Journal Article

Delensing gravitational wave standard sirens with shear and flexion maps

C. Shapiro, D. J. Bacon, M. Hendry and B. Hoyle

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 404, issue 2, pages 858-866
Published in print May 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online May 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Delensing gravitational wave standard sirens with shear and flexion maps

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Supermassive black hole binary (SMBHB) systems are standard sirens – the gravitational wave analogue of standard candles – and if discovered by gravitational wave detectors, they could be used as precise distance indicators. Unfortunately, gravitational lensing will randomly magnify SMBHB signals, seriously degrading any distance measurements. Using a weak lensing map of the SMBHB line of sight, we can estimate its magnification and thereby remove some uncertainty in its distance, a procedure we call ‘delensing’. We find that delensing is significantly improved when galaxy shears are combined with flexion measurements, which reduce small-scale noise in reconstructed magnification maps. Under a Gaussian approximation, we estimate that delensing with a 2D mosaic image from an Extremely Large Telescope could reduce distance errors by about 25–30 per cent for an SMBHB at z= 2. Including an additional wide shear map from a space survey telescope could reduce distance errors by nearly a factor of 2. Such improvement would make SMBHBs considerably more valuable as cosmological distance probes or as a fully independent check on existing probes.

Keywords: gravitational lensing; gravitational waves; distance scale

Journal Article.  6686 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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