skip to main content

Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "Holz, Daniel E."

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. Abstract

    When modeling the population of merging binary black holes, analyses have generally focused on characterizing the distribution of primary (i.e., more massive) black holes in the binary, while using simplistic prescriptions for the distribution of secondary masses. However, the secondary mass distribution and its relationship to the primary mass distribution provide a fundamental observational constraint on the formation history of coalescing binary black holes. If both black holes experience similar stellar evolutionary processes prior to collapse, as might be expected in dynamical formation channels, the primary and secondary mass distributions would show similar features. If they follow distinct evolutionary pathways (for example, due to binary interactions that break symmetry between the initially more massive and less massive stars), their mass distributions may differ. We present the first analysis of the binary black hole population that explicitly fits for the secondary mass distribution. We find that the data is consistent with a ∼30Mpeak existing only in the distribution of secondary rather than primary masses. This would have major implications for our understanding of the formation of these binaries. Alternatively, the data is consistent with the peak existing in both component mass distributions, a possibility not included in most previous studies. In either case, the peak is observed at31.42.6+2.3M, which is shifted lower than the value obtained in previous analyses of the marginal primary mass distribution, placing this feature in further tension with expectations from a pulsational pair-instability supernova pileup.

    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    Several features in the mass spectrum of merging binary black holes (BBHs) have been identified using data from the Third Gravitational Wave Transient Catalog (GWTC-3). These features are of particular interest as they may encode the uncertain mechanism of BBH formation. We assess if the features are statistically significant or the result of Poisson noise due to the finite number of observed events. We simulate catalogs of BBHs whose underlying distribution does not have the features of interest, apply the analysis previously performed on GWTC-3, and determine how often such features are spuriously found. We find that one of the features found in GWTC-3, the peak at ∼35M, cannot be explained by Poisson noise alone: peaks as significant occur in 1.7% of catalogs generated from a featureless population. This peak is therefore likely to be of astrophysical origin. The data is suggestive of an additional significant peak at ∼10M, though the exact location of this feature is not resolvable with current observations. Additional structure beyond a power law, such as the purported dip at ∼14M, can be explained by Poisson noise. We also provide a publicly available package,GWMockCat, that creates simulated catalogs of BBH events with correlated measurement uncertainty and selection effects according to user-specified underlying distributions and detector sensitivities.

    more » « less
  3. Abstract The population of binary black hole mergers identified through gravitational waves has uncovered unexpected features in the intrinsic properties of black holes in the universe. One particularly surprising and exciting result is the possible existence of black holes in the pair-instability mass gap, ∼50–120 M ⊙ . Dense stellar environments can populate this region of mass space through hierarchical mergers, with the retention efficiency of black hole merger products strongly dependent on the escape velocity of the host environment. We use simple toy models to represent hierarchical merger scenarios in various dynamical environments. We find that hierarchical mergers in environments with high escape velocities (≳300 km s −1 ) are efficiently retained. If such environments dominate the binary black hole merger rate, this would lead to an abundance of high-mass mergers that is potentially incompatible with the empirical mass spectrum from the current catalog of binary black hole mergers. Models that efficiently generate hierarchical mergers, and contribute significantly to the observed population, must therefore be tuned to avoid a “cluster catastrophe” of overproducing binary black hole mergers within and above the pair-instability mass gap. 
    more » « less
  4. Abstract The delay time distribution of neutron star mergers provides critical insights into binary evolution processes and the merger rate evolution of compact object binaries. However, current observational constraints on this delay time distribution rely on the small sample of Galactic double neutron stars (with uncertain selection effects), a single multimessenger gravitational wave event, and indirect evidence of neutron star mergers based on r -process enrichment. We use a sample of 68 host galaxies of short gamma-ray bursts to place novel constraints on the delay time distribution and leverage this result to infer the merger rate evolution of compact object binaries containing neutron stars. We recover a power-law slope of α = − 1.83 − 0.39 + 0.35 (median and 90% credible interval) with α < −1.31 at 99% credibility, a minimum delay time of t min = 184 − 79 + 67 Myr with t min > 72 Myr at 99% credibility, and a maximum delay time constrained to t max > 7.95 Gyr at 99% credibility. We find these constraints to be broadly consistent with theoretical expectations, although our recovered power-law slope is substantially steeper than the conventional value of α = −1, and our minimum delay time is larger than the typically assumed value of 10 Myr. Pairing this cosmological probe of the fate of compact object binary systems with the Galactic population of double neutron stars will be crucial for understanding the unique selection effects governing both of these populations. In addition to probing a significantly larger redshift regime of neutron star mergers than possible with current gravitational wave detectors, complementing our results with future multimessenger gravitational wave events will also help determine if short gamma-ray bursts ubiquitously result from compact object binary mergers. 
    more » « less
  5. Abstract Strong gravitational lensing of gravitational wave sources offers a novel probe of both the lens galaxy and the binary source population. In particular, the strong lensing event rate and the time-delay distribution of multiply imaged gravitational-wave binary coalescence events can be used to constrain the mass distribution of the lenses as well as the intrinsic properties of the source population. We calculate the strong lensing event rate for a range of second- (2G) and third-generation (3G) detectors, including Advanced LIGO/Virgo, A+, Einstein Telescope (ET), and Cosmic Explorer (CE). For 3G detectors, we find that ∼0.1% of observed events are expected to be strongly lensed. We predict detections of ∼1 lensing pair per year with A+, and ∼50 pairs per year with ET/CE. These rates are highly sensitive to the characteristic galaxy velocity dispersion, σ * , implying that observations of the rates will be a sensitive probe of lens properties. We explore using the time-delay distribution between multiply imaged gravitational-wave sources to constrain properties of the lenses. We find that 3G detectors would constrain σ * to ∼21% after 5 yr. Finally, we show that the presence or absence of strong lensing within the detected population provides useful insights into the source redshift and mass distribution out to redshifts beyond the peak of the star formation rate, which can be used to constrain formation channels and their relation to the star formation rate and delay-time distributions for these systems. 
    more » « less
  6. Abstract We outline the “dark siren” galaxy catalog method for cosmological inference using gravitational wave (GW) standard sirens, clarifying some common misconceptions in the implementation of this method. When a confident transient electromagnetic counterpart to a GW event is unavailable, the identification of a unique host galaxy is in general challenging. Instead, as originally proposed by Schutz, one can consult a galaxy catalog and implement a dark siren statistical approach incorporating all potential host galaxies within the localization volume. Trott & Huterer recently claimed that this approach results in a biased estimate of the Hubble constant, H 0 , when implemented on mock data, even if optimistic assumptions are made. We demonstrate explicitly that, as previously shown by multiple independent groups, the dark siren statistical method leads to an unbiased posterior when the method is applied to the data correctly. We highlight common sources of error possible to make in the generation of mock data and implementation of the statistical framework, including the mismodeling of selection effects and inconsistent implementations of the Bayesian framework, which can lead to a spurious bias. 
    more » « less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 22, 2024