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Investigating the effect of in-plane spin directions for precessing binary black hole systems

Kalaghatgi, Chinmay and Hannam, Mark 2021. Investigating the effect of in-plane spin directions for precessing binary black hole systems. Physical Review D 103 (2) , 024024. 10.1103/PhysRevD.103.024024

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Abstract

In gravitational-wave observations of binary black holes (BBHs), theoretical waveform models are used to infer the black-hole properties. There are several sources of potential systematic errors in these measurements, including due to physical approximations in the models. One standard approximation is to neglect a small asymmetry between the +m and −m spherical-harmonic modes; this is the effect that leads to emission of linear momentum perpendicular to the orbital plane, and can result in large recoils of the final black hole. The asymmetry is determined by both the magnitude and direction of the spin components that lie in the orbital plane. We investigate the validity of this approximation by comparing numerical relativity (NR) simulations of single-spin NR systems with varying in-plane spin directions and magnitudes (including several “superkick” configurations). We find that the mode asymmetry will impact measurements at signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) between 15 and 80, which is well within current observations. In particular, mode asymmetries are likely to impact measurements at comparable SNRs to those at which we might hope to make the first unambiguous measurements of orbital precession. We therefore expect that models will need to include mode-asymmetry effects to make unbiased precession measurements.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Publisher: American Physical Society
ISSN: 2470-0010
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 21 January 2021
Date of Acceptance: 15 December 2020
Last Modified: 22 Jan 2021 14:30
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/137856

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