eCite Digital Repository

A gravitational-wave standard siren measurement of the Hubble constant


Abbott, BP and Abbott, R and Siellez, K and Serra-Ricart, M and The LIGO Scientific Collab. and The Virgo Collab., The 1M2H Collab., The Dark Energy Camera GW-EM Collab. and the DES Collab., The DLT40 Collab., The Las Cumbres Observatory Collabo.,The VINRO UGE Collab. & The MASTER Collab., A gravitational-wave standard siren measurement of the Hubble constant, Nature: International Weekly Journal of Science, 551, (7678) pp. 85-98. ISSN 0028-0836 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Not available

DOI: doi:10.1038/nature24471


On 17 August 2017, the Advanced LIGO and Virgo detectors observed the gravitational-wave event GW170817—a strong signal from the merger of a binary neutron-star system. Less than two seconds after the merger, a γ-ray burst (GRB 170817A) was detected within a region of the sky consistent with the LIGO–Virgo-derived location of the gravitational-wave source. This sky region was subsequently observed by optical astronomy facilities, resulting in the identification of an optical transient signal within about ten arcseconds of the galaxy NGC 4993. This detection of GW170817 in both gravitational waves and electromagnetic waves represents the first ‘multi-messenger’ astronomical observation. Such observations enable GW170817 to be used as a ‘standard siren’ (meaning that the absolute distance to the source can be determined directly from the gravitational-wave measurements) to measure the Hubble constant. This quantity represents the local expansion rate of the Universe, sets the overall scale of the Universe and is of fundamental importance to cosmology. Here we report a measurement of the Hubble constant that combines the distance to the source inferred purely from the gravitational-wave signal with the recession velocity inferred from measurements of the redshift using the electromagnetic data. In contrast to previous measurements, ours does not require the use of a cosmic ‘distance ladder’: the gravitational-wave analysis can be used to estimate the luminosity distance out to cosmological scales directly, without the use of intermediate astronomical distance measurements. We determine the Hubble constant to be about 70 kilometres per second per megaparsec. This value is consistent with existing measurements, while being completely independent of them. Additional standard siren measurements from future gravitational-wave sources will enable the Hubble constant to be constrained to high precision.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:gravitational wave, Hubble constant, neutron star, binary neutron star system
Research Division:Physical Sciences
Research Group:Astronomical sciences
Research Field:General relativity and gravitational waves
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the physical sciences
UTAS Author:Siellez, K (Dr Karelle Siellez)
ID Code:152051
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:558
Deposited By:Physics
Deposited On:2022-08-10
Last Modified:2022-08-10

Repository Staff Only: item control page