A Standard Siren Measurement of the Hubble Constant from GW170817 without the Electromagnetic Counterpart

M. Fishbach, R. Gray, I. Magana Hernandez, H. Qi, A. Sur, F. Acernese, L. Aiello, A. Allocca, M. A. Aloy, A. Amato, S. Antier, M. Arene, N. Arnaud, S. Ascenzi, P. Astone, F. Aubin, S. Babak, P. Bacon, F. Badaracco, M. K.M. BaderF. Baldaccini, G. Ballardin, F. Barone, M. Barsuglia, D. Barta, A. Basti, M. Bawaj, M. Bazzan, M. Bejger, I. Belahcene, S. Bernuzzi, D. Bersanetti, A. Bertolini, M. Bitossi, M. A. Bizouard, C. D. Blair, S. Bloemen, M. Boer, G. Bogaert, F. Bondu, R. Bonnand, B. A. Boom, V. Boschi, Y. Bouffanais, A. Bozzi, C. Bradaschia, P. R. Brady, M. Branchesi, T. Briant, F. Brighenti, A. Brillet, V. Brisson, T. Bulik, H. J. Bulten, D. Buskulic, C. Buy, G. Cagnoli, E. Calloni, M. Canepa, E. Capocasa, F. Carbognani, G. Carullo, J. Casanueva Diaz, C. Casentini, S. Caudill, F. Cavalier, R. Cavalieri, G. Cella, P. Cerdá-Durán, G. Cerretani, E. Cesarini, O. Chaibi, E. Chassande-Mottin, K. Chatziioannou, H. Y. Chen, A. Chincarini, A. Chiummo, N. Christensen, S. Chua, G. Ciani, R. Ciolfi, F. Cipriano, A. Cirone, F. Cleva, E. Coccia, P. F. Cohadon, D. Cohen, L. Conti, I. Cordero-Carrión, S. Cortese, M. W. Coughlin, J. P. Coulon, M. Croquette, E. Cuoco, G. Dálya, S. D'Antonio, L. E.H. Datrier, V. Dattilo, M. Davier, J. Degallaix, M. De Laurentis, S. Deléglise, W. Del Pozzo, M. Denys, R. De Pietri, R. De Rosa, C. De Rossi, R. Desalvo, T. Dietrich, L. Di Fiore, M. Di Giovanni, T. Di Girolamo, A. Di Lieto, S. Di Pace, I. Di Palma, F. Di Renzo, Z. Doctor, M. Drago, J. G. Ducoin, M. Eisenmann, R. C. Essick, D. Estevez, V. Fafone, S. Farinon, W. M. Farr, F. Feng, I. Ferrante, F. Ferrini, F. Fidecaro, I. Fiori, D. Fiorucci, R. Flaminio, J. A. Font, J. D. Fournier, S. Frasca, F. Frasconi, V. Frey, J. R. Gair, L. Gammaitoni, F. Garufi, G. Gemme, E. Genin, A. Gennai, D. George, V. Germain, A. Ghosh, B. Giacomazzo, A. Giazotto, G. Giordano, J. M. Gonzalez Castro, M. Gosselin, R. Gouaty, A. Grado, M. Granata, G. Greco, P. Groot, P. Gruning, G. M. Guidi, Y. Guo, O. Halim, J. Harms, C. J. Haster, A. Heidmann, H. Heitmann, P. Hello, G. Hemming, M. Hendry, T. Hinderer, D. Hoak, D. Hofman, D. E. Holz, A. Hreibi, D. Huet, B. Idzkowski, A. Iess, G. Intini, J. M. Isac, T. Jacqmin, P. Jaranowski, R. J.G. Jonker, S. Katsanevas, E. Katsavounidis, F. Kéfélian, I. Khan, G. Koekoek, S. Koley, I. Kowalska, A. Królak, A. Kutynia, J. Lange, A. Lartaux-Vollard, C. Lazzaro, P. Leaci, N. Letendre, T. G.F. Li, F. Linde, A. Longo, M. Lorenzini, V. Loriette, G. Losurdo, D. Lumaca, R. MacAs, A. MacQuet, E. Majorana, I. Maksimovic, N. Man, M. Mantovani, F. Marchesoni, C. Markakis, A. Marquina, F. Martelli, E. Massera, A. Masserot, S. Mastrogiovanni, J. Meidam, L. Mereni, M. Merzougui, C. Messenger, R. Metzdorff, C. Michel, L. Milano, A. Miller, O. Minazzoli, Y. Minenkov, M. Montani, S. Morisaki, B. Mours, A. Nagar, I. Nardecchia, L. Naticchioni, G. Nelemans, D. Nichols, F. Nocera, M. Obergaulinger, G. Pagano, C. Palomba, F. Pannarale, F. Paoletti, A. Paoli, A. Pasqualetti, R. Passaquieti, D. Passuello, M. Patil, B. Patricelli, R. Pedurand, A. Perreca, O. J. Piccinni, M. Pichot, F. Piergiovanni, G. Pillant, L. Pinard, R. Poggiani, P. Popolizio, G. A. Prodi, M. Punturo, P. Puppo, N. Radulescu, P. Raffai, P. Rapagnani, V. Raymond, M. Razzano, T. Regimbau, L. Rei, F. Ricci, A. Rocchi, L. Rolland, M. Romanelli, R. Romano, D. Rosińska, P. Ruggi, L. Salconi, A. Samajdar, N. Sanchis-Gual, B. Sassolas, B. F. Schutz, D. Sentenac, V. Sequino, M. Sieniawska, N. Singh, A. Singhal, F. Sorrentino, C. Stachie, D. A. Steer, G. Stratta, B. L. Swinkels, M. Tacca, N. Tamanini, S. Tiwari, M. Tonelli, A. Torres-Forné, F. Travasso, M. C. Tringali, A. Trovato, L. Trozzo, K. W. Tsang, N. Van Bakel, M. Van Beuzekom, J. F.J. Van Den Brand, C. Van Den Broeck, L. Van Den Schaaf, J. V. Van Heijningen, M. Vardaro, M. Vasth, G. Vedovato, J. Veitch, D. Verkindt, F. Vetrano, A. Viceré, J. Y. Vinet, H. Vocca, R. Walet, G. Wang, Y. F. Wang, M. Was, A. R. Williamson, M. Yvert, A. Zadrożny, T. Zelenova, J. P. Zendri, A. B. Zimmerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

