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Gravitational waves as a probe of globular cluster formation and evolution

Romero-Shaw, Isobel M. and Kremer, Kyle and Lasky, Paul D. and Thrane, Eric and Samsing, Johan (2021) Gravitational waves as a probe of globular cluster formation and evolution. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 506 (2). pp. 2362-2372. ISSN 0035-8711. doi:10.1093/mnras/stab1815.

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Globular clusters are considered to be likely breeding grounds for compact binary mergers. In this paper, we demonstrate how the gravitational-wave signals produced by compact object mergers can act as tracers of globular cluster formation and evolution. Globular cluster formation is a long-standing mystery in astrophysics, with multiple competing theories describing when and how globular clusters formed. The limited sensitivity of electromagnetic telescopes inhibits our ability to directly observe globular cluster formation. However, with future audio-band detectors sensitive out to redshifts of z ≈ 50 for GW150914-like signals, gravitational-wave astronomy will enable us to probe the Universe when the first globular clusters formed. We simulate a population of binary black hole mergers from theoretically motivated globular cluster formation models, and construct redshift measurements consistent with the predicted accuracy of third-generation detectors. We show that we can locate the peak time of a cluster formation epoch during reionization to within 0.05 Gyr after 1 yr of observations. The peak of a formation epoch that coincides with the Universal star formation rate can be measured to within 0.4–10.5 Gyr after 1 yr of observations, depending on the relative weighting of the model components.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Romero-Shaw, Isobel M.0000-0002-4181-8090
Kremer, Kyle0000-0002-4086-3180
Lasky, Paul D.0000-0003-3763-1386
Thrane, Eric0000-0002-4418-3895
Samsing, Johan0000-0003-0607-8741
Additional Information:© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Royal Astronomical Society. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model ( Accepted 2021 June 23. Received 2021 June 15; in original form 2020 November 30. Published: 02 July 2021. We thank Duncan Forbes and Michele Trenti for sharing with us their expertise in globular cluster formation scenarios. We also thank Michela Mapelli and Christopher Berry for their comments, which improved the manuscript, and our anonymous reviewer, whose suggestions improved both the paper and the science it contains. KK is supported by an NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowship under award AST-2001751. PDL and ET are supported through Australian Research Council Future Fellowships FT160100112 and FT150100281, ARC Discovery Project DP180103155, and ARC Centre of Excellence CE170100004. JS is supported by the European Unions Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions grant agreement No. 844629. Data Availability: We use publicly available output from the globular cluster simulations of Kremer et al. (2020a), and perform our analysis using publicly available Bayesian inference library bilby (Ashton et al. 2019; Romero-Shaw et al. 2020a).
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics FellowshipAST-2001751
Australian Research CouncilFT160100112
Australian Research CouncilFT150100281
Australian Research CouncilDP180103155
Australian Research CouncilCE170100004
Marie Curie Fellowship844629
Subject Keywords:gravitational waves – stars: black holes – globular clusters: general – galaxies: star formation – dark ages, reionization, first stars – black hole mergers
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20211027-154504560
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Official Citation:Isobel M Romero-Shaw, Kyle Kremer, Paul D Lasky, Eric Thrane, Johan Samsing, Gravitational waves as a probe of globular cluster formation and evolution, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 506, Issue 2, September 2021, Pages 2362–2372,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:111655
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:28 Oct 2021 21:24
Last Modified:28 Oct 2021 21:24

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