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High-accuracy gravitational waveforms for binary black hole mergers with nearly extremal spins

Lovelace, Geoffrey and Boyle, Michael and Scheel, Mark A. and Szilágyi, Béla (2012) High-accuracy gravitational waveforms for binary black hole mergers with nearly extremal spins. Classical and Quantum Gravity, 29 (4). 045003. ISSN 0264-9381.

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Motivated by the possibility of observing gravitational waves from merging black holes whose spins are nearly extremal (i.e. 1 in dimensionless units), we present numerical waveforms from simulations of merging black holes with the highest spins simulated to date: (1) a 25.5-orbit inspiral, merger and ringdown of two holes with equal masses and spins of magnitude 0.97 aligned with the orbital angular momentum; and (2) a previously reported 12.5-orbit inspiral, merger and ringdown of two holes with equal masses and spins of magnitude 0.95 anti-aligned with the orbital angular momentum. First, we consider the horizon mass and spin evolution of the new aligned-spin simulation. During the inspiral, the horizon area and spin evolve in remarkably close agreement with Alvi's analytic predictions, and the remnant hole's final spin agrees reasonably well with several analytic predictions. We also find that the total energy emitted by a real astrophysical system with these parameters—almost all of which is radiated during the time included in this simulation—would be 10.952% of the initial mass at infinite separation. Second, we consider the gravitational waveforms for both simulations. After estimating their uncertainties, we compare the waveforms to several post-Newtonian approximants, finding significant disagreement well before merger, although the phase of the TaylorT4 approximant happens to agree remarkably well with the numerical prediction in the aligned-spin case. We find that the post-Newtonian waveforms have sufficient uncertainty that hybridized waveforms will require far longer numerical simulations (in the absence of improved post-Newtonian waveforms) for accurate parameter estimation of low-mass binary systems.

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Additional Information:© 2011 IOP Publishing Ltd. Received 10 October 2011; in final form 21 December 2011 Published 26 January 2012. We are pleased to thank Bryant Garcia and Nick Taylor for developing technical improvements that we applied to the numerical simulations in this paper and Alessandra Buonanno, Larry Kidder, Robert Owen, Harald Pfeiffer, Saul Teukolsky and Kip Thorne for helpful discussions. This work was supported in part by grants from the Sherman Fairchild Foundation to Caltech and Cornell and from the Brinson Foundation to Caltech, by NSF grant nos PHY-0601459, PHY-1068881 and PHY-1005655 at Caltech, by NASA grant no NNX09AF97G at Caltech, by NSF grant no PHY-0969111 and PHY-1005426 at Cornell and by NASA grant no NNX09AF96G at Cornell. The numerical computations presented in this paper were performed primarily on the Caltech compute cluster ZWICKY, which was funded by the Sherman Fairchild Foundation and the NSF MRI-R2 grant no PHY-0960291 to Caltech. Some computations were also performed on the GPC supercomputer at the SciNet HPC Consortium; SciNet is funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation under the auspices of Compute Canada; the Government of Ontario; Ontario Research Fund—Research Excellence; and the University of Toronto. Some computations were performed in part using TeraGrid resources provided by NCSA’s Ranger cluster under grant no TG-PHY990007N.
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Sherman Fairchild FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Brinson FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Classification Code:PACS: 04.25.dg, 04.30.−w, 97.60.Lf, 04.25.Nx, 95.30.Sf. MSC: 83C57, 83C35
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20120313-115953201
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Official Citation:High-accuracy gravitational waveforms for binary black hole mergers with nearly extremal spins Geoffrey Lovelace et al 2012 Class. Quantum Grav. 29 045003
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:29703
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:13 Mar 2012 23:00
Last Modified:23 Aug 2016 10:10

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