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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  2. Abstract GW190521 was the most massive black hole merger discovered by LIGO/Virgo so far, with masses in tension with stellar evolution models. A possible explanation of such heavy black holes is that they themselves are the remnants of previous mergers of lighter black holes. Here we estimate the masses of the ancestral black holes of GW190521, assuming it is the end product of previous mergers. We find that the heaviest parental black holes has a mass of 56 − 18 + 20 M ⊙ (90% credible level). We find 70% probability that it is in the 50 M ⊙ –120more »M ⊙ mass gap, indicating that it may also be the end product of a previous merger. We therefore also compute the expected mass distributions of the “grandparent” black holes of GW190521, assuming they existed. Ancestral black hole masses could represent an additional puzzle piece in identifying the origin of LIGO/Virgo/KAGRA’s heaviest black holes.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 10, 2023
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023
  5. 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
  6. Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2023
  7. Abstract The observed distributions of the source properties from gravitational-wave (GW) detections are biased due to the selection effects and detection criteria in the detections, analogous to the Malmquist bias. In this work, this observation bias is investigated through its fundamental statistical and physical origins. An efficient semi-analytical formulation for its estimation is derived, which is as accurate as the standard method of numerical simulations, with only a millionth of the computational cost. Then, the estimated bias is used for unmodeled inferences on the binary black hole population. These inferences show additional structures, specifically two peaks in the joint massmore »distribution around binary masses ∼10 M ⊙ and ∼30 M ⊙ . Example ready-to-use scripts and some produced data sets for this method are shared in an online repository.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  8. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2022
  9. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2022
  10. ABSTRACT Recent gravitational wave (GW) observations by LIGO/Virgo show evidence for hierarchical mergers, where the merging BHs are the remnants of previous BH merger events. These events may carry important clues about the astrophysical host environments of the GW sources. In this paper, we present the distributions of the effective spin parameter (χeff), the precession spin parameter (χp), and the chirp mass (mchirp) expected in hierarchical mergers. Under a wide range of assumptions, hierarchical mergers produce (i) a monotonic increase of the average of the typical total spin for merging binaries, which we characterize with $\scriptstyle{{\bar{\chi }}_\mathrm{typ}\equiv \overline{(\chi _\mathrm{eff}^2+\chi _\mathrm{p}^2)^{1/2}}}$,more »up to roughly the maximum mchirp among first-generation (1g) BHs, and (ii) a plateau at ${\bar{\chi }}_\mathrm{typ}\sim 0.6$ at higher mchirp. We suggest that the maximum mass and typical spin magnitudes for 1g BHs can be estimated from ${\bar{\chi }}_\mathrm{typ}$ as a function of mchirp. The GW data observed in LIGO/Virgo O1–O3a prefers an increase in ${\bar{\chi }}_\mathrm{typ}$ at low mchirp, which is consistent with the growth of the BH spin magnitude by hierarchical mergers at ∼2σ confidence. A Bayesian analysis using the χeff, χp, and mchirp distributions suggests that 1g BHs have the maximum mass of ∼15–$30\, {\rm M}_\odot$ if the majority of mergers are of high-generation BHs (not among 1g–1g BHs), which is consistent with mergers in active galactic nucleus discs and/or nuclear star clusters, while if mergers mainly originate from globular clusters, 1g BHs are favoured to have non-zero spin magnitudes of ∼0.3. We also forecast that signatures for hierarchical mergers in the ${\bar{\chi }}_\mathrm{typ}$ distribution can be confidently recovered once the number of GW events increases to ≳ O(100).« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 7, 2022