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Published September 10, 2019 | Submitted + Published
Journal Article Open

Binary Black Hole Population Properties Inferred from the First and Second Observing Runs of Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo


We present results on the mass, spin, and redshift distributions of the ten binary black hole mergers detected in the first and second observing runs completed by Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo. We constrain properties of the binary black hole (BBH) mass spectrum using models with a range of parameterizations of the BBH mass and spin distributions. We find that the mass distribution of the more massive black hole in such binaries is well approximated by models with no more than 1% of black holes more massive than 45M⊙, and a power law index of α=1.6^(+1.5)_(−1.7) (90% credibility). We also show that BBHs are unlikely to be composed of black holes with large spins aligned to the orbital angular momentum. Modelling the evolution of the BBH merger rate with redshift, we show that it is flat or increasing with redshift with 88% probability. Marginalizing over uncertainties in the BBH population, we find robust estimates of the BBH merger rate density of R=53.2^(+58.5)_(−28.8) Gpc^(-3) yr^(-1) (90% credibility). As the BBH catalog grows in future observing runs, we expect that uncertainties in the population model parameters will shrink, potentially providing insights into the formation of black holes via supernovae, binary interactions of massive stars, stellar cluster dynamics, and the formation history of black holes across cosmic time.

Additional Information

© 2019 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2018 December 15; revised 2019 July 11; accepted 2019 July 21; published 2019 September 9. The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the United States National Science Foundation (NSF) for the construction and operation of the LIGO Laboratory and Advanced LIGO as well as the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) of the United Kingdom, the Max-Planck-Society (MPS), and the State of Niedersachsen/Germany for support of the construction of Advanced LIGO and construction and operation of the GEO600 detector. Additional support for Advanced LIGO was provided by the Australian Research Council. The authors gratefully acknowledge the Italian Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN), the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), and the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter supported by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, for the construction and operation of the Virgo detector and the creation and support of the EGO consortium. The authors also gratefully acknowledge research support from these agencies, as well as by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research of India, the Department of Science and Technology, India, the Science & Engineering Research Board (SERB), India, the Ministry of Human Resource Development, India, the Spanish Agencia Estatal de Investigación, the Vicepresidència i Conselleria d'Innovació Recerca i Turisme and the Conselleria d'Educació i Universitat del Govern de les Illes Balears, the Conselleria d'Educació Investigació Cultura i Esport de la Generalitat Valenciana, the National Science Centre of Poland, the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, the Russian Science Foundation, the European Commission, the European Regional Development Funds (ERDF), the Royal Society, the Scottish Funding Council, the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance, the Hungarian Scientific Research Fund (OTKA), the Lyon Institute of Origins (LIO), the Paris Île-de-France Region, the National Research, Development and Innovation Office Hungary (NKFIH), the National Research Foundation of Korea, Industry Canada and the Province of Ontario through the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation, the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council Canada, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovations, and Communications, the International Center for Theoretical Physics South American Institute for Fundamental Research (ICTP-SAIFR), the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong, the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), the Leverhulme Trust, the Research Corporation, the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), Taiwan, and the Kavli Foundation. The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the NSF, STFC, MPS, INFN, CNRS, and the State of Niedersachsen/Germany for provision of computational resources.

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Published - Abbott_2019_ApJL_882_L24.pdf

Submitted - 1811.12940.pdf


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August 19, 2023
October 18, 2023