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Prospects of Gravitational Wave Detections from Common Envelope Evolution with LISA

Renzo, M. and Callister, T. and Chatziioannou, K. and van Son, L. A. C. and Mingarelli, C. M. F. and Cantiello, M. and Ford, K. E. S. and McKernan, B. and Ashton, G. (2021) Prospects of Gravitational Wave Detections from Common Envelope Evolution with LISA. Astrophysical Journal, 919 (2). Art. No. 128. ISSN 0004-637X. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/ac1110.

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Understanding common envelope (CE) evolution is an outstanding problem in binary evolution. Although the CE phase is not driven by gravitational wave (GW) emission, the inspiraling binary emits GWs that passively trace CE dynamics. Detecting this GW signal would provide direct insight into gas-driven physics. Even a non-detection might offer invaluable constraints. We investigate the prospects of detection of a Galactic CE by LISA. While the dynamical phase of the CE is likely sufficiently loud for detection, it is short and thus rare. We focus instead on the self-regulated phase that proceeds on a thermal timescale. Based on population-synthesis calculations and the (unknown) signal duration in the LISA band, we expect ∼0.1–100 sources in the Galaxy during the mission duration. We map the GW observable parameter space of frequency f_(GW) and its derivative f˙_(GW), remaining agnostic on the specifics of the inspiral and find that signals with signal-to-noise ratios > 10 are possible if the CE stalls at separations such that f_(GW) ≳ 2 × 10⁻³ Hz. We investigate the possibility of misidentifying the signal with other known sources. If the second derivative f¨_(GW) can also be measured, the signal can be distinguished from other sources using a GW braking index. Alternatively, coupling LISA with electromagnetic observations of peculiar red giant stars and/or infrared and optical transients, might allow for the disentangling of a Galactic CE from other Galactic and extragalactic GW sources.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper ItemCode
Renzo, M.0000-0002-6718-9472
Callister, T.0000-0001-9892-177X
Chatziioannou, K.0000-0002-5833-413X
van Son, L. A. C.0000-0001-5484-4987
Mingarelli, C. M. F.0000-0002-4307-1322
Cantiello, M.0000-0002-8171-8596
McKernan, B.0000-0002-9726-0508
Ashton, G.0000-0001-7288-2231
Alternate Title:Prospects of gravitational-waves detections from common-envelope evolution with LISA
Additional Information:© 2021. The American Astronomical Society. Received 2021 January 28; revised 2021 June 30; accepted 2021 July 1; published 2021 October 4. Portions of this study were performed during the LISA Sprint at the Center for Computational Astrophysics of the Flatiron Institute, supported by the Simons Foundation. M.R. thanks S. Justham and Y. F. Jiang for helpful discussions early on during this project and K. Breivik for guidance in using COSMIC and helpful feedback. We thank T. Littenberg for useful discussions on LISA parameter estimation. Software: COSMIC (Breivik et al. 2020), ipython/jupyter (Pérez & Granger 2007), matplotlib (Hunter 2007), NumPy (van der Walt et al. 2011).
Group:Astronomy Department, LIGO
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Simons FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Common envelope binary stars; Common envelope evolution; Gravitational wave astronomy; Binary stars; Interacting binary stars
Issue or Number:2
Classification Code:Unified Astronomy Thesaurus concepts: Common envelope binary stars (2156); Common envelope evolution (2154); Gravitational wave astronomy (675); Binary stars (154); Interacting binary stars (801)
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20211004-232814510
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:M. Renzo et al 2021 ApJ 919 128
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:111203
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:07 Oct 2021 19:08
Last Modified:08 Oct 2021 22:24

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