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Revisiting the cosmic string origin of GW190521

Aurrekoetxea, Josu C., Hoy, Charlie and Hannam, Mark ORCID: 2024. Revisiting the cosmic string origin of GW190521. Physical Review Letters 132 (18) , 181401. 10.1103/PhysRevLett.132.181401

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For the first time we analyze gravitational-wave strain data using waveforms constructed from strong gravity simulations of cosmic string loops collapsing to Schwarzschild black holes; a previously unconsidered source. Since the expected signal is dominated by a black-hole ringdown, it can mimic the observed gravitational waves from high-mass binary black hole mergers. To illustrate this, we consider GW190521, a short duration gravitational-wave event observed in the third LIGO-Virgo-KAGRA observing run. We show that describing this event as a collapsing cosmic string loop is favored over previous cosmic string analyses by an approximate log Bayes factor of 22. The binary black hole hypothesis is still preferred, mostly because the cosmic string remnant is nonspinning. It remains an open question whether a spinning remnant could form from loops with angular momentum, but if possible, it would likely bring into contention the binary black hole preference. Finally, we suggest that searches for ringdown-only waveforms would be a viable approach for identifying collapsing cosmic string events and estimating their event rate. This Letter opens up an important new direction for the cosmic-string and gravitational-wave communities.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Advanced Research Computing @ Cardiff (ARCCA)
Physics and Astronomy
Publisher: American Physical Society
ISSN: 0031-9007
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 26 April 2024
Date of Acceptance: 11 March 2024
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2024 16:18

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