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  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. Long-duration gamma-ray bursts are thought to be associated with the core-collapse of massive, rapidly spinning stars and the formation of black holes. However, efficient angular momentum transport in stellar interiors, currently supported by asteroseismic and gravitational-wave constraints, leads to predominantly slowly-spinning stellar cores. Here, we report on binary stellar evolution and population synthesis calculations, showing that tidal interactions in close binaries not only can explain the observed subpopulation of spinning, merging binary black holes but also lead to long gamma-ray bursts at the time of black-hole formation. Given our model calibration against the distribution of isotropic-equivalent energies of luminous long gamma-ray bursts, we find that ≈10% of the GWTC-2 reported binary black holes had a luminous long gamma-ray burst associated with their formation, with GW190517 and GW190719 having a probability of ≈85% and ≈60%, respectively, being among them. Moreover, given an assumption about their average beaming fraction, our model predicts the rate density of long gamma-ray bursts, as a function of redshift, originating from this channel. For a constant beaming fraction f B  ∼ 0.05 our model predicts a rate density comparable to the observed one, throughout the redshift range, while, at redshift z  ∈ [0, 2.5], a tentative comparison with the metallicity distribution of observed LGRB host galaxies implies that between 20% to 85% of the observed long gamma-ray bursts may originate from progenitors of merging binary black holes. The proposed link between a potentially significant fraction of observed, luminous long gamma-ray bursts and the progenitors of spinning binary black-hole mergers allows us to probe the latter well outside the horizon of current-generation gravitational wave observatories, and out to cosmological distances. 
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  4. null (Ed.)
    Long gamma-ray bursts are associated with the core-collapse of massive, rapidly spinning stars. However, the believed efficient angular momentum transport in stellar interiors leads to predominantly slowly-spinning stellar cores. Here, we report on binary stellar evolution and population synthesis calculations, showing that tidal interactions in close binaries not only can explain the observed sub-population of spinning, merging binary black holes, but also lead to long gamma-ray bursts at the time of black-hole formation, with rates matching the empirical ones. We find that ≈10% of the GWTC-2 reported binary black holes had a long gamma-ray burst associated with their formation, with GW190517 and GW190719 having a probability of ≈85% and ≈60%, respectively, being among them. 
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