LIGO Document P1400232-v4
- Advanced ground-based gravitational-wave (GW) detectors shall begin operation imminently. Their intended goal is not only to make the first direct detection of GWs, but also to make inferences about the source systems. Binary neutron-star mergers are among the most promising sources. We investigate the performance of the parameter-estimation pipeline that will be used during the first observing run of the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (aLIGO) in 2015: we concentrate on the ability to reconstruct the source location on the sky, but also consider the ability to measure masses and the distance. Accurate, rapid sky-localization is necessary to alert electromagnetic (EM) observatories so that they can perform follow-up searches for counterpart transient events. We consider parameter-estimation accuracy in the presence of realistic, non-Gaussian noise. We find that the character of the noise makes negligible difference to the parameter-estimation performance. The source luminosity distance can only be poorly constrained, the median 90% (50%) credible interval scaled with respect to the true distance is 0.85 (0.38). However, the chirp mass is well measured. Our chirp-mass estimates are subject to systematic error because we used gravitational-waveform templates without component spin to carry out inference on signals with moderate spins, but the total error is typically less than 0.001 solar masses. The median 90% (50%) confidence region is ~600 deg^2 (~150 deg^2), with 3% (30%) of detected events localized within 100 deg^2. Early aLIGO, with only two detectors, will have a sky-localization accuracy for binary neutron stars of hundreds of square degrees; this makes EM follow-up challenging, but not impossible.
- Manuscript (recoloured_sky_localization.pdf, 1.6 MB)
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