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  1. ABSTRACT The association of GRB170817A with a binary neutron star (BNS) merger has revealed that BNSs produce at least a fraction of short gamma-ray bursts (SGRBs). As gravitational wave (GW) detectors push their horizons, it is important to assess coupled electromagnetic (EM)/GW probabilities and maximize observational prospects. Here, we perform BNS population synthesis calculations with the code mobse, seeding the binaries in galaxies at three representative redshifts, $z$ = 0.01, 0.1, and 1 of the Illustris TNG50 simulation. The binaries are evolved and their locations numerically tracked in the host galactic potentials until merger. Adopting the microphysics parameters of GRB170817A, wemore »numerically compute the broad-band light curves of jets from BNS mergers, with the afterglow brightness dependent on the local medium density at the merger site. We perform Monte Carlo simulations of the resulting EM population assuming either a random viewing angle with respect to the jet, or a jet aligned with the orbital angular momentum of the binary, which biases the viewing angle probability for GW-triggered events. We find a gamma-ray detection probability of $\sim\!2{{\rm per\ cent}},10{{\rm per\ cent}},\mathrm{and}\ 40{{\rm per\ cent}}$ for BNSs at $z$ = 1, 0.1, and 0.01, respectively, for the random case, rising to $\sim\!75{{\rm per\ cent}}$ for the $z$ = 0.01, GW-triggered aligned case. Afterglow detection probabilities of GW-triggered BNS mergers vary in the range of $\sim \! 0.3 \!-\! 0.5{{\rm per\ cent}}$, with higher values for aligned jets, and are comparable across the high- and low-energy bands, unlike gamma-ray-triggered events (cosmological SGRBs) which are significantly brighter at higher energies. We further quantify observational biases with respect to host galaxy masses.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 29, 2023
  2. Abstract Stellar-mass BHs (sBHs) are predicted to be embedded in active galactic nucleus (AGN) disks owing to gravitational drag and in situ star formation. However, we find that, due to a high gas density in an AGN disk environment, compact objects may rapidly grow to intermediate-mass BHs and deplete matter from the AGN disk unless accretion is suppressed by some feedback process(es). These consequences are inconsistent with AGN observations and the dynamics of the Galactic center. Here we consider mechanical feedback mechanisms for the reduction of gas accretion. Rapidly accreting sBHs launch winds and/or jets via the Blandford–Znajek mechanism, whichmore »produce high-pressure shocks and cocoons. Such a shock and cocoon can spread laterally in the plane of the disk, eject the outer regions of a circum-sBH disk (CsBD), and puncture a hole in the AGN disk with horizontal size comparable to the disk scale height. Since the depletion timescale of the bound CsBD is much shorter than the resupply timescale of gas to the sBH, the time-averaged accretion rate onto sBHs is reduced by this process by a factor of ∼10–100. This feedback mechanism can therefore help alleviate the sBH overgrowth and AGN disk depletion problems. On the other hand, we find that cocoons of jets can unbind a large fraction of the gas accreting in the disks of less massive supermassive BHs (SMBHs), which may help explain the dearth of high-Eddington-ratio AGNs with SMBH mass ≲ 10 5 M ⊙ .« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023
  3. Abstract The disks of active galactic nuclei (AGNs) may be important sites of binary black hole (BBH) mergers. Here we show via numerical experiments with the high-accuracy, high-precision code SpaceHub that broken symmetry in dynamical encounters in AGN disks can lead to asymmetry between prograde and retrograde BBH mergers. The direction of the hardening asymmetry depends on the initial binary semimajor axis. Under the assumption that the spin of the BHs becomes aligned with the angular momentum of the disk on a short timescale compared with the encounter timescale, an asymmetric distribution of mass-weighted projected spin χ eff is predictedmore »in LIGO–Virgo detections of BBH mergers from AGN disks. In particular, this model predicts that positive χ eff BBH mergers are most likely for encounters with massive tertiaries in migration traps at radial distances ≳500–600 gravitational radii.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
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  5. Abstract Stars can either be formed in or captured by the accretion disks in active galactic nuclei (AGNs). These AGN stars are irradiated and subject to extreme levels of accretion, which can turn even low-mass stars into very massive ones ( M > 100 M ⊙ ) whose evolution may result in the formation of massive compact objects ( M > 10 M ⊙ ). Here we explore the spins of these AGN stars and the remnants they leave behind. We find that AGN stars rapidly spin up via accretion, eventually reaching near-critical rotation rates. They further maintain near-critical rotationmore »even as they shed their envelopes, become compact, and undergo late stages of burning. This makes them good candidates to produce high-spin massive black holes, such as the ones seen by LIGO-Virgo in GW 190521g, as well as long gamma-ray bursts and the associated chemical pollution of the AGN disk.« less
  6. ABSTRACT In dense star clusters, such as globular and open clusters, dynamical interactions between stars and black holes (BHs) can be extremely frequent, leading to various astrophysical transients. Close encounters between a star and a stellar mass BH make it possible for the star to be tidally disrupted by the BH. Due to the relative low mass of the BH and the small cross-section of the tidal disruption event (TDE) for cases with high penetration, disruptions caused by close encounters are usually partial disruptions. The existence of the remnant stellar core and its non-negligible mass compared to the stellar massmore »BH alters the accretion process significantly. We study this problem with SPH simulations using the code Phantom, with the inclusion of radiation pressure, which is important for small mass BHs. Additionally, we develop a new, more general method of computing the fallback rate which does not rely on any approximation. Our study shows that the powerlaw slope of the fallback rate has a strong dependence on the mass of the BH in the stellar mass BH regime. Furthermore, in this regime, self-gravity of the fallback stream and local instabilities become more significant, and cause the disrupted material to collapse into small clumps before returning to the BH. This results in an abrupt increase of the fallback rate, which can significantly deviate from a powerlaw. Our results will help in the identification of TDEs by stellar mass BHs in dense clusters.« less
  7. Gamma-ray burst (GRB) 190114C was a bright burst that occurred in the local Universe ( z  = 0.425). It was the first GRB ever detected at teraelectronvolt (TeV) energies, and this was thanks to MAGIC. We characterize the ambient medium properties of the host galaxy through the study of the absorbing X-ray column density. Using a combination of Swift , XMM-Newton , and NuSTAR observations, we find that the GRB X-ray spectrum is characterized by a high column density that is well in excess of the expected Milky Way value and decreases, by a factor of ∼2, around ∼10 5 s.more »Such a variability is not common in GRBs. The most straightforward interpretation of the variability in terms of the photoionization of the ambient medium is not able to account for the decrease at such late times, when the source flux is less intense. Instead, we interpret the decrease as due to a clumped absorber, denser along the line of sight and surrounded by lower-density gas. After the detection at TeV energies of GRB 190114C, two other GRBs were promptly detected. These two also have high intrinsic column density values, and there are hints for a decrease in their column densities as well. We speculate that a high local column density might be a common ingredient of TeV-detected GRBs.« less