Dark Energy after GW170817 [CEA]


The observation of GW170817 and its electromagnatic counterpart implies that gravitational waves travel at the speed of light, with deviations smaller than a few parts in $10^{-15}$. We discuss the consequences of this experimental result for models of dark energy and modified gravity characterized by a single scalar degree of freedom. To avoid tuning, the speed of gravitational waves must be unaffected not only for our particular cosmological solution, but also for nearby solutions obtained by slightly changing the matter abundance. For this to happen the coefficients of various operators must satisfy precise relations that we discuss both in the language of the Effective Field Theory of Dark Energy and in the covariant one, for Horndeski, beyond Horndeski and degenerate higher-order theories. The simplification is dramatic: of the three functions describing quartic and quintic beyond Horndeski theories, only one remains and reduces to a standard conformal coupling to the Ricci scalar for Horndeski theories. We show that the deduced relations among operators do not introduce further tuning of the models, since they are stable under quantum corrections.

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P. Creminelli and F. Vernizzi
Tue, 17 Oct 17

Comments: 5 pages

Implications of the Neutron Star Merger GW170817 for Cosmological Scalar-Tensor Theories [CEA]


The LIGO/VIRGO collaboration has recently announced the detection of gravitational waves from a neutron star-neutron star merger (GW170817) and the simultaneous measurement of an optical counterpart (the gamma-ray burst GRB 170817A). The close arrival time of the gravitational and electromagnetic waves limits the difference in speed of photons and gravitons to be less than about one part in $10^{15}$. This has three important implications for cosmological scalar-tensor gravity theories that are often touted as dark energy candidates and alternatives to $\Lambda$CDM. First, for the most general scalar-tensor theories—beyond Horndeski models—three of the five parameters appearing in the effective theory of dark energy can now be severely constrained on astrophysical scales; we present the results of combining the new gravity wave results with galaxy cluster observations. Second, the combination with the lack of strong equivalence principle violations exhibited by the supermassive black hole in M87, constrains the quartic galileon model to be cosmologically irrelevant. Finally, we derive a new bound on the disformal coupling to photons that implies that such couplings are irrelevant for the cosmic evolution of the field.

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J. Sakstein and B. Jain
Tue, 17 Oct 17

Comments: five pages, two figures

Distance and properties of NGC 4993 as the host galaxy of a gravitational wave source, GW170817 [HEAP]


Recently, the optical counterpart of a gravitational wave source GW170817 has been identified in NGC 4993 galaxy. Together with evidence from observations in electromagnetic waves, the event has been suggested as a result of a merger of two neutron stars. We analyze the multi-wavelength data to characterize the host galaxy property and its distance to examine if the properties of NGC 4993 are consistent with this picture. Our analysis shows that NGC 4993 is a bulge-dominated galaxy with reff ~ 2-3 kpc and the Sersic index of n = 3-4 for the bulge component. The spectral energy distribution from 0.15 to 24 micron indicates that this galaxy has no significant ongoing star formation, the mean stellar mass of (0.3 – 1.2) times 10^11 Msun,the mean stellar age greater than ~3 Gyr, and the metallicity of about 20% to 100% of solar abundance. Optical images reveal dust lanes and extended features that suggest a past merging activity. Overall, NGC 4993 has characteristics of normal, but slightly disturbed elliptical galaxies. Furthermore, we derive the distance to NGC 4993 with the fundamental plane relation using 17 parameter sets of 7 different filters and the central stellar velocity dispersion from literature, finding an angular diameter distance of 37.7 +- 8.7 Mpc. NGC 4993 is similar to some host galaxies of short gamma-ray bursts but much different from those of long gamma-ray bursts, supporting the picture of GW170817 as a result of a merger of two NSs.