147 Scopus citations


We perform a statistical standard siren analysis of GW170817. Our analysis does not utilize knowledge of NGC 4993 as the unique host galaxy of the optical counterpart to GW170817. Instead, we consider each galaxy within the GW170817 localization region as a potential host; combining the redshifts from all of the galaxies with the distance estimate from GW170817 provides an estimate of the Hubble constant, H 0 . Considering all galaxies brighter than as equally likely to host a binary neutron star merger, we find km s -1 Mpc -1 (maximum a posteriori and 68.3% highest density posterior interval; assuming a flat H 0 prior in the range km s -1 Mpc -1 ). We explore the dependence of our results on the thresholds by which galaxies are included in our sample, and we show that weighting the host galaxies by stellar mass or star formation rate provides entirely consistent results with potentially tighter constraints. By applying the method to simulated gravitational-wave events and a realistic galaxy catalog we show that, because of the small localization volume, this statistical standard siren analysis of GW170817 provides an unusually informative (top 10%) constraint. Under optimistic assumptions for galaxy completeness and redshift uncertainty, we find that dark binary neutron star measurements of H 0 will converge as , where N is the number of sources. While these statistical estimates are inferior to the value from the counterpart standard siren measurement utilizing NGC 4993 as the unique host, km s -1 Mpc -1 (determined from the same publicly available data), our analysis is a proof-of-principle demonstration of the statistical approach first proposed by Bernard Schutz over 30 yr ago.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL13
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 20 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Chihway Chang, Alison Coil, and Risa Wechsler for valuable discussions about galaxy properties. M.F. was supported by the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program under grant DGE-1746045. M.F. and D.E.H. were supported by NSF grant PHY-1708081. They were also supported by the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago through NSF grant PHY-1125897 and an endowment from the Kavli Foundation. D.E.H. also gratefully acknowledges support from a Marion and Stuart Rice Award. The authors acknowledge the Italian Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN), the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), and the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter supported by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, for the construction and operation of the Virgo detector and the creation and support of the EGO consortium. We are grateful to the LIGO and Virgo collaborations for releasing sky map data for GW170817 at dcc.ligo.org/LIGO-P1800061/public. This work has made use of CosmoHub. CosmoHub has been developed by the Port d’Informació Cientfica (PIC), maintained through a collaboration of the Institut de Fsica d’Altes Energies (IFAE) and the Centro de Investigaciones Energticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas (CIEMAT), and was partially funded by the “Plan Estatal de Investigación Cientfica y Tcnica y de Innovación” program of the Spanish government. We also acknowledge the First Two Years data release (https://www. ligo.org/scientists/first2years/).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019. The American Astronomical Society.


  • distance scale
  • gravitational waves


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