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Predicting the LISA white dwarf binary population in the Milky Way with cosmological simulations

Lamberts, Astrid and Blunt, Sarah and Littenberg, Tyson B. and Garrison-Kimmel, Shea and Kupfer, Thomas and Sanderson, Robyn E. (2019) Predicting the LISA white dwarf binary population in the Milky Way with cosmological simulations. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 490 (4). pp. 5888-5903. ISSN 0035-8711.

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White dwarf binaries with orbital periods below 1 h will be the most numerous sources for the space-based gravitational wave detector Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA). Based on thousands of individually resolved systems, we will be able to constrain binary evolution and provide a new map of the Milky Way and its close surroundings. In this paper we predict the main properties of populations of different types of detached white dwarf binaries detected by LISA over time. For the first time, we combine a high-resolution cosmological simulation of a Milky Way-mass galaxy (taken from the FIRE project) with a binary population synthesis model for low- and intermediate-mass stars. Our Galaxy model therefore provides a cosmologically realistic star formation and metallicity history for the Galaxy and naturally produces its different components such as the thin and thick disc, the bulge, the stellar halo, and satellite galaxies and streams. Thanks to the simulation, we show how different Galactic components contribute differently to the gravitational wave signal, mostly due to their typical age and distance distributions. We find that the dominant LISA sources will be He–He double white dwarfs (DWDs) and He–CO DWDs with important contributions from the thick disc and bulge. The resulting sky map of the sources is different from previous models, with important consequences for the searches for electromagnetic counterparts and data analysis. We also emphasize that much of the science-enabling information regarding white dwarf binaries, such as the chirp mass and the sky localization, becomes increasingly rich with long observations, including an extended mission up to 8 yr.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Lamberts, Astrid0000-0001-8740-0127
Blunt, Sarah0000-0002-3199-2888
Garrison-Kimmel, Shea0000-0002-4655-8128
Kupfer, Thomas0000-0002-6540-1484
Sanderson, Robyn E.0000-0003-3939-3297
Additional Information:© 2019 The Author(s) Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model ( Accepted 2019 October 2. Received 2019 September 12; in original form 2019 June 28. Published: 10 October 2019. The authors would like to thank Katie Breivik, Silvia Toonen, and Valeriya Korol for many exchanges on formation channels of white dwarf binaries and Nelson Christensen and Neil Cornish for many insights on GW detections. Support for AL was provided by the Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, the Programme National Hautes Energies with funding from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), CEA, and CNES, and NASA ATP Grant #NNX14AH35G, and NSF Collaborative Research Grant #1715847 and CAREER grant #1455342. SB is supported by the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, grant #DGE1745303. TL acknowledges the support of NASA grant #NNH15ZDA001N and the NASA LISA Study Office. Support for SGK was provided by NSF Collaborative Research Grant #1715847 and CAREER grant #1455342, and NASA grants NNX15AT06G, JPL 1589742, and 17-ATP17-0214. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation through grant PHY 17-148958. Some of these computations have been done on the Mesocentre SIGAMM machine, hosted by the Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur as well as cluster ‘Wheeler’ hosted by Caltech.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Observatoire de la Côte d'AzurUNSPECIFIED
NSF Graduate Research FellowshipDGE-1745303
NSFPHY 17-148958
Programme National Hautes Energies (PNHE)UNSPECIFIED
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)UNSPECIFIED
Commissariat à l'énergie atomique (CEA)UNSPECIFIED
Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:gravitational waves – binaries: close –white dwarfs –Galaxy: stellar content
Issue or Number:4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190828-073102070
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Astrid Lamberts, Sarah Blunt, Tyson B Littenberg, Shea Garrison-Kimmel, Thomas Kupfer, Robyn E Sanderson, Predicting the LISA white dwarf binary population in the Milky Way with cosmological simulations, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 490, Issue 4, December 2019, Pages 5888–5903,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:98276
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:28 Aug 2019 16:22
Last Modified:09 Jan 2020 19:44

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