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M. Im, Y. Yoon, S. Lee, et. al.
Tue, 17 Oct 17

Comments: 7 pages, 2 figures, 3 tables, accepted for publication in ApJL

Current and Future White Dwarf Mass-radius Constraints on Varying Fundamental Couplings and Unification Scenarios [CEA]


We discuss the feasibility of using astrophysical observations of white dwarfs as probes of fundamental physics. We quantify the effects of varying fundamental couplings on the white dwarf mass-radius relation in a broad class of unification scenarios, both for the simple case of a polytropic stellar structure model and for more general models. Independent measurements of the mass and radius, together with direct spectroscopic measurements of the fine-structure constant in white dwarf atmospheres lead to constraints on combinations of the two phenomenological parameters describing the underlying unification scenario (one of which is related to the strong sector of the theory while the other is related to the electroweak sector). While currently available measurements do not yet provide stringent constraints, we show that forthcoming improvements, expected for example from the Gaia satellite, can break parameter degeneracies and lead to constraints that ideally complement those obtained from local laboratory tests using atomic clocks.

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D. Magano, J. Boas and C. Martins
Tue, 17 Oct 17

Comments: 11 pages, 8 figures

GW170817/GRB 170817A/AT2017gfo association: some implications for physics and astrophysics [HEAP]


On 17 August 2017, a gravitational wave event (GW170817) and an associated short gamma-ray burst (GRB 170817A) from a binary neutron star merger had been detected. The followup optical/infrared observations also identified the macronova/kilonova emission (AT2017gfo). In this work we discuss some implications of the remarkable GW170817/GRB 170817A/AT2017gfo association. We show that the $\sim 1.7$s time delay between the gravitational wave (GW) and GRB signals imposes very tight constraint on the superluminal movement of gravitational waves (i.e., the relative departure of GW velocity from the speed of light is $\leq 4.3\times 10^{-16}$) or the possible violation of weak equivalence principle (i.e., the difference of the gamma-ray and GW trajectories in the gravitational field of the galaxy and the local universe should be within a factor of $\sim 3.4\times 10^{-9}$). The so-called Dark Matter Emulators and a class of contender models for cosmic acceleration (“Covariant Galileon”) are ruled out, too. The successful identification of Lanthanide elements in the macronova/kilonova spectrum also excludes the possibility that the progenitors of GRB 170817A are a binary strange star system. The high neutron star merger rate (inferred from both the local sGRB data and the gravitational wave data) together with the significant ejected mass strongly suggest that such mergers are the prime sites of heavy r-process nucleosynthesis.

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H. Wang, F. Zhang, Y. Wang, et. al.
Tue, 17 Oct 17

Comments: N/A

Matter-wave coherence limit owing to cosmic gravitational wave background [CL]


We study matter-wave interferometry in the presence of a stochastic background of gravitational waves. It is shown that if the background has a scale-invariant spectrum over a wide bandwidth (which is expected in a class of inflationary models of Big Bang cosmology), then separated-path interference cannot be observed for a lump of matter of size above a limit which is very insensitive to the strength and bandwidth of the fluctuations, unless the interferometer is servo-controlled or otherwise protected. For ordinary solid matter this limit is of order 1–10 mm. A servo-controlled or cross-correlated device would also exhibit limits to the observation of macroscopic interference, which we estimate for ordinary matter moving at speeds small compared to c.

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A. Steane
Tue, 17 Oct 17

Comments: 8 pages; 3 figures

Viscous Warm Inflation: Hamilton-Jacobi formalism [CEA]


Using Hamilton-Jacobi formalism, The scenario of warm inflation with viscous pressure is considered. The formalism gives a way of computing the slow-rolling parameters without extra approximation, and it is well-known as a powerful method in cold inflation. The model is studied in detail for three different cases of dissipation and bulk viscous pressure coefficients. In the first case where both coefficients are taken as a constant, it is shown that the case could not portray warm inflationary scenario compatible with observational data even it is possible to restrict the model parameters. For other cases, the results shows that the model could properly predicts the perturbation parameters in which they stay in perfect agreement with Planck data. As a further argument, $r-n_s$ and $\alpha_s-n_s$ are drown that show the required result could stand in acceptable area expressing a compatibility with observational data.

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L. Akhtari, A. Mohammadi, K. Sayar, et. al.
Tue, 17 Oct 17

Comments: 20 pages, 11 figures