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  1. Abstract

    In recent years, a handful of “dark” binaries have been discovered with a nonluminous compact object. Astrometry and radial velocity measurements of the bright companion allow us to measure the post-supernova orbital elements of such a binary. In this paper, we develop a statistical formalism to use such measurements to infer the pre-supernova orbital elements, and the natal kick imparted by the supernova (SN). We apply this formalism to the recent discovery of an X-ray quiet binary with a black hole, VFTS 243, in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Assuming an isotropic, Maxwellian distribution on natal kicks and using broad agnostic mass priors, we find that kick velocity can be constrained toVk< 72 km s−1at 90% confidence. We find that a Blaauw kick cannot be ruled out, and that at least about 0.6Mwas lost during the supernova with 90% confidence. The pre-SN orbital separation is found to be robustly constrained to be around 0.3 au.

     
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  2. Abstract With the growing number of binary black hole (BBH) mergers detected by LIGO/Virgo/KAGRA, several systems have become difficult to explain via isolated binary evolution, having components in the pair-instability mass gap, high orbital eccentricities, and/or spin–orbit misalignment. Here we focus on GW191109_010717, a BBH merger with component masses of 65 − 11 + 11 and 47 − 13 + 15 M ⊙ and an effective spin of − 0.29 − 0.31 + 0.42 , which could imply a spin–orbit misalignment of more than π /2 rad for at least one of its components. Besides its component masses being in the pair-instability mass gap, we show that isolated binary evolution is unlikely to reproduce the proposed spin–orbit misalignment of GW191109 with high confidence. On the other hand, we demonstrate that BBHs dynamically assembled in dense star clusters would naturally reproduce the spin–orbit misalignment and masses of GW191109 and the rates of GW191109-like events if at least one of the components were to be a second-generation BH. Finally, we generalize our results to all events with a measured negative effective spin, arguing that GW200225 also has a likely dynamical origin. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 21, 2024
  3. Abstract

    In their most recent observing run, the LIGO-Virgo-KAGRA Collaboration observed gravitational waves from compact binary mergers with highly asymmetric mass ratios, including both binary black holes (BBHs) and neutron star-black holes (NSBHs). It appears that NSBHs with mass ratiosq≃ 0.2 are more common than equally asymmetric BBHs, but the reason for this remains unclear. We use the binary population synthesis codecosmicto investigate the evolutionary pathways leading to the formation and merger of asymmetric compact binaries. We find that within the context of isolated binary stellar evolution, most asymmetric mergers start off as asymmetric stellar binaries. Because of the initial asymmetry, these systems tend to first undergo a dynamically unstable mass transfer phase. However, after the first star collapses into a compact object, the mass ratio is close to unity and the second phase of mass transfer is usually stable. According to our simulations, this stable mass transfer fails to shrink the orbit enough on its own for the system to merge. Instead, the natal kick received by the second-born compact object during its collapse is key in determining how many of these systems can merge. For the most asymmetric systems with mass ratios ofq≤ 0.1, the merging systems in our models receive an average kick magnitude of 255 km s−1during the second collapse, while the average kick for non-merging systems is 59 km s−1. Because lower mass compact objects, like neutron stars, are expected to receive larger natal kicks than higher mass BHs, this may explain why asymmetric NSBH systems merge more frequently than asymmetric BBH systems.

     
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  4. Abstract

    The Gravity Spy project aims to uncover the origins of glitches, transient bursts of noise that hamper analysis of gravitational-wave data. By using both the work of citizen-science volunteers and machine learning algorithms, the Gravity Spy project enables reliable classification of glitches. Citizen science and machine learning are intrinsically coupled within the Gravity Spy framework, with machine learning classifications providing a rapid first-pass classification of the dataset and enabling tiered volunteer training, and volunteer-based classifications verifying the machine classifications, bolstering the machine learning training set and identifying new morphological classes of glitches. These classifications are now routinely used in studies characterizing the performance of the LIGO gravitational-wave detectors. Providing the volunteers with a training framework that teaches them to classify a wide range of glitches, as well as additional tools to aid their investigations of interesting glitches, empowers them to make discoveries of new classes of glitches. This demonstrates that, when giving suitable support, volunteers can go beyond simple classification tasks to identify new features in data at a level comparable to domain experts. The Gravity Spy project is now providing volunteers with more complicated data that includes auxiliary monitors of the detector to identify the root cause of glitches.

     
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  5. Abstract Upcoming LIGO–Virgo–KAGRA (LVK) observing runs are expected to detect a variety of inspiralling gravitational-wave (GW) events that come from black hole and neutron star binary mergers. Detection of noninspiral GW sources is also anticipated. We report the discovery of a new class of noninspiral GW sources—the end states of massive stars—that can produce the brightest simulated stochastic GW burst signal in the LVK bands known to date, and could be detectable in LVK run A+. Some dying massive stars launch bipolar relativistic jets, which inflate a turbulent energetic bubble—cocoon—inside of the star. We simulate such a system using state-of-the-art 3D general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic simulations and show that these cocoons emit quasi-isotropic GW emission in the LVK band, ∼10–100 Hz, over a characteristic jet activity timescale ∼10–100 s. Our first-principles simulations show that jets exhibit a wobbling behavior, in which case cocoon-powered GWs might be detected already in LVK run A+, but it is more likely that these GWs will be detected by the third-generation GW detectors with an estimated rate of ∼10 events yr −1 . The detection rate drops to ∼1% of that value if all jets were to feature a traditional axisymmetric structure instead of a wobble. Accompanied by electromagnetic emission from the energetic core-collapse supernova and the cocoon, we predict that collapsars are powerful multimessenger events. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2024
  6. Abstract The relative spin orientations of black holes (BHs) in binaries encode their evolutionary history: BHs assembled dynamically should have isotropically distributed spins, while spins of BHs originating in the field should be aligned with the orbital angular momentum. In this article, we introduce a simple population model for these dynamical and field binaries that uses spin orientations as an anchor to disentangle these two evolutionary channels. We then analyze binary BH mergers in the Third Gravitational-Wave Transient Catalog (GWTC-3) and ask whether BHs from the isotropic-spin population possess different distributions of mass ratios, spin magnitudes, or redshifts from the preferentially aligned-spin population. We find no compelling evidence that binary BHs in GWTC-3 have different source-property distributions depending on their spin alignment, but we do find that the dynamical and field channels cannot both have mass-ratio distributions that strongly favor equal masses. We give an example of how this can be used to provide insights into the various processes that drive these BHs to merge. We also find that the current detections are insufficient in extracting differences in spin magnitude or redshift distributions of isotropic and aligned-spin populations. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2024
  7. Abstract

