the second LIGO science run. Both searches exploit fully coherent matched filtering and cover wide areas of parameter space, an innovation over previous analyses which requires considerable algorithm development and computational power. The first search is targeted at isolated, previously unknown neutron stars, covers the entire sky in the frequency band 160–728.8 Hz, and assumes a frequency derivative of less than 4×10^(−10) Hz/s. The second search targets the accreting neutron star in the low-mass x-ray binary Scorpius X-1 and covers the frequency bands 464–484 Hz and 604–624 Hz as well as the two relevant binary orbit parameters. Because of the high computational cost of these searches we limit the analyses to the most sensitive 10 hours and 6 hours of data, respectively. Given the limited sensitivity and duration of the analyzed data set, we do not attempt deep follow-up studies. Rather we concentrate on demonstrating the data analysis method on a real data set and present our results as upper limits over large volumes of the parameter space. In order to achieve this, we look for coincidences in parameter space between the Livingston and Hanford 4-km interferometers. For isolated neutron stars our 95% confidence level upper limits on the gravitational wave strain amplitude range from 6.6×10^(−23) to 1×10^(−21) across the frequency band; for Scorpius X-1 they range from 1.7×10^(−22) to 1.3×10^(−21) across the two 20-Hz frequency bands. The upper limits presented in this paper are the first broadband wide parameter space upper limits on periodic gravitational waves from coherent search techniques. The methods developed here lay the foundations for upcoming hierarchical searches of more sensitive data which may detect astrophysical signals.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 76 No.: 8 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20140328-081826662

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Abstract: Gravitational waves from the inspiral and coalescence of supermassive black-hole (SMBH) binaries with masses m1 ~ m2 ~ 10^6Modot are likely to be among the strongest sources for the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA). We describe a three-stage data-analysis pipeline designed to search for and measure the parameters of SMBH binaries in LISA data. The first stage uses a time–frequency track-search method to search for inspiral signals and provide a coarse estimate of the black-hole masses m1, m2 and the coalescence time of the binary tc. The second stage uses a sequence of matched-filter template banks, seeded by the first stage, to improve the measurement accuracy of the masses and coalescence time. Finally, a Markov chain Monte Carlo search is used to estimate all nine physical parameters of the binary (masses, coalescence time, distance, initial phase, sky position and orientation). Using results from the second stage substantially shortens the Markov chain burn-in time and allows us to determine the number of SMBH-binary signals in the data before starting parameter estimation. We demonstrate our analysis pipeline using simulated data from the first Mock LISA Data Challenge. We discuss our plan for improving this pipeline and the challenges that will be faced in real LISA data analysis.

Publication: Classical and Quantum Gravity Vol.: 24 No.: 19 ISSN: 0264-9381

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:BROcqg07

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Abstract: The Mock Data Challenges (MLDCs) have the dual purpose of fostering the development of LISA data-analysis tools and capabilities and of demonstrating the technical readiness already achieved by the gravitational-wave community in distilling a rich science payoff from the LISA data. The first round of MLDCs has just been completed and the second-round data sets are being released shortly after this workshop. The second-round data sets contain radiation from an entire Galactic population of stellar-mass binary systems, from massive-black-hole binaries, and from extreme-mass-ratio inspirals. These data sets are designed to capture much of the complexity that is expected in the actual LISA data, and should provide a fairly realistic setting to test advanced data-analysis techniques, and in particular the global aspect of the analysis. Here we describe the second round of MLDCs and provide details about its implementation.

Publication: Classical and Quantum Gravity Vol.: 24 No.: 19 ISSN: 0264-9381

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:ARNcqg07a

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Abstract: The Mock LISA Data Challenges (MLDCs) have the dual purpose of fostering the development of LISA data analysis tools and capabilities, and demonstrating the technical readiness already achieved by the gravitational-wave community in distilling a rich science payoff from the LISA data output. The first round of MLDCs has just been completed: nine challenges consisting of data sets containing simulated gravitational-wave signals produced either by galactic binaries or massive black hole binaries embedded in simulated LISA instrumental noise were released in June 2006 with deadline for submission of results at the beginning of December 2006. Ten groups have participated in this first round of challenges. All of the challenges had at least one entry which successfully characterized the signal to better than 95% when assessed via a correlation with phasing ambiguities accounted for. Here, we describe the challenges, summarize the results and provide a first critical assessment of the entries.

