skip to main content

Title: Localization of binary black hole mergers with known inclination
ABSTRACT The localization of stellar-mass binary black hole mergers using gravitational waves is critical in understanding the properties of the binaries’ host galaxies, observing possible electromagnetic emission from the mergers, or using them as a cosmological distance ladder. The precision of this localization can be substantially increased with prior astrophysical information about the binary system. In particular, constraining the inclination of the binary can reduce the distance uncertainty of the source. Here, we present the first realistic set of localizations for binary black hole mergers, including different prior constraints on the binaries’ inclinations. We find that prior information on the inclination can reduce the localization volume by a factor of 3. We discuss two astrophysical scenarios of interest: (i) follow-up searches for beamed electromagnetic/neutrino counterparts and (ii) mergers in the accretion discs of active galactic nuclei.
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1715661 1708028
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
4459 to 4463
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract Pulsar timing array (PTA) experiments are becoming increasingly sensitive to gravitational waves (GWs) in the nanohertz frequency range, where the main astrophysical sources are supermassive black hole binaries (SMBHBs), which are expected to form following galaxy mergers. Some of these individual SMBHBs may power active galactic nuclei, and thus their binary parameters could be obtained electromagnetically, which makes it possible to apply electromagnetic (EM) information to aid the search for a GW signal in PTA data. In this work, we investigate the effects of such an EM-informed search on binary detection and parameter estimation by performing mock data analyses on simulated PTA data sets. We find that by applying EM priors, the Bayes factor of some injected signals with originally marginal or sub-threshold detectability (i.e., Bayes factor ∼1) can increase by a factor of a few to an order of magnitude, and thus an EM-informed targeted search is able to find hints of a signal when an uninformed search fails to find any. Additionally, by combining EM and GW data, one can achieve an overall improvement in parameter estimation, regardless of the source’s sky location or GW frequency. We discuss the implications for the multi-messenger studies of SMBHBs withmore »PTAs.« less
  2. Abstract We present our current best estimate of the plausible observing scenarios for the Advanced LIGO, Advanced Virgo and KAGRA gravitational-wave detectors over the next several years, with the intention of providing information to facilitate planning for multi-messenger astronomy with gravitational waves. We estimate the sensitivity of the network to transient gravitational-wave signals for the third (O3), fourth (O4) and fifth observing (O5) runs, including the planned upgrades of the Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo detectors. We study the capability of the network to determine the sky location of the source for gravitational-wave signals from the inspiral of binary systems of compact objects, that is binary neutron star, neutron star–black hole, and binary black hole systems. The ability to localize the sources is given as a sky-area probability, luminosity distance, and comoving volume. The median sky localization area (90% credible region) is expected to be a few hundreds of square degrees for all types of binary systems during O3 with the Advanced LIGO and Virgo (HLV) network. The median sky localization area will improve to a few tens of square degrees during O4 with the Advanced LIGO, Virgo, and KAGRA (HLVK) network. During O3, the median localization volume (90% crediblemore »region) is expected to be on the order of $$10^{5}, 10^{6}, 10^{7}\mathrm {\ Mpc}^3$$ 10 5 , 10 6 , 10 7 Mpc 3 for binary neutron star, neutron star–black hole, and binary black hole systems, respectively. The localization volume in O4 is expected to be about a factor two smaller than in O3. We predict a detection count of $$1^{+12}_{-1}$$ 1 - 1 + 12 ( $$10^{+52}_{-10}$$ 10 - 10 + 52 ) for binary neutron star mergers, of $$0^{+19}_{-0}$$ 0 - 0 + 19 ( $$1^{+91}_{-1}$$ 1 - 1 + 91 ) for neutron star–black hole mergers, and $$17^{+22}_{-11}$$ 17 - 11 + 22 ( $$79^{+89}_{-44}$$ 79 - 44 + 89 ) for binary black hole mergers in a one-calendar-year observing run of the HLV network during O3 (HLVK network during O4). We evaluate sensitivity and localization expectations for unmodeled signal searches, including the search for intermediate mass black hole binary mergers.« less

