Daniel Holz - University of Chicago

Daniel Holz
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Daniel Holz
University of Chicago
United States

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Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics (23)
Astrophysics (18)
High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena (17)
General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology (16)
Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (3)
High Energy Physics - Theory (1)
Astrophysics of Galaxies (1)

Publications Authored By Daniel Holz

A channel for the formation of stellar mass black holes (BHs) is through hierarchical mergers of smaller BHs. Repeated mergers between BHs leave an imprint on the spin of the resulting black hole, since the final BH spin is largely determined by the orbital angular momentum of the merging binary system. It has been shown that a population of supermassive BHs that forms through repeated mergers will have a distribution of spin magnitudes centered around a dimensionless spin magnitude of a ~ 0. Read More

We explore the localization of compact binary coalescences with ground-based gravitational-wave detector networks. We simulate tens of thousands of binary events, and present the distributions of localization sky areas and localization volumes for a range of sources and network configurations. We show that generically there exists a tail of particularly well-localized events, with 2D and 3D localizations of $<10\,\mbox{deg}^2$ and $<1000\,\mbox{Mpc}^3$ achievable, respectively, starting in LIGO/Virgo's third observing run. Read More

Ground-based interferometers are not perfectly all-sky instruments, and it is important to account for their behavior when considering the distribution of detected events. In particular, the LIGO detectors are most sensitive to sources above North America and the Indian Ocean and, as the Earth rotates, the sensitive regions are swept across the sky. However, because the detectors do not acquire data uniformly over time, there is a net bias on detectable sources' right ascensions. Read More

Affiliations: 1University of Warsaw, 2University of Chicago, 3University of Warsaw, 4Rochester Institute of Technology

The merger of two massive 30 Msun black holes has been detected in gravitational waves (1,GW150914). This discovery validates recent predictions (2-4) that massive binary black holes would constitute the first detection. However, previous calculations have not sampled the relevant binary black hole progenitors---massive, low-metallicity binary stars---with sufficient accuracy and input physics to enable robust predictions to better than several orders of magnitude (5-10). Read More

We compare evolutionary predictions of double compact object merger rate densities with initial and forthcoming LIGO/Virgo upper limits. We find that: (i) Due to the cosmological reach of advanced detectors, current conversion methods of population synthesis predictions into merger rate densities are insufficient. (ii) Our optimistic models are a factor of 18 below the initial LIGO/Virgo upper limits for BH-BH systems, indicating that a modest increase in observational sensitivity (by a factor of 2. Read More

Fast and effective localization of gravitational wave (GW) events could play a crucial role in identifying possible electromagnetic counterparts, and thereby help usher in an era of GW multi-messenger astronomy. We discuss an algorithm for accurate and very low latency ($<$ 1 second) localization of GW sources using only the relative times of arrival, relative phases, and relative signal-to-noise ratios for pairs of detectors. The algorithm is independent of distances and masses to leading order, and can be generalized to all discrete sources detected by ground-based detector networks. Read More

We use large N-body simulations and empirical scaling relations between dark matter halos, galaxies, and supermassive black holes to estimate the formation rates of supermassive black hole binaries and the resulting low-frequency stochastic gravitational wave background (GWB). We find this GWB to be relatively insensitive ($\lesssim10\%$) to cosmological parameters, with only slight variation between WMAP5 and Planck cosmologies. We find that uncertainty in the astrophysical scaling relations changes the amplitude of the GWB by a factor of $\sim 2$. Read More

Inspirals and mergers of black hole (BHs) and/or neutron star (NSs) binaries are expected to be abundant sources for ground-based gravitational-wave (GW) detectors. We assess the capabilities of Advanced LIGO and Virgo to measure component masses using inspiral waveform models including spin-precession effects using a large ensemble of GW sources {\bf randomly oriented and distributed uniformly in volume. For 1000 sources this yields signal-to-noise ratios between 7 and 200}. Read More

