Accelerated binary black holes in globular clusters: Forecasts and detectability in the era of space-based gravitational-wave detectors

Avinash Tiwari*, Aditya Vijaykumar, Shasvath J. Kapadia, Giacomo Fragione, Sourav Chatterjee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The motion of the centre of mass of a coalescing binary black hole (BBH) in a gravitational potential, imprints a line-of-sight acceleration (LOSA) on to the emitted gravitational-wave (GW) signal. The acceleration could be sufficiently large in dense stellar environments, such as globular clusters (GCs), to be detectable with next-generation space-based detectors. In this work, we use outputs of the cluster monte carlo (cmc) simulations of dense star clusters to forecast the distribution of detectable LOSAs in DECIGO and LISA eras. We study the effect of cluster properties-metallicity, virial and galactocentric radii-on the distribution of detectable accelerations, account for cosmologically motivated distributions of cluster formation times, masses, and metallicities, and also incorporate the delay time between the formation of BBHs and their merger in our analysis. We find that larger metallicities provide a larger fraction of detectable accelerations by virtue of a greater abundance of relatively lighter BBHs, which allow a higher number of GW cycles in the detectable frequency band. Conversely, smaller metallicities result in fewer detections, most of which come from relatively more massive BBHs with fewer cycles but larger LOSAs. We similarly find correlations between the virial radii of the clusters and the fractions of detectable accelerations. Our work, therefore, provides an important science case for space-based GW detectors in the context of probing GC properties via the detection of LOSAs of merging BBHs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8586-8597
Number of pages12
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2024


  • globular clusters: general
  • gravitational waves

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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