A 3PN Fourier domain waveform for non-spinning binaries with moderate eccentricity

Blake Moore, Nicolás Yunes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While current gravitational wave observations with ground based detectors have been consistent with compact binaries in quasi-circular orbits, eccentric binaries may be detectable by ground-based and space-based instruments in the near future. Eccentricity significantly complicates the gravitational wave signal, and we currently lack fast and accurate models that are valid in the moderate to large eccentricity range. In a previous paper, we built a Fourier domain, eccentric waveform model at leading order in the post-Newtonian approximation, i.e. as an expansion in small velocities and weak fields. Here we extend this model to 3rd post-Newtonian order, incorporating the effects of periastron precession and higher post-Newtonian order effects that qualitatively change the waveform behavior. Our 3PN model combines the stationary phase approximation, a truncated sum of harmonics of combinations of two orbital frequencies (an azimuthal one and a radial one), and a bivariate expansion in the orbital separation and the eccentricity. We validate the model through comparisons with a fully-numerical, time domain post-Newtonian model, and find good agreement (matches between 97%-99%) in much of the parameter space. We estimate in what regions of parameter space eccentric effects are important by exploring the signal to noise ratio of eccentric corrections. We also examine the effects of higher post-Newtonian order terms in the waveform amplitude, and the agreement between different PN-consistent, numerical, time-domain models. In an effort to guide future improvements to the model, we gauge the error in our 3PN model incurred by the different analytic approximations used to construct it. This model is useful for preliminary data analysis investigations and it could allow for a phenomenological hybrid that incorporates eccentricity into an inspiral-merger-ringdown model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number185003
JournalClassical and Quantum Gravity
Issue number18
StatePublished - Aug 20 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • eccentric binaries
  • general relativity
  • gravitational waves

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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