As first emphasized by Bernard Schutz, there exists a universal distribution of signal-to-noise ratios for gravitational wave detection. Because gravitational waves (GWs) are almost impossible to obscure via dust absorption or other astrophysical processes, the strength of the detected signal is dictated solely by the emission strength and the distance to the source. Assuming that the space density of an arbitrary population of GW sources does not evolve, we show explicitly that the distribution of detected signal-to-noise (SNR) values depends solely on the detection threshold; it is independent of the detector network (interferometer or pulsar timing array), the individual detector noise curves (initial or Advanced LIGO), the nature of the GW sources (compact binary coalescence, supernova, or some other discrete source), and the distributions of source variables (only non-spinning neutron stars of mass exactly $1. Read More

The Dark Sky Simulations are an ongoing series of cosmological N-body simulations designed to provide a quantitative and accessible model of the evolution of the large-scale Universe. Such models are essential for many aspects of the study of dark matter and dark energy, since we lack a sufficiently accurate analytic model of non-linear gravitational clustering. In July 2014, we made available to the general community our early data release, consisting of over 55 Terabytes of simulation data products, including our largest simulation to date, which used $1. Read More

If binaries consisting of two 100 Msun black holes exist they would serve as extraordinarily powerful gravitational-wave sources, detectable to redshifts of z=2 with the advanced LIGO/Virgo ground-based detectors. Large uncertainties about the evolution of massive stars preclude definitive rate predictions for mergers of these massive black holes. We show that rates as high as hundreds of detections per year, or as low as no detections whatsoever, are both possible. Read More

Supernovae are important probes of the properties of stars at high redshifts because they can be detected at early epochs and their masses can be inferred from their light curves. Finding the first cosmic explosions in the universe will only be possible with the James Webb Space Telescope, the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope and the next generation of extremely large telescopes. But strong gravitational lensing by massive clusters, like those in the Cluster Lensing and Supernova Survey with Hubble (CLASH), could reveal such events now by magnifying their flux by factors of 10 or more. Read More

The development of advanced gravitational wave (GW) observatories, such as Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo, provides impetus to refine theoretical predictions for what these instruments might detect. In particular, with the range increasing by an order of magnitude, the search for GW sources is extending beyond the "local" Universe and out to cosmological distances. Double compact objects (neutron star-neutron star (NS-NS), black hole-neutron star (BH-NS) and black hole-black hole (BH-BH) systems) are considered to be the most promising gravitational wave sources. Read More

Recent observations have accumulated compelling evidence that some short gamma-ray bursts (SGRBs) are associated with the mergers of neutron star (NS) binaries. This would indicate that the SGRB event is associated with a gravitational-wave (GW) signal corresponding to the final inspiral of the compact binary. In addition, the radioactive decay of elements produced in NS binary mergers may result in transients visible in the optical and infrared with peak luminosities on hours-days timescales. Read More

The detection of Pop III supernovae could directly probe the primordial IMF for the first time, unveiling the properties of the first galaxies, early chemical enrichment and reionization, and the seeds of supermassive black holes. Growing evidence that some Pop III stars were less massive than 100 solar masses may complicate prospects for their detection, because even though they would have been more plentiful they would have died as core-collapse supernovae, with far less luminosity than pair-instability explosions. This picture greatly improves if the SN shock collides with a dense circumstellar shell ejected during a prior violent LBV type eruption. Read More

The first stars are the key to the formation of primitive galaxies, early cosmological reionization and chemical enrichment, and the origin of supermassive black holes. Unfortunately, in spite of their extreme luminosities, individual Population III stars will likely remain beyond the reach of direct observation for decades to come. However, their properties could be revealed by their supernova explosions, which may soon be detected by a new generation of NIR observatories such as JWST and WFIRST. Read More


Recent observations of quasars powered by supermassive black holes (SMBHs) out to z > 7 constrain both the initial seed masses and the growth of the most massive black holes (BHs) in the early universe. Here we elucidate the implications of the radiative feedback from early generations of stars and from BH accretion for popular models for the formation and growth of seed BHs. We show that by properly accounting for (1) the limited role of mergers in growing seed BHs as inferred from cosmological simulations of early star formation and radiative feedback, (2) the sub-Eddington accretion rates of BHs expected at the earliest times, and (3) the large radiative efficiencies (e_rad) of the most massive BHs inferred from observations of active galactic nuclei at high redshift (e_rad > 0. Read More

