skip to main content

Title: Constraints on r-modes and Mountains on Millisecond Neutron Stars in Binary Systems
Abstract Continuous gravitational waves are nearly monochromatic signals emitted by asymmetries in rotating neutron stars. These signals have not yet been detected. Deep all-sky searches for continuous gravitational waves from isolated neutron stars require significant computational expense. Deep searches for neutron stars in binary systems are even more expensive, but these targets are potentially more promising emitters, especially in the hundreds of Hertz region, where ground-based gravitational-wave detectors are most sensitive. We present here an all-sky search for continuous signals with frequency between 300 and 500 Hz, from neutron stars in binary systems with orbital periods between 15 and 60 days and projected semimajor axes between 10 and 40 lt-s. This is the only binary search on Advanced LIGO data that probes this frequency range. Compared to previous results, our search is over an order of magnitude more sensitive. We do not detect any signals, but our results exclude plausible and unexplored neutron star configurations, for example, neutron stars with relative deformations greater than 3 × 10 −6 within 1 kpc from Earth and r -mode emission at the level of α ∼ a few 10 −4 within the same distance.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal Letters
Page Range / eLocation ID:
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this

    Rotating neutron stars (NSs) are promising sources of gravitational waves (GWs) in the frequency band of ground-based detectors. They are expected to emit quasi-monochromatic, long-duration GW signals, called continuous waves (CWs), due to their deviations from spherical symmetry. The degree of such deformations, and hence the information about the internal structure of an NS, is encoded in a dimension-less parameter ε called ellipticity. Searches for CW signals from isolated Galactic NSs have shown to be sensitive to ellipticities as low as $\varepsilon \sim \mathcal {O}(10^{-9})$. These searches are optimal for detecting and characterizing GWs from individual NSs, but they are not designed to measure the properties of NSs as population, such as the average ellipticity εav. These ensemble properties can be determined by the measurement of the stochastic gravitational-wave background (SGWB) arising from the superposition of GW signals from individually undetectable NSs. In this work, we perform a cross-correlation search for such a SGWB using the data from the first three observation runs of Advanced LIGO and Virgo. Finding no evidence for an SGWB signal, we set upper limits on the dimension-less energy density parameter Ωgw(f). Using these results, we also constrain the average ellipticity of Galactic NSs and five NS ‘hotspots’, as a function of the number of NSs emitting GWs within the frequency band of the search Nband. We find $\varepsilon _{\mathrm{av}} \lesssim 1.8 \times 10^{-8}$, with Nband = 1.6 × 107, for Galactic NSs, and $\varepsilon _{\mathrm{av}} \lesssim [3.5-11.8]\times 10^{-7}$, with Nband = 1.6 × 1010, for NS hotspots.

    more » « 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% credible 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. 
    more » « less
  3. Abstract Isolated neutron stars that are asymmetric with respect to their spin axis are possible sources of detectable continuous gravitational waves. This paper presents a fully coherent search for such signals from eighteen pulsars in data from LIGO and Virgo’s third observing run (O3). For known pulsars, efficient and sensitive matched-filter searches can be carried out if one assumes the gravitational radiation is phase-locked to the electromagnetic emission. In the search presented here, we relax this assumption and allow both the frequency and the time derivative of the frequency of the gravitational waves to vary in a small range around those inferred from electromagnetic observations. We find no evidence for continuous gravitational waves, and set upper limits on the strain amplitude for each target. These limits are more constraining for seven of the targets than the spin-down limit defined by ascribing all rotational energy loss to gravitational radiation. In an additional search, we look in O3 data for long-duration (hours–months) transient gravitational waves in the aftermath of pulsar glitches for six targets with a total of nine glitches. We report two marginal outliers from this search, but find no clear evidence for such emission either. The resulting duration-dependent strain upper limits do not surpass indirect energy constraints for any of these targets. 
    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    Future searches for gravitational waves from space will be sensitive to double compact objects in our Milky Way. We present new simulations of the populations of double black holes (BHBHs), BH neutron stars (BHNSs), and double neutron stars (NSNSs) that will be detectable by the planned space-based gravitational-wave detector called Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA). For our estimates, we use an empirically informed model of the metallicity-dependent star formation history of the Milky Way. We populate it using an extensive suite of binary population-synthesis predictions for varying assumptions relating to mass transfer, common-envelope, supernova kicks, remnant masses, and wind mass-loss physics. For a 4(10) yr LISA mission, we predict between 30–370(50–550) detections over these variations, out of which 6–154 (9–238) are BHBHs, 2–198 (3–289) are BHNSs, and 3–35 (4–57) are NSNSs. We expect that about 50% (60%) can be distinguished from double white dwarf sources based on their mass or eccentricity and localization. Specifically, for about 10% (15%), we expect to be able to determine chirp masses better than 10%. For 13% (13%), we expect sky-localizations better than 1°. We discuss how the variations in the physics assumptions alter the distribution of properties of the detectable systems, even when the detection rates are unchanged. We further discuss the possibility of multimessenger observations of pulsar populations with the Square Kilometre Array and assess the benefits of extending the LISA mission.

    more » « less
  5. Abstract Evidence for a low-frequency stochastic gravitational-wave background has recently been reported based on analyses of pulsar timing array data. The most likely source of such a background is a population of supermassive black hole binaries, the loudest of which may be individually detected in these data sets. Here we present the search for individual supermassive black hole binaries in the NANOGrav 15 yr data set. We introduce several new techniques, which enhance the efficiency and modeling accuracy of the analysis. The search uncovered weak evidence for two candidate signals, one with a gravitational-wave frequency of ∼4 nHz, and another at ∼170 nHz. The significance of the low-frequency candidate was greatly diminished when Hellings–Downs correlations were included in the background model. The high-frequency candidate was discounted due to the lack of a plausible host galaxy, the unlikely astrophysical prior odds of finding such a source, and since most of its support comes from a single pulsar with a commensurate binary period. Finding no compelling evidence for signals from individual binary systems, we place upper limits on the strain amplitude of gravitational waves emitted by such systems. At our most sensitive frequency of 6 nHz, we place a sky-averaged 95% upper limit of 8 × 10 −15 on the strain amplitude. We also calculate an exclusion volume and a corresponding effective radius, within which we can rule out the presence of black hole binaries emitting at a given frequency. 
    more » « less