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Journal Article

Cosmological Inference using Gravitational Wave Standard Sirens: A Mock Data Challenge


Gair,  Jonathan
Astrophysical and Cosmological Relativity, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Gray, R., Hernandez, I. M., Qi, H., Sur, A., Brady, P. R., Chen, H.-Y., et al. (2020). Cosmological Inference using Gravitational Wave Standard Sirens: A Mock Data Challenge. Physical Review D: Particles, Fields, Gravitation, and Cosmology, 101(12): 122001. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.101.122001.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0004-CCA7-A
The observation of binary neutron star merger GW170817, along with its optical counterpart, provided the first constraint on the Hubble constant $H_0$ using gravitational wave standard sirens. When no counterpart is identified, a galaxy catalog can be used to provide complementary redshift information. However, the true host might not be contained in a catalog which is not complete out to the limit of gravitational-wave detectability. These electromagnetic and gravitational-wave selection effects must be accounted for. We describe and implement a method to estimate $H_0$ using both the counterpart and the galaxy catalog standard siren methods. We perform a series of mock data challenges using binary neutron star mergers to confirm our ability to recover an unbiased estimate of $H_0$. Our simulations used a simplified universe with no redshift uncertainties or galaxy clustering, but with different magnitude-limited catalogs and assumed host galaxy properties, to test our treatment of both selection effects. We explore how the incompleteness of catalogs affects the final measurement of $H_0$, as well as the effect of weighting each galaxy's likelihood of being a host by its luminosity. In our most realistic simulation, where the simulated catalog is about three times denser than the density of galaxies in the local universe, we find that a 4.4\% measurement precision can be reached using galaxy catalogs with 50\% completeness and 249 binary neutron star detections with sensitivity similar to that of Advanced LIGO's second observing run.