First constraints on compact binary environments from LIGO-Virgo data

Giada Caneva Santoro, Soumen Roy, Rodrigo Vicente, Maria Haney, Ornella Juliana Piccinni, Walter Del Pozzo, Mario Martinez
General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology, General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology (gr-qc), Astrophysics of Galaxies (astro-ph.GA)
LIGO DCC P2300301
2023-09-09 16:00:00
The LIGO-Virgo analysis of the signals from compact binary mergers observed so far have assumed in-vacuum isolated binary systems, neglecting the potential presence of astrophysical environments. Non-trivial environments may alter gravitational-wave emission, leaving imprints that can be observable via a characteristic dephasing of the emitted signal with respect to the vacuum scenario. We present here the first investigation of environmental effects on the events of the first gravitational-wave catalog (GWTC-1) by LIGO-Virgo. We include the effects of accretion and dynamical friction through a post-Newtonian deformation of the inspiral part of the waveform relative to the vacuum one. We find no evidence for the presence of environmental effects in GWTC-1. Most of the events decisively exclude the scenario of dynamical fragmentation of massive stars as their possible formation channel. Our analysis of GW170817 results in the upper bound on the medium density of $\lesssim 21\: \text{g/cm}^3$. We find that environmental effects can substantially bias the recovered parameters in the vacuum model, even when they are not detectable. Our results forecast that the future 2030s detectors Einstein Telescope and B-DECIGO will be able to probe the environmental effects of accretion disk and superradiant boson clouds on compact binaries.
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