The recent advanced LIGO detections of gravitational waves from merging binary black holes enhance the prospect of exploring binary evolution via gravitational-wave observations of a population of compact-object binaries. In the face of uncertainty about binary formation models, model-independent inference provides an appealing alternative to comparisons between observed and modelled populations. We describe a procedure for clustering in the multi-dimensional parameter space of observations that are subject to significant measurement errors. We apply this procedure to a mock data set of population-synthesis predictions for the masses of merging compact binaries convolved with realistic measurement uncertainties, and demonstrate that we can accurately distinguish subpopulations of binary neutron stars, binary black holes, and mixed neutron star -- black hole binaries with tens of observations.
Bibliographical noteReplacing with published version; minor typo fixes and reference updates
- gravitational waves
- binaries: close
- stars: black holes
- stars: neutron