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Black hole mergers and blue stragglers from hierarchical triples formed in globular clusters

Antonini, Fabio, Chatterjee, Sourav, Rodriguez, Carl L., Morscher, Meagan, Pattabiraman, Bharath, Kalogera, Vicky and Rasio, Frederic A. 2016. Black hole mergers and blue stragglers from hierarchical triples formed in globular clusters. Astrophysical Journal 816 (2) , 65. 10.3847/0004-637X/816/2/65

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Hierarchical triple-star systems are expected to form frequently via close binary–binary encounters in the dense cores of globular clusters (GCs). In a sufficiently inclined triple, gravitational interactions between the inner and outer binary can cause large-amplitude oscillations in the eccentricity of the inner orbit ('Lidov–Kozai (LK) cycles'), which can lead to a collision and merger of the two inner components. In this paper we use Monte Carlo models of dense star clusters to identify all triple systems formed dynamically and we compute their evolution using a highly accurate three-body integrator which incorporates relativistic and tidal effects. We find that a large fraction of these triples evolve through a non-secular dynamical phase which can drive the inner binary to higher eccentricities than predicted by the standard secular perturbation theory (even including octupole-order terms). We place constraints on the importance of LK-induced mergers for producing: (i) gravitational wave sources detectable by Advanced LIGO (aLIGO), for triples with an inner pair of stellar black holes (BHs); and (ii) blue straggler stars, for triples with main-sequence-star components. We find a realistic aLIGO detection rate of BH mergers due to the LK mechanism of ~1 yr−1, with about 20% of these having a finite eccentricity when they first chirp into the aLIGO frequency band. While rare, these events are likely to dominate among eccentric compact object inspirals that are potentially detectable by aLIGO. For blue stragglers, we find that the LK mechanism can contribute up to ~10% of their total numbers in GCs

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Publisher: American Astronomical Society
ISSN: 0004-637X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 4 February 2020
Date of Acceptance: 30 October 2015
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2020 13:45

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