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The Black Hole Formation Probability

Clausen, Drew and Piro, Anthony L. and Ott, Christian D. (2015) The Black Hole Formation Probability. Astrophysical Journal, 799 (2). Art. No. 190. ISSN 0004-637X. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/799/2/190.

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A longstanding question in stellar evolution is which massive stars produce black holes (BHs) rather than neutron stars (NSs) upon death. It has been common practice to assume that a given zero-age main sequence (ZAMS) mass star (and perhaps a given metallicity) simply produces either an NS or a BH, but this fails to account for a myriad of other variables that may effect this outcome, such as spin, binarity, or even stochastic differences in the stellar structure near core collapse. We argue that instead a probabilistic description of NS versus BH formation may be better suited to account for the current uncertainties in understanding how massive stars die. We present an initial exploration of the probability that a star will make a BH as a function of its ZAMS mass, P_(BH)(M_(ZAMS)). Although we find that it is difficult to derive a unique P_(BH)(M_(ZAMS)) using current measurements of both the BH mass distribution and the degree of chemical enrichment by massive stars, we demonstrate how P_(BH)(M_(ZAMS)) changes with these various observational and theoretical uncertainties. We anticipate that future studies of Galactic BHs and theoretical studies of core collapse will refine P_(BH)(M_(ZAMS)) and argue that this framework is an important new step toward better understanding BH formation. A probabilistic description of BH formation will be useful as input for future population synthesis studies that are interested in the formation of X-ray binaries, the nature and event rate of gravitational wave sources, and answering questions about chemical enrichment.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Piro, Anthony L.0000-0001-6806-0673
Ott, Christian D.0000-0003-4993-2055
Additional Information:© 2015 American Astronomical Society. Received 2014 June 18; accepted 2014 November 27; published 2015 January 28. The authors acknowledge helpful exchanges with M. Cantiello, W. D. Arnett, S. de Mink, M. Renzo, S. Shore, U. C. T. Gamma, T. A. Thompson, and S. E. Woosley. We thank S. Couch, C. S. Kochanek, E. O’Connor, N. Smith, E. Lovegrove, J. F. Beacom, D. A. Perley, J. G. Cohen, E. N. Kirby, and T. Sukhbold for comments on a previous draft. CDO states for the record that the idea of a black hole formation probability came to him after talking to Elizabeth Lovegrove at the 221st American Astronomical Society meeting at Long Beach, CA, in January 2013. Lovegrove suggested to him that some 15-M_⊙ stars might explode while other stars of the same initial mass might not. CDO initially ridiculed the concept, but soon realized how wrong he was and that Lovegrove had an important point. This research is supported in part by NSF under grant numbers AST-1205732, AST-1212170, PHY-1151197, and PHY-1068881, by the Sherman Fairchild Foundation, and the Sloan Foundation. The computations used resources of NSF’s XSEDE network under allocation TG-PHY100033.
Group:TAPIR, Walter Burke Institute for Theoretical Physics
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSFPHY- 1151197
Sherman Fairchild FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Alfred P. Sloan FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Non-Subject Keywords:black hole physics — galaxies: abundances — nuclear reactions, nucleosynthesis, abundances — stars: massive — supernovae: general
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20141216-133549029
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Official Citation:The Black Hole Formation Probability Drew Clausen et al. 2015 ApJ 799 190
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:52883
Deposited By: Joy Painter
Deposited On:16 Dec 2014 21:48
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 19:44

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