Post-Newtonian Dynamics in Dense Star Clusters: Highly Eccentric, Highly Spinning, and Repeated Binary Black Hole Mergers

Carl L. Rodriguez, Pau Amaro-Seoane, Sourav Chatterjee, Frederic A. Rasio

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Abstract

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.

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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