Statistical and systematic uncertainties in extracting the source properties of neutron star - black hole binaries with gravitational waves

16 Aug 2020  ·  Huang Yiwen, Haster Carl-Johan, Vitale Salvatore, Varma Vijay, Foucart Francois, Biscoveanu Sylvia ·

Gravitational waves emitted by neutron star black hole mergers encode key properties of neutron stars - such as their size, maximum mass and spins - and black holes. However, the presence of matter and the high mass ratio makes generating long and accurate waveforms from these systems hard to do with numerical relativity, and not much is known about systematic uncertainties due to waveform modeling... We simulate gravitational waves from neutron star black hole mergers by hybridizing numerical relativity waveforms produced with the SpEC code with a recent numerical relativity surrogate NRHybSur3dq8Tidal. These signals are analyzed using a range of available waveform families, and statistical and systematic errors are reported. We find that at a network signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of 30, statistical uncertainties are usually larger than systematic offsets, while at an SNR of 70 the two become comparable. The individual black hole and neutron star masses, as well as the mass ratios, are typically measured very precisely, though not always accurately at high SNR. At a SNR of 30 the neutron star tidal deformability can only be bound from above, while for louder sources it can be measured and constrained away from zero. All neutron stars in our simulations are non-spinning, but in no case we can constrain the neutron star spin to be smaller than $\sim0.4$ (90% credible interval). Waveform families whose late inspiral has been tuned specifically for neutron star black hole signals typically yield the most accurate characterization of the source parameters. Their measurements are in tension with those obtained using waveform families tuned against binary neutron stars, even for mass ratios that could be relevant for both binary neutron stars and neutron star black holes mergers. read more

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General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology