A gravitational-wave standard siren measurement of the Hubble constant

T. D. Abbott, R. Birney, S. Jawahar, N. A. Lockerbie, S. Reid, K. V. Tokmakov, The LIGO Scientific Collaboration, The Virgo Collaboration, The 1M2H Collaboration, The Dark Energy Camera GW-EM Collaboration, The DES Collaboration, The DLT40 Collaboration, The Las Cumbres Observatory Collaboration, The VINROUGE Collaboration, The MASTER Collaboration

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

On 17 August 2017, the Advanced LIGO1 and Virgo2 detectors observed the gravitational-wave event GW170817—a strong signal from the merger of a binary neutron-star system. Less than two seconds after the merger, a γ-ray burst (GRB 170817A) was detected within a region of the sky consistent with the LIGO–Virgo-derived location of the gravitational-wave source. This sky region was subsequently observed by optical astronomy facilities7, resulting in the identification of an optical transient signal within about ten arcseconds of the galaxy NGC 4993. This detection of GW170817 in both gravitational waves and electromagnetic waves represents the first ‘multi-messenger’ astronomical observation. Such observations enable GW170817 to be used as a ‘standard siren’ (meaning that the absolute distance to the source can be determined directly from the gravitational-wave measurements) to measure the Hubble constant. This quantity represents the local expansion rate of the Universe, sets the overall scale of the Universe and is of fundamental importance to cosmology. Here we report a measurement of the Hubble constant that combines the distance to the source inferred purely from the gravitational-wave signal with the recession velocity inferred from measurements of the redshift using the electromagnetic data. In contrast to previous measurements, ours does not require the use of a cosmic ‘distance ladder’: the gravitational-wave analysis can be used to estimate the luminosity distance out to cosmological scales directly, without the use of intermediate astronomical distance measurements. We determine the Hubble constant to be about 70 kilometres per second per megaparsec. This value is consistent with existing measurements, while being completely independent of them. Additional standard siren measurements from future gravitational-wave sources will enable the Hubble constant to be constrained to high precision.
LanguageEnglish
Pages85–88
Number of pages4
JournalNature
Volume551
Early online date16 Oct 2017
DOIs
StatePublished - 2 Nov 2017

Fingerprint

sirens
Hubble constant
gravitational waves
sky
universe
recession
LIGO (observatory)
binary stars
astronomy
gamma ray bursts
ladders
neutron stars
cosmology
electromagnetic radiation
luminosity
electromagnetism
galaxies
expansion

Keywords

  • Hubble constant
  • gravitational waves
  • GW170817
  • GRB 170817A
  • neutron stars
  • y-ray burst
  • gravitational-wave sources

Cite this

Abbott, T. D. ; Birney, R. ; Jawahar, S. ; Lockerbie, N. A. ; Reid, S. ; Tokmakov, K. V. ; The LIGO Scientific Collaboration ; The Virgo Collaboration ; The 1M2H Collaboration ; The Dark Energy Camera GW-EM Collaboration ; The DES Collaboration ; The DLT40 Collaboration ; The Las Cumbres Observatory Collaboration ; The VINROUGE Collaboration ; The MASTER Collaboration. / A gravitational-wave standard siren measurement of the Hubble constant. In: Nature. 2017 ; Vol. 551. pp. 85–88
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abstract = "On 17 August 2017, the Advanced LIGO1 and Virgo2 detectors observed the gravitational-wave event GW170817—a strong signal from the merger of a binary neutron-star system. Less than two seconds after the merger, a γ-ray burst (GRB 170817A) was detected within a region of the sky consistent with the LIGO–Virgo-derived location of the gravitational-wave source. This sky region was subsequently observed by optical astronomy facilities7, resulting in the identification of an optical transient signal within about ten arcseconds of the galaxy NGC 4993. This detection of GW170817 in both gravitational waves and electromagnetic waves represents the first ‘multi-messenger’ astronomical observation. Such observations enable GW170817 to be used as a ‘standard siren’ (meaning that the absolute distance to the source can be determined directly from the gravitational-wave measurements) to measure the Hubble constant. This quantity represents the local expansion rate of the Universe, sets the overall scale of the Universe and is of fundamental importance to cosmology. Here we report a measurement of the Hubble constant that combines the distance to the source inferred purely from the gravitational-wave signal with the recession velocity inferred from measurements of the redshift using the electromagnetic data. In contrast to previous measurements, ours does not require the use of a cosmic ‘distance ladder’: the gravitational-wave analysis can be used to estimate the luminosity distance out to cosmological scales directly, without the use of intermediate astronomical distance measurements. We determine the Hubble constant to be about 70 kilometres per second per megaparsec. This value is consistent with existing measurements, while being completely independent of them. Additional standard siren measurements from future gravitational-wave sources will enable the Hubble constant to be constrained to high precision.",
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author = "Abbott, {T. D.} and R. Birney and S. Jawahar and Lockerbie, {N. A.} and S. Reid and Tokmakov, {K. V.} and {The LIGO Scientific Collaboration} and {The Virgo Collaboration} and {The 1M2H Collaboration} and {The Dark Energy Camera GW-EM Collaboration} and {The DES Collaboration} and {The DLT40 Collaboration} and {The Las Cumbres Observatory Collaboration} and {The VINROUGE Collaboration} and {The MASTER Collaboration}",
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Abbott, TD, Birney, R, Jawahar, S, Lockerbie, NA, Reid, S, Tokmakov, KV, The LIGO Scientific Collaboration, The Virgo Collaboration, The 1M2H Collaboration, The Dark Energy Camera GW-EM Collaboration, The DES Collaboration, The DLT40 Collaboration, The Las Cumbres Observatory Collaboration, The VINROUGE Collaboration & The MASTER Collaboration 2017, 'A gravitational-wave standard siren measurement of the Hubble constant' Nature, vol. 551, pp. 85–88. DOI: 10.1038/nature24471

