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Journal Article

New Coordinates for the Amplitude Parameter Space of Continuous Gravitational Waves


Whelan,  J. T.
Astrophysical Relativity, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

Prix,  R.
Observational Relativity and Cosmology, AEI-Hannover, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Whelan, J. T., Prix, R., Cutler, C. J., & Willis, J. L. (2014). New Coordinates for the Amplitude Parameter Space of Continuous Gravitational Waves. Classical and quantum gravity, 31(6): 065002. doi:10.1088/0264-9381/31/6/065002.

Cite as:
The parameter space for continuous gravitational waves (GWs) can be divided into amplitude parameters (signal amplitude, inclination and polarization angles describing the orientation of the source, and an initial phase) and phase-evolution parameters. The division is useful in part because the Jaranowski-Krolak-Schutz (JKS) coordinates on the four-dimensional amplitude parameter space allow the GW signal to be written as a linear combination of four template waveforms with the JKS coordinates as coefficients. We define a new set of coordinates on the amplitude parameter space, with the same properties, which is more closely connected to the physical amplitude parameters. These naturally divide into two pairs of Cartesian-like coordinates on two-dimensional subspaces, one corresponding to left- and the other to right-circular polarization. We thus refer to these as CPF (circular polarization factored) coordinates. The corresponding two sets of polar coordinates (known as CPF-polar) can be related in a simple way to the physical parameters. We illustrate some simplifying applications for these various coordinate systems, such as: a calculation of Jacobians between various coordinate systems; an illustration of the signal coordinate singularities associated with left- and right-circular polarization, which correspond to the origins of the two two-dimensional subspaces; and an elucidation of the form of the log-likelihood ratio between hypotheses of Gaussian noise with and without a continuous GW signal. These are used to illustrate some of the prospects for approximate evaluation of a Bayesian detection statistic defined by marginalization over the physical parameter space. Additionally, in the presence of simplifying assumptions about the observing geometry, we are able to explicitly evaluate the integral for the Bayesian detection statistic, and compare it to the approximate results.