Publication: Classical and Quantum Gravity Vol.: 24 No.: 19 ISSN: 0264-9381

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20100826-083744729

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Abstract: We have searched for gravitational waves (GWs) associated with the SGR 1806−20 hyperflare of 27 December 2004. This event, originating from a Galactic neutron star, displayed exceptional energetics. Recent investigations of the x-ray light curve’s pulsating tail revealed the presence of quasiperiodic oscillations (QPOs) in the 30–2000 Hz frequency range, most of which coincides with the bandwidth of the LIGO detectors. These QPOs, with well-characterized frequencies, can plausibly be attributed to seismic modes of the neutron star which could emit GWs. Our search targeted potential quasimonochromatic GWs lasting for tens of seconds and emitted at the QPO frequencies. We have observed no candidate signals above a predetermined threshold, and our lowest upper limit was set by the 92.5 Hz QPO observed in the interval from 150 s to 260 s after the start of the flare. This bound corresponds to a (90% confidence) root-sum-squared amplitude h^(90%)_(rss-det) =4.5×10^(−22) strain Hz^(−1/2) on the GW waveform strength in the detectable polarization state reaching our Hanford (WA) 4 km detector. We illustrate the astrophysical significance of the result via an estimated characteristic energy in GW emission that we would expect to be able to detect. The above result corresponds to 7.7×10^(46) erg (=4.3×10^(−8) M_⊙c^2), which is of the same order as the total (isotropic) energy emitted in the electromagnetic spectrum. This result provides a means to probe the energy reservoir of the source with the best upper limit on the GW waveform strength published and represents the first broadband asteroseismology measurement using a GW detector.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 76 No.: 6 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20140328-102903046

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Abstract: We present upper limits on the gravitational wave emission from 78 radio pulsars based on data from the third and fourth science runs of the LIGO and GEO 600 gravitational wave detectors. The data from both runs have been combined coherently to maximize sensitivity. For the first time, pulsars within binary (or multiple) systems have been included in the search by taking into account the signal modulation due to their orbits. Our upper limits are therefore the first measured for 56 of these pulsars. For the remaining 22, our results improve on previous upper limits by up to a factor of 10. For example, our tightest upper limit on the gravitational strain is 2.6×10^(−25) for PSR J1603−7202, and the equatorial ellipticity of PSR J2124–3358 is less than 10^(−6). Furthermore, our strain upper limit for the Crab pulsar is only 2.2 times greater than the fiducial spin-down limit.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 76 No.: 4 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20140115-091609260

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Abstract: Data from the LIGO Livingston interferometer and the ALLEGRO resonant-bar detector, taken during LIGO’s fourth science run, were examined for cross correlations indicative of a stochastic gravitational-wave background in the frequency range 850–950 Hz, with most of the sensitivity arising between 905 and 925 Hz. ALLEGRO was operated in three different orientations during the experiment to modulate the relative sign of gravitational-wave and environmental correlations. No statistically significant correlations were seen in any of the orientations, and the results were used to set a Bayesian 90% confidence level upper limit of Ω_(gw)(f)≤1.02, which corresponds to a gravitational-wave strain at 915 Hz of 1.5×10^(−23) Hz^(−1/2). In the traditional units of h^2_(100)Ω_(gw)(f), this is a limit of 0.53, 2 orders of magnitude better than the previous direct limit at these frequencies. The method was also validated with successful extraction of simulated signals injected in hardware and software.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 76 No.: 2 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20140115-080342758

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Abstract: The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) has performed the fourth science run, S4, with significantly improved interferometer sensitivities with respect to previous runs. Using data acquired during this science run, we place a limit on the amplitude of a stochastic background of gravitational waves. For a frequency independent spectrum, the new Bayesian 90% upper limit is Ω_(GW) × [H_0/(72 km s^(−1) Mpc^(−1))]^2 < 6.5 × 10^(-5). This is currently the most sensitive result in the frequency range 51-150 Hz, with a factor of 13 improvement over the previous LIGO result. We discuss the complementarity of the new result with other constraints on a stochastic background of gravitational waves, and we investigate implications of the new result for different models of this background.

