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Impact of subdominant modes on the interpretation of gravitational-wave signals from heavy binary black hole systems

Shaik, Feroz H. and Lange, Jacob and Field, Scott E. and O’Shaughnessy, Richard and Varma, Vijay and Kidder, Lawrence E. and Pfeiffer, Harald P. and Wysocki, Daniel (2020) Impact of subdominant modes on the interpretation of gravitational-wave signals from heavy binary black hole systems. Physical Review D, 101 (12). Art. No. 124054. ISSN 2470-0010.

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Over the past year, a handful of new gravitational wave models have been developed to include multiple harmonic modes thereby enabling for the first time fully Bayesian inference studies including higher modes to be performed. Using one recently developed numerical relativity surrogate model, NRHybSur3dq8, we investigate the importance of higher modes on parameter inference of coalescing massive binary black holes. We focus on examples relevant to the current three-detector network of observatories, with a detector-frame mass set to 120 M⊙ and with signal amplitude values that are consistent with plausible candidates for the next few observing runs. We show that for such systems the higher mode content will be important for interpreting coalescing binary black holes, reducing systematic bias, and computing properties of the remnant object. Even for comparable-mass binaries and at low signal amplitude, the omission of higher modes can influence posterior probability distributions. We discuss the impact of our results on source population inference and self-consistency tests of general relativity. Our work can be used to better understand asymmetric binary black hole merger events, such as GW190412. Higher modes are critical for such systems, and their omission usually produces substantial parameter biases.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
O’Shaughnessy, Richard0000-0001-5832-8517
Varma, Vijay0000-0002-9994-1761
Kidder, Lawrence E.0000-0001-5392-7342
Pfeiffer, Harald P.0000-0001-9288-519X
Wysocki, Daniel0000-0001-9138-4078
Additional Information:© 2020 American Physical Society. (Received 15 November 2019; accepted 12 June 2020; published 25 June 2020) We thank Gaurav Khanna for helpful discussions and providing technical assistance using the CARNiE cluster. We thank Chinmay Kalaghatgi and Juan Calderon Bustillo for helpful comments on an earlier version of this manuscript, and the anonymous referee for numerous suggestions. R. O. S. and J. A. L. gratefully acknowledge NSF Award No. PHY-1707965. S. E. F. is partially supported by NSF Grant No. PHY-1806665, and F. H. S. is supported by NSF Grant No. PHY-1806665 and the UMassD Physics Department. L. E. K. acknowledges support from the Sherman Fairchild Foundation and NSF Grant No. PHY-1606654 at Cornell. The computational work of this project was performed on the CARNiE cluster at UMassD, which is supported by the ONR/DURIP Grant No. N00014181255. S. E. F. and F. H. S. thank the Center for Scientific Computing & Visualization Research (CSCVR) for both its technical support and for its hospitality while part of this work was completed.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Sherman Fairchild FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Office of Naval Research (ONR)N00014181255
Issue or Number:12
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200626-103612633
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:104074
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:26 Jun 2020 19:43
Last Modified:26 Jun 2020 19:43

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