University of Birmingham > Talks@bham > Astrophysics Talks Series > [Seminar:] Distinguishing black hole binaries' precessional morphologies with gravitational wave observations

[Seminar:] Distinguishing black hole binaries' precessional morphologies with gravitational wave observations

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  • UserKhun Sang Phukon, University of Birmingham
  • ClockWednesday 22 February 2023, 14:00-15:00
  • HousePhysics West 117.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Nathan Steinle.

The precession of the orbital plane and spins of components of a binary is a relativistic effect and this leaves rich structure in gravitational waves emitted by compact binaries. Using an effective potential with the post-Newtonian approximation to general relativity, the precessional motion of binary black holes can be described as a quasi-periodic function in time and classified into one of three morphologies, based on the evolution of the angle between the components of the spins in the orbital plane: Circulating, librating around 0, and librating around pi. These different morphologies can be related to the binary’s formation channel and are imprinted in the binary’s gravitational wave signal. We consider the prospects for distinguishing between the different morphologies using gravitational waves in the Advanced LIGO /Advanced Virgo network with their plus-era sensitivities. Here we consider fiducial high- and low-mass binaries and use Bayesian model selection to determine which morphology is preferred. We have implemented a fast calculation of the morphology, allowing us to restrict to a specific morphology in our stochastic sampling. We find that in some cases we have overwhelming evidence for the true morphology compared to at least one alternative morphology, but the ability to distinguish different morphologies depends sensitively on the binary’s parameters, particularly the spin angles.

This talk is part of the Astrophysics Talks Series series.

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