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Gravitational Wave Sources in Our Galactic Backyard: Predictions for BHBH, BHNS, and NSNS Binaries Detectable with LISA
Future searches for gravitational waves from space will be sensitive to double compact objects in our Milky Way. We present new simulations of the populations of double black holes (BHBHs), BH neutron stars (BHNSs), and double neutron stars (NSNSs) that will be detectable by the planned space-based gravitational-wave detector called Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA). For our estimates, we use an empirically informed model of the metallicity-dependent star formation history of the Milky Way. We populate it using an extensive suite of binary population-synthesis predictions for varying assumptions relating to mass transfer, common-envelope, supernova kicks, remnant masses, and wind mass-loss physics. For a 4(10) yr LISA mission, we predict between 30–370(50–550) detections over these variations, out of which 6–154 (9–238) are BHBHs, 2–198 (3–289) are BHNSs, and 3–35 (4–57) are NSNSs. We expect that about 50% (60%) can be distinguished from double white dwarf sources based on their mass or eccentricity and localization. Specifically, for about 10% (15%), we expect to be able to determine chirp masses better than 10%. For 13% (13%), we expect sky-localizations better than 1°. We discuss how the variations in the physics assumptions alter the distribution of properties of the detectable systems, even whenmore »
LEGWORK: A Python Package for Computing the Evolution and Detectability of Stellar-origin Gravitational-wave Sources with Space-based Detectors
We present LEGWORK (LISA Evolution and Gravitational Wave Orbit Kit), an open-source Python package for making predictions about stellar-origin gravitational-wave sources and their detectability in LISA or other space-based gravitational-wave detectors. LEGWORK can be used to evolve the orbits of sources due to gravitational-wave emission, calculate gravitational-wave strains (using post-Newtonian approximations), compute signal-to-noise ratios, and visualize the results. It can be applied to a variety of potential sources, including binaries consisting of white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes. Although we focus on double compact objects, in principle LEGWORK can be used for any system with a user-specified orbital evolution, such as those affected by a third object or gas drag. We optimized the package to make it efficient for use in population studies, which can contain tens of millions of sources. This paper describes the package and presents several potential use cases. We explain in detail the derivations of the expressions behind the package as well as identify and clarify some discrepancies currently present in the literature. We hope that LEGWORK will enable and accelerate future studies triggered by the rapidly growing interest in gravitational-wave sources.
Gravitational-wave detectors are starting to reveal the redshift evolution of the binary black hole (BBH) merger rate,
RBBH( z). We make predictions for RBBH( z) as a function of black hole mass for systems originating from isolated binaries. To this end, we investigate correlations between the delay time and black hole mass by means of the suite of binary population synthesis simulations, COMPAS. We distinguish two channels: the common envelope (CE), and the stable Roche-lobe overflow (RLOF) channel, characterized by whether the system has experienced a common envelope or not. We find that the CE channel preferentially produces BHs with masses below about 30 M⊙and short delay times ( tdelay≲ 1 Gyr), while the stable RLOF channel primarily forms systems with BH masses above 30 M⊙and long delay times ( tdelay≳ 1 Gyr). We provide a new fit for the metallicity-dependent specific star formation rate density based on the Illustris TNG simulations, and use this to convert the delay time distributions into a prediction of RBBH( z). This leads to a distinct redshift evolution of RBBH( z) for high and low primary BH masses. We furthermore find that, at high redshift, RBBH( z) is dominated by the CE channel, while at low redshift, it contains a large contribution (∼40%) from the stable RLOF channel.more »