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Can we measure individual black-hole spins from gravitational-wave observations?

Pürrer, Michael, Hannam, Mark and Ohme, Frank 2016. Can we measure individual black-hole spins from gravitational-wave observations? Physical Review D 93 (8) , 084042. 10.1103/PhysRevD.93.084042

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Abstract

Measurements of black-hole spins from gravitational-wave observations of black-hole binaries with ground-based detectors are known to be hampered by partial degeneracies in the gravitational-wave phasing: between the two component spins, and between the spins and the binary’s mass ratio, at least for signals that are dominated by the binary’s inspiral. Through the merger and ringdown, however, a different set of degeneracies apply. This suggests the possibility that, if the inspiral, merger and ringdown are all within the sensitive frequency band of a detector, we may be able to break these degeneracies and more accurately measure both spins. In this work we investigate our ability to measure individual spins for nonprecessing binaries, for a range of configurations and signal strengths, and conclude that in general the spin of the larger black hole will be measurable (at best) with observations from Advanced LIGO and Virgo. This implies that in many applications waveform models parameterized by only one effective spin will be sufficient. Our work does not consider precessing binaries or subdominant harmonics, although we provide some arguments why we expect that these will not qualitatively change our conclusions.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Publisher: American Physical Society
ISSN: 2470-0010
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 21 April 2016
Date of Acceptance: 4 April 2016
Last Modified: 14 May 2019 12:55
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/89603

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