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Presented By: Department of Physics

Department Colloquium | Population Properties of Compact Objects From the Second LIGO-Virgo Gravitational-Wave Transient Catalog

Eric Thrane (Monash University)

Department Colloquium Link: http://myumi.ch/GkgBm

When two black holes merge, the resulting gravitational waveform encodes information about the black hole masses and spins. By studying how binary black holes are distributed in mass, spin, and distance, it is possible to probe the fate of massive stars while gaining insights into how compact binaries are assembled. In this talk, I report on the population properties of 47 compact binaries included in the recently published LIGO-Virgo gravitational-wave transient catalog two (GWTC-2). I highlight two key results. First, we find evidence for a feature (a bump or a kink) in the primary black hole mass spectrum at around 35 solar masses. This feature may be related to pair instability supernovae. Second, we find that 12-44% of binary black hole mergers contain black holes with spin vectors tilted by more than 90° away from the orbital angular momentum. This may indicate that at least some binary black holes are assembled dynamically in dense stellar environments. I discuss the implications of these results and highlight emerging questions in gravitational-wave astronomy.

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