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Measuring the properties of nearly extremal black holes with gravitational waves

Chatziioannou, Katerina and Lovelace, Geoffrey and Boyle, Michael and Giesler, Matthew and Hemberger, Daniel A. and Katebi, Reza and Kidder, Lawrence E. and Pfeiffer, Harald P. and Scheel, Mark A. and Szilágyi, Béla (2018) Measuring the properties of nearly extremal black holes with gravitational waves. Physical Review D, 98 (4). Art. No. 044028. ISSN 2470-0010. http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20180821-133244897

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Abstract

Characterizing the properties of black holes is one of the most important science objectives for gravitational-wave observations. Astrophysical evidence suggests that black holes that are nearly extremal (i.e., spins near the theoretical upper limit) might exist and, thus, might be among the merging black holes observed with gravitational waves. In this paper, we explore how well current gravitational wave parameter estimation methods can measure the spins of rapidly spinning black holes in binaries. We simulate gravitational-wave signals using numerical-relativity waveforms for nearly-extremal, merging black holes. For simplicity, we confine our attention to binaries with spins parallel or antiparallel with the orbital angular momentum. We find that recovering the holes’ nearly extremal spins is challenging. When the spins are nearly extremal and parallel to each other, the resulting parameter estimates do recover spins that are large, though the recovered spin magnitudes are still significantly smaller than the true spin magnitudes. When the spins are nearly extremal and antiparallel to each other, the resulting parameter estimates recover the small effective spin but incorrectly estimate the individual spins as nearly zero. We study the effect of spin priors and argue that a commonly used prior (uniform in spin magnitude and direction) hinders unbiased recovery of large black-hole spins.


Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
https://doi.org/10.1103/physrevd.98.044028DOIArticle
https://arxiv.org/abs/1804.03704arXivDiscussion Paper
ORCID:
AuthorORCID
Pfeiffer, Harald P.0000-0001-9288-519X
Additional Information:© 2018 American Physical Society. Received 10 April 2018; published 21 August 2018. We are pleased to thank Sebastian Khan and Jacob Lange for useful discussions on producing simulated GW signals with NR data. We would also like to thank Joshua Smith and Jocelyn Read for helpful discussions and Leo Stein and Juan Calderon Bustillo for comments on the manuscript. This work was supported in part by National Science Foundation (NSF) Grants No. PHY-1606522 and No. PHY-1654359 to Cal State Fullerton. We gratefully acknowledge support for this research from NSF Grants No. PHY-1404569, No. PHY-1708212, and No. PHY-1708213 and the Sherman Fairchild Foundation (at Caltech) and from NSF Grant No. PHY-1606654 and the Sherman Fairchild Foundation (at Cornell).
Group:TAPIR
Funders:
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSFPHY-1606522
NSFPHY-1654359
NSFPHY-1404569
NSFPHY-1708212
NSFPHY-1708213
Sherman Fairchild FoundationUNSPECIFIED
NSFPHY-1606654
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20180821-133244897
Persistent URL:http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20180821-133244897
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:88988
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:21 Aug 2018 20:58
Last Modified:21 Aug 2018 20:58

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