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Observations of the gravitational radiation from well-localized, inspiraling compact-object binaries can measure absolute source distances with high accuracy. When coupled with an independent determination of redshift through an electromagnetic counterpart, these standard sirens can provide an excellent probe of the expansion history of the Universe and the dark energy. Short γ-ray bursts, if produced by merging neutron star binaries, would be standard sirens with known redshifts detectable by ground-based gravitational wave (GW) networks such as Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO), Virgo, and Australian International Gravitational Observatory (AIGO). Depending upon the collimation of these GRBs, the measurement of about 10 GW-GRB events (corresponding to about 1 yr of observation with an advanced GW detector network and an all-sky GRB monitor) can measure the Hubble constant h to ~ 2–3%. When combined with measurement of the absolute distance to the last scattering surface of the cosmic microwave background, this determines the dark energy equation of state parameter w to ~9%. Similarly, supermassive binary black hole inspirals will be standard sirens detectable by Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA). Depending upon the precise redshift distribution, ~100 sources could measure w at the ~4% level.
Dalal, N., Holz, D. E., Hughes, S. A., & Jain, B. (2006). Short GRB and Binary Black Hole Standard Sirens as a Probe of Dark Energy. Retrieved from https://repository.upenn.edu/physics_papers/195
Date Posted: 14 July 2011
This document has been peer reviewed.