Distinguishing compact binary population synthesis models using gravitational wave observations of coalescing binary black holes.
STEVENSON S., OHME F. and FAIRHURST S.
Abstract (from CDS):
The coalescence of compact binaries containing neutron stars or black holes is one of the most promising signals for advanced ground-based laser interferometer gravitational-wave (GW) detectors, with the first direct detections expected over the next few years. The rate of binary coalescences and the distribution of component masses is highly uncertain, and population synthesis models predict a wide range of plausible values. Poorly constrained parameters in population synthesis models correspond to poorly understood astrophysics at various stages in the evolution of massive binary stars, the progenitors of binary neutron star and binary black hole systems. These include effects such as supernova kick velocities, parameters governing the energetics of common envelope evolution and the strength of stellar winds. Observing multiple binary black hole systems through GWs will allow us to infer details of the astrophysical mechanisms that lead to their formation. Here we simulate GW observations from a series of population synthesis models including the effects of known selection biases, measurement errors and cosmology. We compare the predictions arising from different models and show that we will be able to distinguish between them with observations (or the lack of them) from the early runs of the advanced LIGO and Virgo detectors. This will allow us to narrow down the large parameter space for binary evolution models.
binaries: close - gravitational waves - methods: data analysis - stars: black holes