Basic parameter estimation of binary neutron star systems by the advanced ligo/virgo network

Carl L. Rodriguez, Benjamin Farr, Vivien Raymond, Will M. Farr, Tyson B. Littenberg, Diego Fazi, Vicky Kalogera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Within the next five years, it is expected that the Advanced LIGO/Virgo network will have reached a sensitivity sufficient to enable the routine detection of gravitational waves. Beyond the initial detection, the scientific promise of these instruments relies on the effectiveness of our physical parameter estimation capabilities. A major part of this effort has been toward the detection and characterization of gravitational waves from compact binary coalescence, e.g., the coalescence of binary neutron stars. While several previous studies have investigated the accuracy of parameter estimation with advanced detectors, the majority have relied on approximation techniques such as the Fisher Matrix which are insensitive to the non-Gaussian nature of the gravitational wave posterior distribution function. Here we report average statistical uncertainties that will be achievable for strong detection candidates (S/N = 20) over a comprehensive sample of source parameters. We use the Markov Chain Monte Carlo based parameter estimation software developed by the LIGO/Virgo Collaboration with the goal of updating the previously quoted Fisher Matrix bounds. We find the recovery of the individual masses to be fractionally within 9% (15%) at the 68% (95%) credible intervals for equal-mass systems, and within 1.9% (3.7%) for unequal-mass systems. We also find that the Advanced LIGO/Virgo network will constrain the locations of binary neutron star mergers to a median uncertainty of 5.1 deg2 (13.5 deg2) on the sky. This region is improved to 2.3 deg2 (6 deg2) with the addition of the proposed LIGO India detector to the network. We also report the average uncertainties on the luminosity distances and orbital inclinations of strong detections that can be achieved by different network configurations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number119
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2014


  • gravitational waves
  • stars: neutron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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