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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. doi:10.1103/physrevd.98.044028.

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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 Paper
Chatziioannou, Katerina0000-0002-5833-413X
Lovelace, Geoffrey0000-0002-7084-1070
Boyle, Michael0000-0002-5075-5116
Giesler, Matthew0000-0003-2300-893X
Kidder, Lawrence E.0000-0001-5392-7342
Pfeiffer, Harald P.0000-0001-9288-519X
Scheel, Mark A.0000-0001-6656-9134
Szilágyi, Béla0000-0001-7744-6180
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).
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Sherman Fairchild FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20180821-133244897
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:88988
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:21 Aug 2018 20:58
Last Modified:02 Sep 2021 21:24

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