Understanding the properties of Pop III stars is prerequisite to elucidating the nature of primeval galaxies, the chemical enrichment and reionization of the early IGM, and the origin of supermassive black holes. While the primordial IMF remains unknown, recent evidence from numerical simulations and stellar archaeology suggests that some Pop III stars may have had lower masses than previously thought, 15 - 50 \Ms in addition to 50 - 500 \Ms. The detection of Pop III supernovae by JWST, WFIRST or the TMT could directly probe the primordial IMF for the first time. Read More

The first stars ended the cosmic Dark Ages and created the first heavy elements necessary for the formation of planets and life. The properties of these stars remain uncertain, and it may be decades before individual Pop III stars are directly observed. Their masses, however, can be inferred from their supernova explosions, which may soon be found in both deep-field surveys by JWST and in all-sky surveys by WFIRST. Read More

We compare the current LIGO/Virgo upper limits on double compact object volumetric merger rates with our theoretical predictions. Our optimistic models are a factor of 3 below the existing upper limits for massive BH-BH systems with total mass 50-70 Msun, suggesting that a small increase in observational sensitivity may bring the first detections. The LIGO/Virgo gravitational wave observatories are currently being upgraded to advanced design sensitivity. Read More

Using the observed rate of short-duration gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) it is possible to make predictions for the detectable rate of compact binary coalescences in gravitational-wave detectors. These estimates rely crucially on the growing consensus that short gamma-ray bursts are associated with the merger of two neutron stars or a neutron star and a black hole, but otherwise make no assumptions beyond the observed rate of short GRBs. In particular, our results do not assume coincident gravitational wave and electromagnetic observations. Read More

The last decade of observational and theoretical developments in stellar and binary evolution provides an opportunity to incorporate major improvements to the predictions from populations synthesis models. We compute the Galactic merger rates for NS-NS, BH-NS, and BH-BH mergers with the StarTrack code. The most important revisions include: updated wind mass loss rates (allowing for stellar mass black holes up to $80 \msun$), a realistic treatment of the common envelope phase (a process that can affect merger rates by 2--3 orders of magnitude), and a qualitatively new neutron star/black hole mass distribution (consistent with the observed "mass gap"). Read More

Authors: Xiaofeng Wang, Lifan Wang, Alexei V. Filippenko, Eddie Baron, Markus Kromer, Dennis Jack, Tianmeng Zhang, Greg Aldering, Pierre Antilogus, David Arnett, Dietrich Baade, Brian J. Barris, Stefano Benetti, Patrice Bouchet, Adam S. Burrows, Ramon Canal, Enrico Cappellaro, Raymond Carlberg, Elisa di Carlo, Peter Challis, Arlin Crotts, John I. Danziger, Massimo Della Valle, Michael Fink, Ryan J. Foley, Claes Fransson, Avishay Gal-Yam, Peter Garnavich, Chris L. Gerardy, Gerson Goldhaber, Mario Hamuy, Wolfgang Hillebrandt, Peter A. Hoeflich, Stephen T. Holland, Daniel E. Holz, John P. Hughes, David J. Jeffery, Saurabh W. Jha, Dan Kasen, Alexei M. Khokhlov, Robert P. Kirshner, Robert Knop, Cecilia Kozma, Kevin Krisciunas, Brian C. Lee, Bruno Leibundgut, Eric J. Lentz, Douglas C. Leonard, Walter H. G. Lewin, Weidong Li, Mario Livio, Peter Lundqvist, Dan Maoz, Thomas Matheson, Paolo Mazzali, Peter Meikle, Gajus Miknaitis, Peter Milne, Stefan Mochnacki, Ken'Ichi Nomoto, Peter E. Nugent, Elaine Oran, Nino Panagia, Saul Perlmutter, Mark M. Phillips, Philip Pinto, Dovi Poznanski, Christopher J. Pritchet, Martin Reinecke, Adam Riess, Pilar Ruiz-Lapuente, Richard Scalzo, Eric M. Schlegel, Brian Schmidt, James Siegrist, Alicia M. Soderberg, Jesper Sollerman, George Sonneborn, Anthony Spadafora, Jason Spyromilio, Richard A. Sramek, Sumner G. Starrfield, Louis G. Strolger, Nicholas B. Suntzeff, Rollin Thomas, John L. Tonry, Amedeo Tornambe, James W. Truran, Massimo Turatto, Michael Turner, Schuyler D. Van Dyk, Kurt Weiler, J. Craig Wheeler, Michael Wood-Vasey, Stan Woosley, Hitoshi Yamaoka