Publication: Astrophysical Journal Vol.: 659 No.: 2 ISSN: 0004-637X

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20140110-072316825

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Abstract: We search for coincident gravitational wave signals from inspiralling neutron star binaries using LIGO and TAMA300 data taken during early 2003. Using a simple trigger exchange method, we perform an intercollaboration coincidence search during times when TAMA300 and only one of the LIGO sites were operational. We find no evidence of any gravitational wave signals. We place an observational upper limit on the rate of binary neutron star coalescence with component masses between 1 and 3Mסּ of 49 per year per Milky Way equivalent galaxy at a 90% confidence level. The methods developed during this search will find application in future network inspiral analyses.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 73 No.: 10 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:ABBprd06b

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Abstract: We report on a search for gravitational-wave bursts in data from the three LIGO interferometric detectors during their third science run. The search targets subsecond bursts in the frequency range 100-1100 Hz for which no waveform model is assumed and has a sensitivity in terms of the root-sum-square (rss) strain amplitude of h(rss) ~10^(-20) Hz^(-1/2). No gravitational-wave signals were detected in the eight days of analysed data.

Publication: Classical and Quantum Gravity Vol.: 23 No.: 8 ISSN: 0264-9381

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:ABBcqg06

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Abstract: We report on a search for gravitational waves from binary black hole inspirals in the data from the second science run of the LIGO interferometers. The search focused on binary systems with component masses between 3 and 20M_☉. Optimally oriented binaries with distances up to 1 Mpc could be detected with efficiency of at least 90%. We found no events that could be identified as gravitational waves in the 385.6 hours of data that we searched.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 73 No.: 6 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:ABBprd06a

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Abstract: We report on the first joint search for gravitational waves by the TAMA and LIGO collaborations. We looked for millisecond-duration unmodeled gravitational-wave bursts in 473 hr of coincident data collected during early 2003. No candidate signals were found. We set an upper limit of 0.12 events per day on the rate of detectable gravitational-wave bursts, at 90% confidence level. From software simulations, we estimate that our detector network was sensitive to bursts with root-sum-square strain amplitude above approximately 1–3×10-19 Hz-1/2 in the frequency band 700-2000 Hz. We describe the details of this collaborative search, with particular emphasis on its advantages and disadvantages compared to searches by LIGO and TAMA separately using the same data. Benefits include a lower background and longer observation time, at some cost in sensitivity and bandwidth. We also demonstrate techniques for performing coincidence searches with a heterogeneous network of detectors with different noise spectra and orientations. These techniques include using coordinated software signal injections to estimate the network sensitivity, and tuning the analysis to maximize the sensitivity and the livetime, subject to constraints on the background.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 72 No.: 12 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:ABBprd05

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Abstract: The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory has performed a third science run with much improved sensitivities of all three interferometers. We present an analysis of approximately 200 hours of data acquired during this run, used to search for a stochastic background of gravitational radiation. We place upper bounds on the energy density stored as gravitational radiation for three different spectral power laws. For the flat spectrum, our limit of Ω_0<8.4×10^(-4) in the 69–156 Hz band is ~10^5 times lower than the previous result in this frequency range.

Publication: Physical Review Letters Vol.: 95 No.: 22 ISSN: 0031-9007

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20110503-140518412

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Abstract: We perform a wide parameter-space search for continuous gravitational waves over the whole sky and over a large range of values of the frequency and the first spin-down parameter. Our search method is based on the Hough transform, which is a semicoherent, computationally efficient, and robust pattern recognition technique. We apply this technique to data from the second science run of the LIGO detectors and our final results are all-sky upper limits on the strength of gravitational waves emitted by unknown isolated spinning neutron stars on a set of narrow frequency bands in the range 200–400 Hz. The best upper limit on the gravitational-wave strain amplitude that we obtain in this frequency range is 4.43×10^(-23).

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 72 No.: 10 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20110426-152707978

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Abstract: Detection template families (DTFs) are built to capture the essential features of true gravitational waveforms using a small set of phenomenological waveform parameters. Buonanno, Chen, and Vallisneri [Phys. Rev. D 67, 104025 (2003)] proposed the BCV2 DTF to perform computationally efficient searches for signals from precessing binaries of compact stellar objects. Here we test the signal-matching performance of the BCV2 DTF for asymmetric-mass-ratio binaries, and specifically for double-black-hole binaries with component masses (m1,m2)[is-an-element-of][6,12]M[sun]×[1,3]M[sun], and for black-hole–neutron-star binaries with component masses (m1,m2)=(10M[sun],1.4M[sun]); we take all black holes to be maximally spinning. We find a satisfactory signal-matching performance, with fitting factors averaging between 0.94 and 0.98. We also scope out the region of BCV2 parameters needed for a template-based search, we evaluate the template match metric, we discuss a template-placement strategy, and we estimate the number of templates needed for searches at the LIGO design sensitivity. In addition, after gaining more insight in the dynamics of spin-orbit precession, we propose a modification of the BCV2 DTF that is parametrized by physical (rather than phenomenological) parameters. We test this modified "BCV2P" DTF for the (10M[sun], 1.4M[sun]) black-hole–neutron-star system, finding a signal-matching performance comparable to the BCV2 DTF, and a reliable parameter-estimation capability for target-binary quantities such as the chirp mass and the opening angle (the angle between the black-hole spin and the orbital angular momentum).

