Predicting the LISA white dwarf binary population in the Milky Way with cosmological simulations

Abstract : Short-period (P<1 hour) white dwarf binaries will be the most numerous sources for the space-based gravitational wave detector LISA. Based on thousands of resolved systems, we will be able to constrain binary evolution and provide a new map of the Milky Way and its surroundings. Here we predict the main properties of populations of different types of detached white dwarf binaries detected by LISA. For the first time, we combine a high-resolution cosmological simulation of a Milky Way-mass galaxy (from the FIRE project) with a binary population synthesis model for low and intermediate mass stars. Our model therefore provides a cosmologically realistic star formation and metallicity history for the galaxy and naturally produces its different components such as the thin and thick disk, the bulge, the stellar halo, and satellite galaxies and streams. With the simulation, we show how different galactic components contribute differently to the gravitational wave signal, due to their typical age and distance distributions. We find that the dominant LISA sources will be He-He systems and He-CO systems with important contributions from the thick disk and bulge but also a few systems in the stellar halo. The resulting sky map of the sources is different from previous models, with important consequences for the searches for electromagnetic counterparts and data analysis. We also emphasize that much of the science-enabling information regarding white dwarf binaries, such as the chirp mass and the sky localisation, becomes increasingly rich with long observations, including an extended mission up to 8 years.
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Submitted on : Thursday, August 1, 2019 - 2:14:46 AM
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Astrid Lamberts, Sarah Blunt, Tyson B. Littenberg, Shea Garrison-Kimmel, Thomas Kupfer, et al.. Predicting the LISA white dwarf binary population in the Milky Way with cosmological simulations. 2019. ⟨hal-02223017⟩



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