LIGO Document P1400196-v2

Numerical Simulations of Superkick Binary Black Holes

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Gravitational wave detection by LIGO depends on accurate waveform templates for comparison. The development of these templates is accomplished by numerical relativity simulations of events such as colliding black holes. Two black holes orbiting and merging, called a black hole binary, are described by seven independent parameters: the three components of spin for each black hole, and the ratio of their masses; the total mass of the system can be scaled out. Simulations can take weeks or months, and the possible cases are numerous, so a robust interpolation strategy is desired. We use the SpEC numerical relativity code to investigate cases where the masses are equal and the spins are anti-aligned and in the plane of the orbit, a situation called a Superkick, which results in unusually high radiated linear momentum. We aim to discover how significantly waveforms differ when starting conditions are slightly changed, and therefore how easily interpolation can be used between similar instances of this situation. We also describe improvements in algorithms used to specify the orbital eccentricity of binary black hole simulations.
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