Astrophysical calibration of gravitational-wave detectors

Pitkin, M. and Messenger, Christopher and Wright, L. (2016) Astrophysical calibration of gravitational-wave detectors. Physical Review D, 93 (6). ISSN 1550-7998

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We investigate a method to assess the validity of gravitational-wave detector calibration through the use of gamma-ray bursts as standard sirens. Such signals, as measured via gravitational-wave observations, provide an estimated luminosity distance that is subject to uncertainties in the calibration of the data. If a host galaxy is identified for a given source then its redshift can be combined with current knowledge of the cosmological parameters yielding the true luminosity distance. This will then allow a direct comparison with the estimated value and can validate the accuracy of the original calibration. We use simulations of individual detectable gravitational-wave signals from binary neutron star (BNS) or neutron star-black hole systems, which we assume to be found in coincidence with short gamma-ray bursts, to estimate any discrepancy in the overall scaling of the calibration for detectors in the Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo network. We find that the amplitude scaling of the calibration for the LIGO instruments could on average be confirmed to within ∼10% for a BNS source within 100 Mpc. This result is largely independent of the current detector calibration method and gives an uncertainty that is competitive with that expected in the current calibration procedure. Confirmation of the calibration accuracy to within ∼20% can be found with BNS sources out to ∼500 Mpc.

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Journal Article
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Physical Review D
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16 Jul 2019 13:50
Last Modified:
22 Sep 2023 00:40