    There are few observed high-mass X-ray binaries (HMXBs) that harbor massive black holes (BHs), and none are likely to result in a binary black hole (BBH) that merges within a Hubble time; however, we know that massive merging BBHs exist from gravitational-wave (GW) observations. We investigate the role that X-ray and GW observational selection effects play in determining the properties of their respective detected binary populations. We find that, as a result of selection effects, detectable HMXBs and detectable BBHs form at different redshifts and metallicities, with detectable HMXBs forming at much lower redshifts and higher metallicities than detectable BBHs. We also find disparities in the mass distributions of these populations, with detectable merging BBH progenitors pulling to higher component masses relative to the full detectable HMXB population. Fewer than 3% of detectable HMXBs host BHs >35Min our simulated populations. Furthermore, we find the probability that a detectable HMXB will merge as a BBH system within a Hubble time is ≃0.6%. Thus, it is unsurprising that no currently observed HMXB is predicted to form a merging BBH with high probability.

     
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  8. Abstract It has been proposed that some black holes (BHs) in binary black hole (BBH) systems are born from “hierarchical mergers” (HMs), i.e., earlier mergers of smaller BHs. These HM products have spin magnitudes χ ∼ 0.7, and, if they are dynamically assembled into BBH systems, their spin orientations will sometimes be antialigned with the binary orbital angular momentum. In fact, as Baibhav et al. showed, ∼16% of BBH systems that include HM products will have an effective inspiral spin parameter, χ eff < −0.3. Nevertheless, the LIGO–Virgo–KAGRA (LVK) gravitational-wave (GW) detectors have yet to observe a BBH system with χ eff ≲ −0.2, leading to upper limits on the fraction of HM products in the population. We fit the astrophysical mass and spin distribution of BBH systems and measure the fraction of BBH systems with χ eff < −0.3, which implies an upper limit on the HM fraction. We find that fewer than 26% of systems in the underlying BBH population include HM products (90% credibility). Even among BBH systems with primary masses m 1 = 60 M ⊙ , the HM fraction is less than 69%, which may constrain the location of the pair-instability mass gap. With 300 GW events (to be expected in the LVK’s next observing run), if we fail to observe a BBH with χ eff < −0.3, we can conclude that the HM fraction is smaller than 2.5 − 2.2 + 9.1 % . 
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  9. Abstract

    Mass measurements from low-mass black hole X-ray binaries (LMXBs) and radio pulsars have been used to identify a gap between the most massive neutron stars (NSs) and the least massive black holes (BHs). BH mass measurements in LMXBs are typically only possible for transient systems: outburst periods enable detection via all-sky X-ray monitors, while quiescent periods enable radial velocity measurements of the low-mass donor. We quantitatively study selection biases due to the requirement of transient behavior for BH mass measurements. Using rapid population synthesis simulations (COSMIC), detailed binary stellar-evolution models (MESA), and the disk instability model of transient behavior, we demonstrate that transient LMXB selection effects introduce observational biases, and can suppress mass-gap BHs in the observed sample. However, we find a population of transient LMXBs with mass-gap BHs form through accretion-induced collapse of an NS during the LMXB phase, which is inconsistent with observations. These results are robust against variations of binary evolution prescriptions. The significance of this accretion-induced collapse population depends upon the maximum NS birth massMNS,birthmax. To reflect the observed dearth of low-mass BHs,COSMICandMESAmodels favorMNS,birthmax2M. In the absence of further observational biases against LMXBs with mass-gap BHs, our results indicate the need for additional physics connected to the modeling of LMXB formation and evolution.

     
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  10. Abstract

    When a compact object is formed in a binary, any mass lost during core collapse will impart a kick on the binary’s center of mass. Asymmetries in this mass loss or neutrino emission would impart an additional natal kick on the remnant black hole or neutron star, whether it was formed in a binary or in isolation. While it is well established that neutron stars receive natal kicks upon formation, it is unclear whether black holes do as well. Here, we consider the low-mass X-ray binary MAXI J1305-704, which has been reported to have a space velocity ≳200 km s−1. In addition to integrating its trajectory to infer its velocity upon formation of its black hole, we account for recent estimates of its period, black hole mass, mass ratio, and donor effective temperature from photometric and spectroscopic observations. We find that if MAXI J1305-704 formed via isolated binary evolution in the thick Galactic disk, then the supernova that formed its black hole imparted a natal kick of at least 70 km s−1while ejecting less than ≃1Mwith 95% confidence assuming uninformative priors on mass loss and natal kick velocity.

     
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