Low significance of evidence for black hole echoes in gravitational wave data

Julian Westerweck, Alex B. Nielsen, Ofek Fischer-Birnholtz, Miriam Cabero, Collin Capano, Thomas Dent, Badri Krishnan, Grant Meadors, Alexander H. Nitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent detections of merging black holes allow observational tests of the nature of these objects. In some proposed models, nontrivial structure at or near the black hole horizon could lead to echo signals in gravitational wave data. Recently, Abedi-Dykaar-Afshordi (ADA) claimed tentative evidence for repeating damped echo signals following the gravitational-wave signals of the binary black hole merger events recorded in the first observational period of the Advanced LIGO interferometers. We reanalyze the same data, addressing some of the shortcomings of their method using more background data and a modified procedure. We find a reduced statistical significance for the claims of evidence for echoes, calculating increased p-values for the null hypothesis of echo-free noise. The reduced significance is entirely consistent with noise, and so we conclude that the analysis of Abedi et al. does not provide any observational evidence for the existence of Planck-scale structure at black hole horizons.

Original languageEnglish
Article number124037
JournalPhysical Review D
Volume97
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 American Physical Society.

Funding

The authors thank Andrew Lundgren, Laura Nuttall, Vitor Cardoso, and the authors of [20–22] , for useful discussions, as well as Bruce Allen for helpful comments. Some of the discussions particularly enjoyed the hospitality of meetings at Nikhef and at the Perimeter Institute. This research has made use of data, software and/or web tools obtained from the LIGO Open Science Center ( https://losc.ligo.org ), a service of LIGO Laboratory and the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. LIGO is funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). O. B. acknowledges the NSF for financial support from Grant No. PHY-1607520. The authors thank Andrew Lundgren, Laura Nuttall, Vitor Cardoso, and the authors of for useful discussions, as well as Bruce Allen for helpful comments. Some of the discussions particularly enjoyed the hospitality of meetings at Nikhef and at the Perimeter Institute. This research has made use of data, software and/or web tools obtained from the LIGO Open Science Center , a service of LIGO Laboratory and the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. LIGO is funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). O.B. acknowledges the NSF for financial support from Grant No. PHY-1607520.

FundersFunder number
U.S. National Science Foundation
National Science Foundation
Norsk SykepleierforbundPHY-1607520
National Science Foundation

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