Model-based cross-correlation search for gravitational waves from the low-mass X-ray binary Scorpius X-1 in LIGO O3 data

The LIGO Scientific Collaboration, Virgo Collaboration, KAGRA Collaboration, I. W. Harry, Andrew Lundgren, Laura Nuttall, Ronaldas Macas, Connor Mcisaac, Simone Mozzon, Arthur Ellis Tolley, Connor Richard Weaving, Andrew Robert Williamson, Oliver Piers Kenneth Edy, Gareth Stephen Cabourn Davies

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We present the results of a model-based search for continuous gravitational waves from the low-mass X-ray binary Scorpius X-1 using LIGO detector data from the third observing run of Advanced LIGO, Advanced Virgo and KAGRA. This is a semicoherent search which uses details of the signal model to coherently combine data separated by less than a specified coherence time, which can be adjusted to balance sensitivity with computing cost. The search covered a range of gravitational-wave frequencies from 25Hz to 1600Hz, as well as ranges in orbital speed, frequency and phase determined from observational constraints. No significant detection candidates were found, and upper limits were set as a function of frequency. The most stringent limits, between 100Hz and 200Hz, correspond to an amplitude h0 of about 1e-25 when marginalized isotropically over the unknown inclination angle of the neutron star's rotation axis, or less than 4e-26 assuming the optimal orientation. The sensitivity of this search is now probing amplitudes predicted by models of torque balance equilibrium. For the usual conservative model assuming accretion at the surface of the neutron star, our isotropically-marginalized upper limits are close to the predicted amplitude from about 70Hz to 100Hz; the limits assuming the neutron star spin is aligned with the most likely orbital angular momentum are below the conservative torque balance predictions from 40Hz to 200Hz. Assuming a broader range of accretion models, our direct limits on gravitational-wave amplitude delve into the relevant parameter space over a wide range of frequencies, to 500Hz or more.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberL30
Number of pages19
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2022


  • astro-ph.HE
  • gr-qc
  • UKRI
  • STFC

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