LIGO Document P1600293-v2

Astrophysical Prior Information and Gravitational-wave Parameter Estimation

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P - Publications
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The detection of electromagnetic counterparts to gravitational waves has great promise for the investigation of many scientific questions. It has long been hoped that in addition to providing extra, non-gravitational information about the sources of these signals, the detection of an electromagnetic signal in conjunction with a gravitational wave could aid in the analysis of the gravitational signal itself. That is, knowledge of the sky location, inclination, and redshift of a binary could break degeneracies between these extrinsic, coordinate-dependent parameters and the physical parameters, such as mass and spin, that are intrinsic to the binary. In this paper, we investigate this issue by assuming a perfect knowledge of extrinsic parameters, and assessing the maximal impact of this knowledge on our ability to extract intrinsic parameters. However, we find only modest improvements in a few parameters --- namely the primary component's spin --- and conclude that, even in the best case, the use of additional information from electromagnetic observations does not improve the measurement of the intrinsic parameters significantly.
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