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Targeted numerical simulations of binary black holes for GW170104
By James Healy, Jacob Lange, Richard O'Shaughnessy, Carlos Lousto, Manuela Campanelli, Andrew Williamson, Yosef Zlochower, Juan Calderon Bustillo, James Clark, Christopher Evans, D. Ferguson, Sudarshan Ghonge, Karan Jani, Bhavesh Khamesra, Pablo Laguna, Deirdre M. Shoemaker, Alyssa Garcia, Michael Boyle, Daniel Hemberger, Lawrence Kidder, Prayush Kumar, Geoffrey Lovelace, Harald Pfeiffer, Mark Scheel, Saul Teukolsky
Published in Physical Review D 97, 064027 (Friday, March 23, 2018)


In response to LIGO's observation of GW170104, we performed a series of full numerical simulations of binary black holes, each designed to replicate likely realizations of its dynamics and radiation. These simulations have been performed at multiple resolutions and with two independent techniques to solve Einstein's equations. For the nonprecessing and precessing simulations, we demonstrate the two techniques agree mode by mode, at a precision substantially in excess of statistical uncertainties in current LIGO's observations. Conversely, we demonstrate our full numerical solutions contain information which is not accurately captured with the approximate phenomenological models commonly used to infer compact binary parameters. To quantify the impact of these differences on parameter inference for GW170104 specifically, we compare the predictions of our simulations and these approximate models to LIGO's observations of GW170104.