We present ultraviolet (UV) spectroscopy and photometry of four Type Ia supernovae (SNe 2004dt, 2004ef, 2005M, and 2005cf) obtained with the UV prism of the Advanced Camera for Surveys on the Hubble Space Telescope. This dataset provides unique spectral time series down to 2000 Angstrom. Significant diversity is seen in the near maximum-light spectra (~ 2000--3500 Angstrom) for this small sample. Read More

The inspirals and mergers of compact binaries are among the most promising events for ground-based gravitational-wave (GW) observatories. The detection of electromagnetic (EM) signals from these sources would provide complementary information to the GW signal. It is therefore important to determine the ability of gravitational-wave detectors to localize compact binaries on the sky, so that they can be matched to their EM counterparts. Read More

We present Keck/LRIS-B spectra for a sample of ten AEGIS X-ray AGN host galaxies and thirteen post-starburst galaxies from SDSS and DEEP2 at 0.2Read More

We calculate the most massive object in the Universe, finding it to be a cluster of galaxies with total mass M_200=3.8e15 Msun at z=0.22, with the 1 sigma marginalized regions being 3. Read More

Gravitational wave sources are a promising cosmological standard candle because their intrinsic luminosities are determined by fundamental physics (and are insensitive to dust extinction). They are, however, affected by weak lensing magnification due to the gravitational lensing from structures along the line of sight. This lensing is a source of uncertainty in the distance determination, even in the limit of perfect standard candle measurements. Read More

Affiliations: 1UC Irvine, 2UC Irvine, 3Los Alamos National Laboratory, 4University of Rome, 5University of Rome, 6UC Irvine, University of Michigan

We use a variant of principal component analysis to investigate the possible temporal evolution of the dark energy equation of state, w(z). We constrain w(z) in multiple redshift bins, utilizing the most recent data from Type Ia supernovae, the cosmic microwave background, baryon acoustic oscillations, the integrated Sachs-Wolfe effect, galaxy clustering, and weak lensing data. Unlike other recent analyses, we find no significant evidence for evolving dark energy; the data remains completely consistent with a cosmological constant. Read More

We show that the Big Bang Observer (BBO), a proposed space-based gravitational-wave (GW) detector, would provide ultra-precise measurements of cosmological parameters. By detecting ~300,000 compact-star binaries, and utilizing them as standard sirens, BBO would determine the Hubble constant to 0.1%, and the dark energy parameters w_0 and w_a to ~0. Read More

We examine the influence of percent-level dark energy corrections to the nonlinear matter power spectrum on constraints of the dark energy equation of state from future weak lensing probes. We explicitly show that a poor approximation (off by > 10%) to the nonlinear corrections causes a > 1 sigma bias on the determination of the dark energy equation of state. Future weak lensing surveys must therefore incorporate dark energy modifications to the nonlinear matter power spectrum accurate to the percent-level, to avoid introducing significant bias in their measurements. Read More

Recent observations support the hypothesis that a large fraction of "short-hard" gamma-ray bursts (SHBs) are associated with compact binary inspiral. Since gravitational-wave (GW) measurements of well-localized inspiraling binaries can measure absolute source distances, simultaneous observation of a binary's GWs and SHB would allow us to independently determine both its luminosity distance and redshift. Such a "standard siren" (the GW analog of a standard candle) would provide an excellent probe of the relatively nearby universe's expansion, complementing other standard candles. Read More