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 72 No.: 8 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:BUOprd05

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Abstract: We use 373 hours (≈15 days) of data from the second science run of the LIGO gravitational-wave detectors to search for signals from binary neutron star coalescences within a maximum distance of about 1.5 Mpc, a volume of space which includes the Andromeda Galaxy and other galaxies of the Local Group of galaxies. This analysis requires a signal to be found in data from detectors at the two LIGO sites, according to a set of coincidence criteria. The background (accidental coincidence rate) is determined from the data and is used to judge the significance of event candidates. No inspiral gravitational-wave events were identified in our search. Using a population model which includes the Local Group, we establish an upper limit of less than 47 inspiral events per year per Milky Way equivalent galaxy with 90% confidence for nonspinning binary neutron star systems with component masses between 1 and 3M☉.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 72 No.: 8 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:ABBprd05d

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Abstract: We use data from the second science run of the LIGO gravitational-wave detectors to search for the gravitational waves from primordial black hole binary coalescence with component masses in the range 0.2–1.0M☉. The analysis requires a signal to be found in the data from both LIGO observatories, according to a set of coincidence criteria. No inspiral signals were found. Assuming a spherical halo with core radius 5 kpc extending to 50 kpc containing nonspinning black holes with masses in the range 0.2–1.0M☉, we place an observational upper limit on the rate of primordial black hole coalescence of 63 per year per Milky Way halo (MWH) with 90% confidence.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 72 No.: 8 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:ABBprd05c

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Abstract: We perform a search for gravitational wave bursts using data from the second science run of the LIGO detectors, using a method based on a wavelet time-frequency decomposition. This search is sensitive to bursts of duration much less than a second and with frequency content in the 100–1100 Hz range. It features significant improvements in the instrument sensitivity and in the analysis pipeline with respect to the burst search previously reported by LIGO. Improvements in the search method allow exploring weaker signals, relative to the detector noise floor, while maintaining a low false alarm rate, O(0.1) μHz. The sensitivity in terms of the root-sum-square (rss) strain amplitude lies in the range of hrss∼10^-20 - 10^-19 Hz^-1/2. No gravitational wave signals were detected in 9.98 days of analyzed data. We interpret the search result in terms of a frequentist upper limit on the rate of detectable gravitational wave bursts at the level of 0.26 events per day at 90% confidence level. We combine this limit with measurements of the detection efficiency for selected waveform morphologies in order to yield rate versus strength exclusion curves as well as to establish order-of-magnitude distance sensitivity to certain modeled astrophysical sources. Both the rate upper limit and its applicability to signal strengths improve our previously reported limits and reflect the most sensitive broad-band search for untriggered and unmodeled gravitational wave bursts to date.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 72 No.: 6 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:ABBprd05b

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Abstract: We have performed a search for bursts of gravitational waves associated with the very bright gamma ray burst GRB030329, using the two detectors at the LIGO Hanford Observatory. Our search covered the most sensitive frequency range of the LIGO detectors (approximately 80–−2048 Hz), and we specifically targeted signals shorter than ≃150 ms. Our search algorithm looks for excess correlated power between the two interferometers and thus makes minimal assumptions about the gravitational waveform. We observed no candidates with gravitational-wave signal strength larger than a predetermined threshold. We report frequency-dependent upper limits on the strength of the gravitational waves associated with GRB030329. Near the most sensitive frequency region, around ≃250 Hz, our root-sum-square (RSS) gravitational-wave strain sensitivity for optimally polarized bursts was better than h_(RSS)≃6×10^(−21) Hz^(−1/2). Our result is comparable to the best published results searching for association between gravitational waves and gamma ray bursts.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 72 No.: 4 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20140114-151827275

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Abstract: We place direct upper limits on the amplitude of gravitational waves from 28 isolated radio pulsars by a coherent multidetector analysis of the data collected during the second science run of the LIGO interferometric detectors. These are the first direct upper limits for 26 of the 28 pulsars. We use coordinated radio observations for the first time to build radio-guided phase templates for the expected gravitational-wave signals. The unprecedented sensitivity of the detectors allows us to set strain upper limits as low as a few times 10^(-24). These strain limits translate into limits on the equatorial ellipticities of the pulsars, which are smaller than 10^(-5) for the four closest pulsars.

