We perform an extensive numerical study of coalescing black-hole binaries to understand the gravitational-wave spectrum of quasinormal modes excited in the merged black hole. Remarkably, we find that the masses and spins of the progenitor are clearly encoded in the mode spectrum of the ringdown signal. Some of the mode amplitudes carry the signature of the binary's mass ratio, while others depend critically on the spins. Simulations of precessing binaries suggest that our results carry over to generic systems. Using Bayesian inference, we demonstrate that it is possible to accurately measure the mass ratio and a proper combination of spins even when the binary is itself invisible to a detector. Using a mapping of the binary masses and spins to the final black-hole spin allows us to further extract the spin components of the progenitor. Our results could have tremendous implications for gravitational astronomy by facilitating novel tests of general relativity using merging black holes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)