Journal Article

Improved estimate of the detectability of gravitational radiation from a magnetically confined mountain on an accreting neutron star

M. Vigelius and A. Melatos

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 395, issue 4, pages 1972-1984
Published in print June 2009 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online May 2009 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2009.14690.x
Improved estimate of the detectability of gravitational radiation from a magnetically confined mountain on an accreting neutron star

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We give an improved estimate of the detectability of gravitational waves from magnetically confined mountains on accreting neutron stars. The improved estimate includes the following effects for the first time: three-dimensional hydromagnetic (‘fast’) relaxation, three-dimensional resistive (‘slow’) relaxation, realistic accreted masses Ma≲ 2 × 10−3 M (where the mountain is grown ab initio by injection) and verification of the curvature rescaling transformation employed in previous work. Typically, a mountain does not relax appreciably over the lifetime of a low-mass X-ray binary. The ellipticity reaches ε≈ 2 × 10−5 for Ma= 2 × 10−3 M. The gravitational wave spectrum for triaxial equilibria contains an additional line, which, although weak, provides valuable information about the mountain shape. We evaluate the detectability of magnetic mountains with initial and advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO). For a standard, coherent matched filter search, we find a signal-to-noise ratio of d= 28(Ma/10−4 M) (1 + 5.5Ma/10−4 M)−1(D/10 kpc)−1 (T0/14 d)1/2 for initial LIGO, where D is the distance and T0 is the observation time. From the non-detection of gravitational waves from low-mass X-ray binaries to date, and the wave strain limits implied by the spin frequency distribution of these objects (due to gravitational wave braking), we conclude that there are other, as yet unmodelled, physical effects that further reduce the quadrupole moment of a magnetic mountain, most notably sinking into the crust.

Keywords: accretion, accretion discs; stars: magnetic fields; stars: neutron; pulsars: general

Journal Article.  9273 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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