LIGO Document G1601645-v1

Halston Lim: The Effect of Orbital Eccentricity on Gravitational Waveforms from Binary Black Hole Simulations

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By the time the orbit of an astrophysical compact binary is small enough so that its radiation is detectable by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), the binary is expected to be nearly circular, because gravitational wave emission tends to circularize elliptical orbits. To model such events, waveforms calculated from numerical relativity simulations should also derive from circular binaries. However, solving the full set of Einsteinís equations for the initial data corresponding to a quasi-circular orbit requires an approximate iterative eccentricity-reduction scheme, which results in a final eccentricity on the order of 10^-4. We investigate the effects of small orbital eccentricity on the gravitational wave output of binary black hole simulations and estimate how small an orbital eccentricity is required in order to be indistinguishable from zero eccentricity for the purposes of LIGO data analysis. This limiting eccentricity will in general depend on parameters such as masses and spins of the black holes, and the number of orbits in the numerical relativity simulation.
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