Affiliations: 1UC Berkeley, 2LANL, 3MIT, 4Columbia, 5MIT, 6U. Washington, 7U. Washington, 8UC Berkeley, 9Penn State, 10UC Berkeley, 11LLNL/IGPP, 12INAF-Roma, 13INAF-OABr, 14Penn State, 15STSCI, 16LANL, 17Harvard/CfA, 18Clemson, 19Columbia, 20IAS, 21U. Washington, 22Harvard, 23Columbia, 24UC Berkeley, 25Tel Aviv, 26CITA, Toronto, 27UC Berkeley, 28Hebrew U., 29UC Berkeley/LBL, 30Caltech, 31JHU, 32Harvard/CfA, 33Princeton, 34U. Maryland, 35LIGO-MIT, 36CITA, Toronto, 37Harvard/CfA, 38INAF-OABr, 39INAF-Roma, 40LANL

It is widely expected that the coming decade will witness the first direct detection of gravitational waves (GWs). The ground-based LIGO and Virgo GW observatories are being upgraded to advanced sensitivity, and are expected to observe a significant binary merger rate. The launch of The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) would extend the GW window to low frequencies, opening new vistas on dynamical processes involving massive (M >~ 10^5 M_Sun) black holes. Read More

GRB 080913 and GRB 090423 are the most distant gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) known to-date, with spectroscopically determined redshifts of z=6.7 and z=8.1, respectively. Read More

The gravitational lensing distortion of distant sources by the large-scale distribution of matter in the Universe has been extensively studied. In contrast, very little is known about the effects due to the large-scale distribution of dark energy. We discuss the use of Type Ia supernovae as probes of the spatial inhomogeneity and anisotropy of dark energy. Read More

Recent work suggests that Type Ia supernovae (SNe) are composed of two distinct populations: prompt and delayed. By explicitly incorporating properties of host galaxies, it may be possible to target and eliminate systematic differences between these two putative populations. However, any resulting {\em post}-calibration shift in luminosity between the components will cause a redshift-dependent systematic shift in the Hubble diagram. Read More

We measure the mass function of dark matter halos in a large set of collisionless cosmological simulations of flat LCDM cosmology and investigate its evolution at z<~2. Halos are identified as isolated density peaks, and their masses are measured within a series of radii enclosing specific overdensities. We argue that these spherical overdensity masses are more directly linked to cluster observables than masses measured using the friends-of-friends algorithm (FOF), and are therefore preferable for accurate forecasts of halo abundances. Read More

The gravitational magnification and demagnification of Type Ia supernovae (SNe) modify their positions on the Hubble diagram, shifting the distance estimates from the underlying luminosity-distance relation. This can introduce a systematic uncertainty in the dark energy equation of state (EOS) estimated from SNe, although this systematic is expected to average away for sufficiently large data sets. Using mock SN samples over the redshift range $0 < z \leq 1. Read More

Affiliations: 1UC Irvine, 2UC Irvine, 3UC Irvine, 4UC Irvine, 5LANL, 6UC Irvine
Category: Astrophysics

Our ignorance of the dark energy is generally described by a two-parameter equation of state. In these approaches a particular {\it ad hoc} functional form is assumed, and only two independent parameters are incorporated. We propose a model-independent, multi-parameter approach to fitting the dark energy, and show that next-generation surveys will constrain the equation of state in three or more independent redshift bins to better than 10%. Read More

Affiliations: 1KICP, U Chicago, 2LANL, 3FNAL
Category: Astrophysics

We discuss combining gravitational lensing of galaxies and the cosmic microwave background (CMB) by clusters to measure cosmographic distance ratios, and hence dark energy parameters. Advantages to using the CMB as the second source plane, instead of galaxies, include: a well-determined source distance, a longer lever arm for distance ratios, typically up to an order of magnitude higher sensitivity to dark energy parameters, and a decreased sensitivity to photometric redshift accuracy of the lens and galaxy sources. Disadvantages include: higher statistical errors, potential systematic errors, and the need for disparate surveys that overlap on the sky. Read More

We apply a parameterization-independent approach to fitting the dark energy equation-of-state (EOS). Utilizing the latest type Ia supernova data, combined with results from the cosmic microwave background and baryon acoustic oscillations, we find that the dark energy is consistent with a cosmological constant. We establish independent estimates of the evolution of the dark energy EOS by diagonalizing the covariance matrix. Read More

