We present models of realistic globular clusters with post-Newtonian dynamics for black holes. By modeling the relativistic accelerations and gravitational-wave emission in isolated binaries and during three- and four-body encounters, we find that nearly half of all binary black hole mergers occur inside the cluster, with about 10% of those mergers entering the LIGO/Virgo band with eccentricities greater than 0.1. In-cluster mergers lead to the birth of a second generation of black holes with larger masses and high spins, which, depending on the black hole natal spins, can sometimes be retained in the cluster and merge again. As a result, globular clusters can produce merging binaries with detectable spins regardless of the birth spins of black holes formed from massive stars. These second-generation black holes would also populate any upper mass gap created by pair-instability supernovae.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)