Source redshifts from gravitational-wave observations of binary neutron star mergers

C. Messenger, Kentaro Takami, Sarah Gossan, Luciano Rezzolla, B. S. Sathyaprakash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Inspiraling compact binaries as standard sirens will become an invaluable tool for cosmology when we enter the gravitational-wave detection era. However, a degeneracy in the information carried by gravitational waves between the total rest-frame massM and the redshift z of the source implies that neither can be directly extracted from the signal; only the combination M(1+Z), the redshifted mass, can be directly extracted from the signal. Recent work has shown that for third-generation detectors, a tidal correction to the gravitational-wave phase in the late-inspiral signal of binary neutron star systems can be used to break the mass-redshift degeneracy. Here, we propose to use the signature encoded in the postmerger signal allowing the accurate extraction of the intrinsic rest-frame mass of the source, in turn permitting the determination of source redshift and luminosity distance. The entirety of this analysis method and any subsequent cosmological inference derived from it would be obtained solely from gravitational-wave observations and, hence, would be independent of the cosmological distance ladder. Using numerical simulations of binary neutron star mergers of different mass, we model gravitational-wave signals at different redshifts and use a Bayesian parameter estimation to determine the accuracy with which the redshift and mass can be extracted. We find that for a known illustrative neutron star equation of state and using the Einstein telescope, the median of the 1σ confidence regions in redshift corresponds to ~10%-20% uncertainties at redshifts of z < 0.04.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number041004
JournalPhysical Review X
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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