Colloquium

Relativistic mergers of black hole binaries

Gravitational waves are a prediction of general relativity, and with ground-based detectors now running in their advanced configuration, we will soon be able to measure them directly for the first time. Binaries of stellar-mass black holes are among the most interesting sources for these detectors. Unfortunately, the many different parameters associated with the problem make it difficult to promptly produce a large set of waveforms for the search in the data stream. To reduce the number of templates to develop, and hence speed up the search, one must restrict some of the physical parameters to a certain range of values predicted by either (electromagnetic) observations or theoretical modeling. This allows one to avoid the need to blindly cover the whole parameter space. In this work we show that "hyperstellar" black holes (HSBs) with masses $30 lesssim M_{ m BH}/M_{odot} lesssim 100$, i.e black holes significantly larger than the nominal $10,M_{odot}$, will have an associated low value for the spin, i.e. $a<0.5$. We prove that this is true regardless of the formation channel, and that when two HSBs build a binary, each of the spin magnitudes is also low, and the binary members have similar masses. We also address the distribution of the eccentricities of HSB binaries in dense stellar systems using a large suite of three-body scattering experiments with a highly accurate integrator, including relativistic corrections up to ${cal O}(1/c^5)$. We find that most sources in the detector band will have nearly zero eccentricities. This correlation between large, similar masses, low spin and low eccentricity will help to accelerate the searches for gravitational-wave signals.

Followed by wine and cheese in Pupin 1402.

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