Gravitational radiation, inspiraling binaries, and cosmology

David F. Chernoff, Lee Samuel Finn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


We show how to measure cosmological parameters using observations of inspiraling binary neutron star or black hole systems in one or more gravitational wave detectors. To illustrate, we focus on the case of fixed mass binary systems observed in a single Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO)-like detector. Using realistic detector noise estimates, we characterize the rate of detections as a function of a threshold signal-to-noise ratio ρ0, the Hubble constant H0, and the binary "chirp" mass. For ρ0 = 8, H0 = 100 km s-1 Mpc-1, and 1.4 M neutron star binaries, the sample has a median redshift of 0.22. Under the same assumptions but independent of H0, a conservative rate density of coalescing binaries (8 × 10-8 yr-1 Mpc-3) implies LIGO will observe ∼50 yr-1 binary inspiral events. The precision with which H0 and the deceleration parameter q0 may be determined depends on the number of observed inspirais. For fixed mass binary systems, ∼100 observations with ρ0 = 10 in the LIGO detector will give H0 to 10% in an Einstein-DeSitter cosmology, and 3000 will give q0 to 20%. For the conservative rate density of coalescing binaries, 100 detections with ρ0 = 10 will require about 4 yr.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L5-L8
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 PART 2
StatePublished - Jul 1 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Gravitational radiation, inspiraling binaries, and cosmology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this