A gravitational-wave standard siren measurement of the Hubble constant. / Abbott, T. D.; Birney, R.; Jawahar, S.; Lockerbie, N. A.; Reid, S.; Tokmakov, K. V.; The LIGO Scientific Collaboration; The Virgo Collaboration; The 1M2H Collaboration; The Dark Energy Camera GW-EM Collaboration; The DES Collaboration; The DLT40 Collaboration; The Las Cumbres Observatory Collaboration; The VINROUGE Collaboration; The MASTER Collaboration.

In: Nature, Vol. 551, 02.11.2017, p. 85–88.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - A gravitational-wave standard siren measurement of the Hubble constant

AU - Abbott,T. D.

AU - Birney,R.

AU - Jawahar,S.

AU - Lockerbie,N. A.

AU - Reid,S.

AU - Tokmakov,K. V.

AU - The LIGO Scientific Collaboration

AU - The Virgo Collaboration

AU - The 1M2H Collaboration

AU - The Dark Energy Camera GW-EM Collaboration

AU - The DES Collaboration

AU - The DLT40 Collaboration

AU - The Las Cumbres Observatory Collaboration

AU - The VINROUGE Collaboration

AU - The MASTER Collaboration

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N2 - On 17 August 2017, the Advanced LIGO1 and Virgo2 detectors observed the gravitational-wave event GW170817—a strong signal from the merger of a binary neutron-star system. Less than two seconds after the merger, a γ-ray burst (GRB 170817A) was detected within a region of the sky consistent with the LIGO–Virgo-derived location of the gravitational-wave source. This sky region was subsequently observed by optical astronomy facilities7, resulting in the identification of an optical transient signal within about ten arcseconds of the galaxy NGC 4993. This detection of GW170817 in both gravitational waves and electromagnetic waves represents the first ‘multi-messenger’ astronomical observation. Such observations enable GW170817 to be used as a ‘standard siren’ (meaning that the absolute distance to the source can be determined directly from the gravitational-wave measurements) to measure the Hubble constant. This quantity represents the local expansion rate of the Universe, sets the overall scale of the Universe and is of fundamental importance to cosmology. Here we report a measurement of the Hubble constant that combines the distance to the source inferred purely from the gravitational-wave signal with the recession velocity inferred from measurements of the redshift using the electromagnetic data. In contrast to previous measurements, ours does not require the use of a cosmic ‘distance ladder’: the gravitational-wave analysis can be used to estimate the luminosity distance out to cosmological scales directly, without the use of intermediate astronomical distance measurements. We determine the Hubble constant to be about 70 kilometres per second per megaparsec. This value is consistent with existing measurements, while being completely independent of them. Additional standard siren measurements from future gravitational-wave sources will enable the Hubble constant to be constrained to high precision.

AB - On 17 August 2017, the Advanced LIGO1 and Virgo2 detectors observed the gravitational-wave event GW170817—a strong signal from the merger of a binary neutron-star system. Less than two seconds after the merger, a γ-ray burst (GRB 170817A) was detected within a region of the sky consistent with the LIGO–Virgo-derived location of the gravitational-wave source. This sky region was subsequently observed by optical astronomy facilities7, resulting in the identification of an optical transient signal within about ten arcseconds of the galaxy NGC 4993. This detection of GW170817 in both gravitational waves and electromagnetic waves represents the first ‘multi-messenger’ astronomical observation. Such observations enable GW170817 to be used as a ‘standard siren’ (meaning that the absolute distance to the source can be determined directly from the gravitational-wave measurements) to measure the Hubble constant. This quantity represents the local expansion rate of the Universe, sets the overall scale of the Universe and is of fundamental importance to cosmology. Here we report a measurement of the Hubble constant that combines the distance to the source inferred purely from the gravitational-wave signal with the recession velocity inferred from measurements of the redshift using the electromagnetic data. In contrast to previous measurements, ours does not require the use of a cosmic ‘distance ladder’: the gravitational-wave analysis can be used to estimate the luminosity distance out to cosmological scales directly, without the use of intermediate astronomical distance measurements. We determine the Hubble constant to be about 70 kilometres per second per megaparsec. This value is consistent with existing measurements, while being completely independent of them. Additional standard siren measurements from future gravitational-wave sources will enable the Hubble constant to be constrained to high precision.

KW - Hubble constant

KW - gravitational waves

KW - GW170817

KW - GRB 170817A

KW - neutron stars

KW - y-ray burst

KW - gravitational-wave sources

U2 - 10.1038/nature24471

DO - 10.1038/nature24471

M3 - Article

VL - 551

SP - 85

EP - 88

JO - Nature

T2 - Nature

JF - Nature

SN - 0028-0836

ER -