Sources of systematic error in gravitational-wave measurements of the binary neutron star mass distribution

Kavli Affiliate: Salvatore Vitale

| First 5 Authors: Sylvia Biscoveanu, Colm Talbot, Salvatore Vitale, ,

| Summary:

The binary neutron star (BNS) mass distribution measured with
gravitational-wave observations has the potential to reveal information about
the dense matter equation of state, supernova physics, the expansion rate of
the universe, and tests of General Relativity. As most current
gravitational-wave analyses measuring the BNS mass distribution do not
simultaneously fit the spin distribution, the implied population-level spin
distribution is the same as the spin prior applied when analyzing individual
sources. In this work, we demonstrate that introducing a mismatch between the
implied and true BNS spin distributions can lead to biases in the inferred mass
distribution. This is due to the strong correlations between the measurements
of the mass ratio and spin components aligned with the orbital angular momentum
for individual sources. We find that applying a low-spin prior which excludes
the true spin magnitudes of some sources in the population leads to
significantly overestimating the maximum neutron star mass and underestimating
the minimum neutron star mass at the population level with as few as six BNS
detections. The safest choice of spin prior that does not lead to biases in the
inferred mass distribution is one which allows for high spin magnitudes and
tilts misaligned with the orbital angular momentum.

| Search Query: ArXiv Query: search_query=au:”Salvatore Vitale”&id_list=&start=0&max_results=10

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