skip to main content


The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 10:00 PM ET on Friday, December 8 until 2:00 AM ET on Saturday, December 9 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Title: Cosmology with Gravitational Waves: A Review
Standard sirens have been the central paradigm in gravitational-wave cosmology so far. From the gravitational wave signature of compact star binaries, it is possible to measure the luminosity distance of the source directly, and if additional information on the source redshift is provided, a measurement of the cosmological expansion can be performed. This review article discusses several methodologies that have been proposed to use gravitational waves for cosmological studies. Methods that use only gravitational-wave signals and methods that use gravitational waves in conjunction with additional observations such as electromagnetic counterparts and galaxy catalogs will be discussed. The review also discusses the most recent results on gravitational-wave cosmology, starting from the binary neutron star merger GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart and finishing with the population of binary black holes, observed with the third Gravitational-wave Transient Catalog GWTC–3.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Annalen der Physik
Page Range / eLocation ID:
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this

    Neutron star–black hole (NSBH) mergers detected in gravitational waves have the potential to shed light on supernova physics, the dense matter equation of state, and the astrophysical processes that power their potential electromagnetic counterparts. We use the population of four candidate NSBH events detected in gravitational waves so far with a false alarm rate ≤1 yr−1 to constrain the mass and spin distributions and multimessenger prospects of these systems. We find that the black holes in NSBHs are both less massive and have smaller dimensionless spins than those in black hole binaries. We also find evidence for a mass gap between the most massive neutron stars and least massive black holes in NSBHs at 98.6-per cent credibility. Using an approach driven by gravitational-wave data rather than binary simulations, we find that fewer than 14 per cent of NSBH mergers detectable in gravitational waves will have an electromagnetic counterpart. While the inferred presence of a mass gap and fraction of sources with a counterpart depend on the event selection and prior knowledge of source classification, the conclusion that the black holes in NSBHs have lower masses and smaller spin parameters than those in black hole binaries is robust. Finally, we propose a method for the multimessenger analysis of NSBH mergers based on the non-detection of an electromagnetic counterpart and conclude that, even in the most optimistic case, the constraints on the neutron star equation of state that can be obtained with multimessenger NSBH detections are not competitive with those from gravitational-wave measurements of tides in binary neutron star mergers and radio and X-ray pulsar observations.

    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    Since the very first detection of gravitational waves from the coalescence of two black holes in 2015, Bayesian statistical methods have been routinely applied by LIGO and Virgo to extract the signal out of noisy interferometric measurements, obtain point estimates of the physical parameters responsible for producing the signal, and rigorously quantify their uncertainties. Different computational techniques have been devised depending on the source of the gravitational radiation and the gravitational waveform model used. Prominent sources of gravitational waves are binary black hole or neutron star mergers, the only objects that have been observed by detectors to date. But also gravitational waves from core‐collapse supernovae, rapidly rotating neutron stars, and the stochastic gravitational‐wave background are in the sensitivity band of the ground‐based interferometers and expected to be observable in future observation runs. As nonlinearities of the complex waveforms and the high‐dimensional parameter spaces preclude analytic evaluation of the posterior distribution, posterior inference for all these sources relies on computer‐intensive simulation techniques such as Markov chain Monte Carlo methods. A review of state‐of‐the‐art Bayesian statistical parameter estimation methods will be given for researchers in this cross‐disciplinary area of gravitational wave data analysis.

    This article is categorized under:

    Applications of Computational Statistics > Signal and Image Processing and Coding

    Statistical and Graphical Methods of Data Analysis > Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC)

    Statistical Models > Time Series Models

    more » « less

    GW170817 showed that neutron star mergers not only emit gravitational waves but also can release electromagnetic signatures in multiple wavelengths. Within the first half of the third observing run of the Advanced LIGO and Virgo detectors, there have been a number of gravitational wave candidates of compact binary systems for which at least one component is potentially a neutron star. In this article, we look at the candidates S190425z, S190426c, S190510g, S190901ap, and S190910h, predicted to have potentially a non-zero remnant mass, in more detail. All these triggers have been followed up with extensive campaigns by the astronomical community doing electromagnetic searches for their optical counterparts; however, according to the released classification, there is a high probability that some of these events might not be of extraterrestrial origin. Assuming that the triggers are caused by a compact binary coalescence and that the individual source locations have been covered during the EM follow-up campaigns, we employ three different kilonova models and apply them to derive possible constraints on the matter ejection consistent with the publicly available gravitational-wave trigger information and the lack of a kilonova detection. These upper bounds on the ejecta mass can be related to limits on the maximum mass of the binary neutron star candidate S190425z and to constraints on the mass-ratio, spin, and NS compactness for the potential black hole–neutron star candidate S190426c. Our results show that deeper electromagnetic observations for future gravitational wave events near the horizon limit of the advanced detectors are essential.

    more » « less
  4. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Joint multimessenger observations with gravitational waves and electromagnetic (EM) data offer new insights into the astrophysical studies of compact objects. The third Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo observing run began on 2019 April 1; during the 11 months of observation, there have been 14 compact binary systems candidates for which at least one component is potentially a neutron star. Although intensive follow-up campaigns involving tens of ground and space-based observatories searched for counterparts, no EM counterpart has been detected. Following on a previous study of the first six months of the campaign, we present in this paper the next five months of the campaign from 2019 October to 2020 March. We highlight two neutron star–black hole candidates (S191205ah and S200105ae), two binary neutron star candidates (S191213g and S200213t), and a binary merger with a possible neutron star and a ‘MassGap’ component, S200115j. Assuming that the gravitational-wave (GW) candidates are of astrophysical origin and their location was covered by optical telescopes, we derive possible constraints on the matter ejected during the events based on the non-detection of counterparts. We find that the follow-up observations during the second half of the third observing run did not meet the necessary sensitivity to constrain the source properties of the potential GW candidate. Consequently, we suggest that different strategies have to be used to allow a better usage of the available telescope time. We examine different choices for follow-up surveys to optimize sky localization coverage versus observational depth to understand the likelihood of counterpart detection. 
    more » « less
  5. Abstract In recent years, there have been significant advances in multimessenger astronomy due to the discovery of the first, and so far only confirmed, gravitational wave event with a simultaneous electromagnetic (EM) counterpart, as well as improvements in numerical simulations, gravitational wave (GW) detectors, and transient astronomy. This has led to the exciting possibility of performing joint analyses of the GW and EM data, providing additional constraints on fundamental properties of the binary progenitor and merger remnant. Here, we present a new Bayesian framework that allows inference of these properties, while taking into account the systematic modeling uncertainties that arise when mapping from GW binary progenitor properties to photometric light curves. We extend the relative binning method presented in Zackay et al. to include extrinsic GW parameters for fast analysis of the GW signal. The focus of our EM framework is on light curves arising from r -process nucleosynthesis in the ejected material during and after merger, the so-called kilonova, and particularly on black hole−neutron star systems. As a case study, we examine the recent detection of GW190425, where the primary object is consistent with being either a black hole or a neutron star. We show quantitatively how improved mapping between binary progenitor and outflow properties, and/or an increase in EM data quantity and quality are required in order to break degeneracies in the fundamental source parameters. 
    more » « less