Publication: Physical Review Letters Vol.: 94 No.: 18 ISSN: 0031-9007

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20110503-112854281

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Abstract: One of the most exciting prospects for the LISA gravitational wave observatory is the detection of gravitational radiation from the inspiral of a compact object into a supermassive black hole. The large inspiral parameter space and low amplitude of the signal make detection of these sources computationally challenging. We outline here a first-cut data analysis scheme that assumes realistic computational resources. In the context of this scheme, we estimate the signal-to-noise ratio that a source requires to pass our thresholds and be detected. Combining this with an estimate of the population of sources in the universe, we estimate the number of inspiral events that LISA could detect. The preliminary results are very encouraging—with the baseline design, LISA can see inspirals out to a redshift z = 1 and should detect over a thousand events during the mission lifetime.

Publication: Classical and Quantum Gravity Vol.: 21 No.: 20 ISSN: 0264-9381

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:GAIcqg04

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Abstract: The LISA time-delay-interferometry responses to a gravitational wave signal are rewritten in a form that accounts for the motion of the LISA constellation around the Sun; the responses are given in closed analytic forms valid for any frequency in the band accessible to LISA. We then present a complete procedure, based on the principle of maximum likelihood, to search for stellar-mass binary systems in the LISA data. We define the required optimal filters, the amplitude-maximized detection statistic (analogous to the Ƒ statistic used in pulsar searches with ground-based interferometers), and discuss the false-alarm and detection probabilities. We then test the procedure in numerical simulations of gravitational-wave detection.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 70 No.: 2 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20170408-164051256

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Abstract: We report on a search for gravitational waves from coalescing compact binary systems in the Milky Way and the Magellanic Clouds. The analysis uses data taken by two of the three LIGO interferometers during the first LIGO science run and illustrates a method of setting upper limits on inspiral event rates using interferometer data. The analysis pipeline is described with particular attention to data selection and coincidence between the two interferometers. We establish an observational upper limit of R<1.7x10^(2) per year per Milky Way Equivalent Galaxy (MWEG), with 90% confidence, on the coalescence rate of binary systems in which each component has a mass in the range 1-3 M☉.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 69 No.: 12 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:ABBprd04d

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Abstract: We present the analysis of between 50 and 100 h of coincident interferometric strain data used to search for and establish an upper limit on a stochastic background of gravitational radiation. These data come from the first LIGO science run, during which all three LIGO interferometers were operated over a 2-week period spanning August and September of 2002. The method of cross correlating the outputs of two interferometers is used for analysis. We describe in detail practical signal processing issues that arise when working with real data, and we establish an observational upper limit on a f^-3 power spectrum of gravitational waves. Our 90% confidence limit is Ω0h100(^2)<~23±4.6 in the frequency band 40–314 Hz, where h100 is the Hubble constant in units of 100 km/sec/Mpc and Ω0 is the gravitational wave energy density per logarithmic frequency interval in units of the closure density. This limit is approximately 104 times better than the previous, broadband direct limit using interferometric detectors, and nearly 3 times better than the best narrow-band bar detector limit. As LIGO and other worldwide detectors improve in sensitivity and attain their design goals, the analysis procedures described here should lead to stochastic background sensitivity levels of astrophysical interest.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 69 No.: 12 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:ABBprd04c

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Abstract: We report on a search for gravitational wave bursts using data from the first science run of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors. Our search focuses on bursts with durations ranging from 4 to 100 ms, and with significant power in the LIGO sensitivity band of 150 to 3000 Hz. We bound the rate for such detected bursts at less than 1.6 events per day at a 90% confidence level. This result is interpreted in terms of the detection efficiency for ad hoc waveforms (Gaussians and sine Gaussians) as a function of their root-sum-square strain h(rss); typical sensitivities lie in the range h(rss) ~10^(-19)-10^(-17) strain/√Hz, depending on the waveform. We discuss improvements in the search method that will be applied to future science data from LIGO and other gravitational wave detectors.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 69 No.: 10 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:ABBprd04b

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Abstract: Data collected by the GEO 600 and LIGO interferometric gravitational wave detectors during their first observational science run were searched for continuous gravitational waves from the pulsar J1939+2134 at twice its rotation frequency. Two independent analysis methods were used and are demonstrated in this paper: a frequency domain method and a time domain method. Both achieve consistent null results, placing new upper limits on the strength of the pulsar's gravitational wave emission. A model emission mechanism is used to interpret the limits as a constraint on the pulsar's equatorial ellipticity.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 69 No.: 8 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:ABBprd04a

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Abstract: The first science run of the LIGO and GEO gravitational wave detectors presented the opportunity to test methods of searching for gravitational waves from known pulsars. Here we present new direct upper limits on the strength of waves from the pulsar PSR J1939+2134 using two independent analysis methods, one in the frequency domain using frequentist statistics and one in the time domain using Bayesian inference. Both methods show that the strain amplitude at Earth from this pulsar is less than a few times 10^(−22).

