University of Cambridge > > DAMTP Friday GR Seminar > Distinguishing high-mass binary neutron stars from binary black holes with gravitational waves

Distinguishing high-mass binary neutron stars from binary black holes with gravitational waves

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Nathan Johnson-McDaniel.

The current gravitational-wave (GW) observatories have detected tens of binary black hole (BBH) and several binary neutron star (BNS) merger events in the past few years. While the GW signal of the first BNS merger GW170817 was accompanied by a variety of electromagnetic (EM) counterparts, sufficiently high-mass BNS mergers are expected to be unable to power bright EM counterparts. The putative high-mass BNS merger GW190425 , for which no confirmed EM counterpart has been identified, may be an example of such a system. In addition, primordial black holes may have the same masses as neutron stars. Hence it is important to understand how well we will be able to distinguish high-mass BNSs and low-mass BBHs solely from their GW signals. To do this, we consider the imprint of the tidal deformability of the neutron stars on the GW signal. We simulate a set of BNS signals with different total masses and equations of state, as well as the analogous BBH signals. We perform Bayesian parameter estimation on these signals in three kinds of current and future GW observatory networks. Our analysis suggests that we cannot distinguish high-mass BNSs from BBHs with the current O3 network at a high credible level, but we can distinguish them at a high credible level using the O4 network, and even higher for the third-generation network.

This talk is part of the DAMTP Friday GR Seminar series.

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