Galaxy cluster merger statistics are an important component in understanding the formation of large-scale structure. Unfortunately, it is difficult to study merger properties and evolution directly because the identification of cluster mergers in observations is problematic. We use large N-body simulations to study the statistical properties of massive halo mergers, specifically investigating the utility of close halo pairs as proxies for mergers. Read More


While the accelerated expansion of the Universe is by now well established, an underlying scalar field potential possibly responsible for this acceleration remains unconstrained. We present an attempt to reconstruct this potential using recent SN data, under the assumption that the acceleration is driven by a single scalar field. Current approaches to such reconstructions are based upon simple parametric descriptions of either the luminosity distance or the dark energy equation of state. Read More

The clustering properties of dark matter halos are a firm prediction of modern theories of structure formation. We use two large volume, high-resolution N-body simulations to study how the correlation function of massive dark matter halos depends upon their mass and formation history. We find that halos with the lowest concentrations are presently more clustered than those of higher concentration, the size of the effect increasing with halo mass; this agrees with trends found in studies of lower mass halos. Read More

Observations of the gravitational radiation from well-localized, inspiraling compact object binaries can measure absolute source distances with high accuracy. When coupled with an independent determination of redshift through an electromagnetic counterpart, these standard sirens can provide an excellent probe of the expansion history of the Universe and the dark energy. Short gamma-ray bursts, if produced by merging neutron star binaries, would be standard sirens with known redshifts detectable by ground-based GW networks such as LIGO-II, Virgo, and AIGO. Read More

High-z Type Ia supernovae are expected to be gravitationally lensed by the foreground distribution of large-scale structure. The resulting magnification of supernovae is statistically measurable, and the angular correlation of the magnification pattern directly probes the integrated mass density along the line of sight. Measurements of cosmic magnification of supernovae therefore complements galaxy shear measurements in providing a direct measure of clustering of the dark matter. Read More

While luminosity distances from Type Ia supernovae (SNe) provide a powerful probe of cosmological parameters, the accuracy with which these distances can be measured is limited by cosmic magnification due to gravitational lensing by the intervening large-scale structure. Spatial clustering of foreground mass fluctuations leads to correlated errors in distance estimates from SNe. By including the full covariance matrix of supernova distance measurements, we show that a future survey covering more than a few square degrees on the sky, and assuming a total of ~2000 SNe, will be largely unaffected by covariance noise. Read More

The predicted mass function of dark matter halos is essential in connecting observed galaxy cluster counts and models of galaxy clustering to the properties of the primordial density field. We determine the mass function in the concordance $\Lambda$CDM cosmology, as well as its uncertainty, using sixteen $1024^3$-particle nested-volume dark-matter simulations, spanning a mass range of over five orders of magnitude. Using the nested volumes and single-halo tests, we find and correct for a systematic error in the friends-of-friends halo-finding algorithm. Read More

Gravitational waves (GWs) from supermassive binary black hole (BBH) inspirals are potentially powerful standard sirens (the GW analog to standard candles) (Schutz 1986, 2002). Because these systems are well-modeled, the space-based GW observatory LISA will be able to measure the luminosity distance (but not the redshift) to some distant massive BBH systems with 1-10% accuracy. This accuracy is largely limited by pointing error: GW sources generally are poorly localized on the sky. Read More

Observation of the expansion history of the Universe allows exploration of the physical properties and energy density of the Universe's various constituents. Standardizable candles such as Type Ia supernovae remain one of the most promising and robust tools in this endeavor, by allowing for a direct measure of the luminosity distance-redshift curve, and thereby producing detailed studies of the dark energy responsible for the Universe's currently accelerating expansion. As such observations are pushed to higher redshifts, the observed flux is increasingly affected by gravitational lensing magnification due to intervening structure along the line-of-sight. Read More

Gravitational waves from the coalescence of binary black holes carry linear momentum, causing center of mass recoil. This ``radiation rocket'' has important implications for systems with escape speeds of order the recoil velocity. We describe new recoil calculations using high precision black hole perturbation theory to estimate the magnitude of the recoil for the slow ``inspiral'' coalescence phase; coupled with a cruder calculation for the final ``plunge'', we estimate the total recoil imparted to a merged black hole. Read More