Publication: Classical and Quantum Gravity Vol.: 21 No.: 5 ISSN: 0264-9381

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20110708-115305907

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Abstract: The first science run of the LIGO and GEO gravitational wave detectors presented the opportunity to test methods of searching for gravitational waves from known pulsars. Here we present new direct upper limits on the strength of waves from the pulsar PSR J1939+2134 using two independent analysis methods, one in the frequency domain using frequentist statistics and one in the time domain using Bayesian inference. Both methods show that the strain amplitude at Earth from this pulsar is less than a few times 10^(-22).

Publication: Classical and Quantum Gravity Vol.: 21 No.: 5, SI ISSN: 0264-9381

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20140911-121323448

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Abstract: For 17 days in August and September 2002, the LIGO and GEO interferometer gravitational wave detectors were operated in coincidence to produce their first data for scientific analysis. Although the detectors were still far from their design sensitivity levels, the data can be used to place better upper limits on the flux of gravitational waves incident on the earth than previous direct measurements. This paper describes the instruments and the data in some detail, as a companion to analysis papers based on the first data.

Publication: Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment Vol.: 517 No.: 1-3 ISSN: 0168-9002

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20140109-094808747

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Abstract: Black-hole (BH) binaries with single-BH masses m=(5-20)M, moving on quasicircular orbits, are among the most promising sources for first-generation ground-based gravitational-wave (GW) detectors. Until now, the development of data-analysis techniques to detect GWs from these sources has been focused mostly on nonspinning BHs. The data-analysis problem for the spinning case is complicated by the necessity to model the precession-induced modulations of the GW signal, and by the large number of parameters needed to characterize the system, including the initial directions of the spins, and the position and orientation of the binary with respect to the GW detector. In this paper we consider binaries of maximally spinning BHs, and we work in the adiabatic-inspiral regime to build families of modulated detection templates that (i) are functions of very few physical and phenomenological parameters, (ii) model remarkably well the dynamical and precessional effects on the GW signal, with fitting factors on average greater than or similar to0.97, (iii) but, however, might require increasing the detection thresholds, offsetting at least partially the gains in the fitting factors. Our detection-template families are quite promising also for the case of neutron-star-black-hole binaries, with fitting factors on average approximate to0.93. For these binaries we also suggest (but do not test) a further template family, which would produce essentially exact waveforms written directly in terms of the physical spin parameters.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 67 No.: 10 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20140911-121322757

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Abstract: We investigate the problem of detecting gravitational waves from binaries of nonspinning black holes with masses m=5-20M., moving on quasicircular orbits, which are arguably the most promising sources for first-generation ground-based detectors. We analyze and compare all the currently available post-Newtonian approximations for the relativistic two-body dynamics; for these binaries, different approximations predict different waveforms. We then construct examples of detection template families that embed all the approximate models and that could be used to detect the true gravitational-wave signal (but not to characterize accurately its physical parameters). We estimate that the fitting factor for our detection families is greater than or similar to0.95 (corresponding to an event rate loss less than or similar to15%) and we estimate that the discretization of the template family, for similar to10(4) templates, increases the loss to less than or similar to20%.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 67 No.: 2 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20140911-121322544

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Abstract: Nonlinear evolution of the gravitational radiation (GR) driven instability in the r-modes of neutron stars is studied by full numerical 3D hydrodynamical simulations. The growth of the r-mode instability is found to be limited by the formation of shocks and breaking waves when the dimensionless amplitude of the mode grows to about three in value. This maximum mode amplitude is shown by numerical tests to be rather insensitive to the strength of the GR driving force. Upper limits on the strengths of possible nonlinear mode-mode coupling are inferred. Previously unpublished details of the numerical techniques used are presented, and the results of numerous calibration runs are discussed.

Publication: Physical Review D Vol.: 65 No.: 8 ISSN: 2470-0010

ID: CaltechAUTHORS:20170408-164428463

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