Seminar

Special pizza lunch talk: Stellar dynamics behind the first LIGO source GW150914

The detection of GW150914 by the Laster Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) opens a new episode in astronomy in which we can use Einstein’s ripples in spacetime to probe astronomical objects and investigate their distribution and evolution. In this talk, I will briefly review the properties of GW150914, namely the nature of its components (black holes), the components’ masses, spin parameters, and orbital eccentricity. Then I will discuss in depth that these properties bear imprints of a series of stellar dynamical processes, through which black hole binaries (BHBs) are assembled. In particular, I will point out a universal correlation for LIGO BHBs-between large black hole mass, low spin, and low orbital eccentricity-that can be derived from the current understanding of stellar dynamics. This prediction is now proven to be true by the detection of GW150914. The success not only demonstrates the power of stellar dynamics, but also provides new guidelines for modeling waveforms and searching for gravitational-wave signals in the LIGO data stream.

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