    Supermassive black hole binaries (SMBHBs) are a natural outcome of galaxy mergers and should form frequently in galactic nuclei. Sub-parsec binaries can be identified from their bright electromagnetic emission, e.g. Active Galactic Nuclei (AGNs) with Doppler shifted broad emission lines or AGN with periodic variability, as well as from the emission of strong gravitational radiation. The most massive binaries (with total mass >108M⊙) emit in the nanohertz band and are targeted by Pulsar Timing Arrays (PTAs). Here we examine the synergy between electromagnetic and gravitational wave signatures of SMBHBs. We connect both signals to the orbital dynamics of the binary and examine the common link between them, laying the foundation for joint multimessenger observations. We find that periodic variability arising from relativistic Doppler boost is the most promising electromagnetic signature to connect with GWs. We delineate the parameter space (binary total mass/chirp mass versus binary period/GW frequency) for which joint observations are feasible. Currently multimessenger detections are possible only for the most massive and nearby galaxies, limited by the sensitivity of PTAs. However, we demonstrate that as PTAs collect more data in the upcoming years, the overlapping parameter space is expected to expand significantly.

  4. Abstract GW190814 was a compact object binary coalescence detected in gravitational waves by Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo that garnered exceptional community interest due to its excellent localization and the uncertain nature of the binary’s lighter-mass component (either the heaviest known neutron star, or the lightest known black hole). Despite extensive follow-up observations, no electromagnetic counterpart has been identified. Here, we present new radio observations of 75 galaxies within the localization volume at Δ t ≈ 35–266 days post-merger. Our observations cover ∼32% of the total stellar luminosity in the final localization volume and extend to later timescales than previously reported searches, allowing us to place the deepest constraints to date on the existence of a radio afterglow from a highly off-axis relativistic jet launched during the merger (assuming that the merger occurred within the observed area). For a viewing angle of ∼46° (the best-fit binary inclination derived from the gravitational wave signal) and assumed electron and magnetic field energy fractions of ϵ e = 0.1 and ϵ B = 0.01, we can rule out a typical short gamma-ray burst-like Gaussian jet with an opening angle of 15° and isotropic-equivalent kinetic energy 2 × 10 51 erg propagating into amore »constant-density medium n ≳ 0.1 cm −3 . These are the first limits resulting from a galaxy-targeted search for a radio counterpart to a gravitational wave event, and we discuss the challenges—and possible advantages—of applying similar search strategies to future events using current and upcoming radio facilities.« less
  5. Abstract When galaxies merge, the supermassive black holes in their centers may form binaries and emit low-frequency gravitational radiation in the process. In this paper, we consider the galaxy 3C 66B, which was used as the target of the first multimessenger search for gravitational waves. Due to the observed periodicities present in the photometric and astrometric data of the source, it has been theorized to contain a supermassive black hole binary. Its apparent 1.05-year orbital period would place the gravitational-wave emission directly in the pulsar timing band. Since the first pulsar timing array study of 3C 66B, revised models of the source have been published, and timing array sensitivities and techniques have improved dramatically. With these advances, we further constrain the chirp mass of the potential supermassive black hole binary in 3C 66B to less than (1.65 ± 0.02) × 10 9   M ⊙ using data from the NANOGrav 11-year data set. This upper limit provides a factor of 1.6 improvement over previous limits and a factor of 4.3 over the first search done. Nevertheless, the most recent orbital model for the source is still consistent with our limit from pulsar timing array data. In addition, we are able to quantify the improvementmore »made by the inclusion of source properties gleaned from electromagnetic data over “blind” pulsar timing array searches. With these methods, it is apparent that it is not necessary to obtain exact a priori knowledge of the period of a binary to gain meaningful astrophysical inferences.« less