Davide Gerosa

Gravitational-wave population inference at past time infinity

Great Scott, a new paper! When analyzing gravitational-wave data, looking at one black hole at a time is not enough anymore, the fun part is looking at them all together. The issue Matt and I are tackling here is that one needs to be consistent with putting together different events when fitting the entire population. This is obvious for things that do not change (say the masses of the black holes, those are what they are), but becomes a very tricky business for varying quantities (say the spin directions, which is what we look at here). In that case, it’s dangerous to put together events taken at different stages of their evolution. And the solution to this problem is…. time travel! We show that but propagating binaries backward in time, one can put all sources on the same footing. After that, estimating the impact of the detector requires traveling forward in time, so going “back to the future”. After all, we all know that post-Newtonian black-hole binary integrations look like this:

Matthew Mould, Davide Gerosa.
Physical Review D 105 (2022) 024076.
arXiv:2110.05507 [astro-ph.HE].

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