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Journal Article

Measuring the eccentricity of GW170817 and GW190425


Nitz,  Alexander H.
Observational Relativity and Cosmology, AEI-Hannover, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Lenon, A. K., Nitz, A. H., & Brown, D. A. (2020). Measuring the eccentricity of GW170817 and GW190425. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 497(2), 1966-1971. doi:10.1093/mnras/staa2120.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0006-A2AD-0
Two binary neutron star mergers, GW170817 and GW190425, have been detected by Advanced LIGO and Virgo. These signals were detected by matched-filter searches that assume the star's orbit has circularized by the time their gravitational-wave emission is observable. This suggests that their eccentricity is low, but a direct measurement of their eccentricity has not yet been made. We use gravitational-wave observations to measure the eccentricity of GW170817 and GW190425. We find that the eccentricity at a gravitational-wave frequency of 10 Hz is $e \leq 0.024$ and $e \leq 0.048$ for GW170817 and GW190425, respectively (90\% confidence). This is consistent with the binaries being formed in the field, as such systems are expected to have circularized to $e \leq 10^{-4}$ by the time they reach the LIGO-Virgo band. Our constraint is a factor of two smaller that an estimate based on GW170817 being detected by searches that neglect eccentricity. We note that other techniques used to constrain binary neutron star eccentricity without full parameter estimation may miss degeneracies in the waveform, and that for future signals it will be important to perform full parameter estimation with accurate waveform templates.