Accreting Black Hole Binaries in Globular Clusters

Kyle Kremer, Sourav Chatterjee, Carl L. Rodriguez, Frederic A. Rasio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


We explore the formation of mass-transferring binary systems containing black holes (BHs) within globular clusters (GC). We show that it is possible to form mass-transferring BH binaries with main sequence, giant, and white dwarf companions with a variety of orbital parameters in GCs spanning a large range in present-day properties. All mass-transferring BH binaries found in our models at late times are dynamically created. The BHs in these systems experienced a median of ∼30 dynamical encounters within the cluster before and after acquiring the donor. Furthermore, we show that the presence of mass-transferring BH systems has little correlation with the total number of BHs within the cluster at any time. This is because the net rate of formation of BH-non-BH binaries in a cluster is largely independent of the total number of retained BHs. Our results suggest that the detection of a mass-transferring BH binary in a GC does not necessarily indicate that the host cluster contains a large BH population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number29
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • X-rays: binaries
  • globular clusters: general
  • methods: numerical
  • scattering
  • stars: black holes
  • stars: kinematics and dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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