Implications of the low binary black hole aligned spins observed by LIGO.
HOTOKEZAKA K. and PIRAN T.
Abstract (from CDS):
We explore the implications of the low-spin components along the orbital axis observed in an Advanced LIGO O1 run on binary black hole (BBH) merger scenarios in which the merging BBHs have evolved from field binaries. The coalescence time determines the initial orbital separation of BBHs. This, in turn, determines whether the stars are synchronized before collapse, and hence determines their projected spins. Short coalescence times imply synchronization and large spins. Among known stellar objects, Wolf-Rayet (WR) stars seem to be the only progenitors consistent with the low aligned spins observed in LIGO's O1, provided that the orbital axis maintains its direction during the collapse. We calculate the spin distribution of BBH mergers in the local universe, and its redshift evolution for WR progenitors. Assuming that the BBH formation rate peaks around a redshift of ∼2-3, we show that BBH mergers in the local universe are dominated by low-spin events. The high-spin population starts to dominate at a redshift of ∼0.5-1.5. WR stars are also progenitors of long gamma-ray bursts that take place at a comparable rate to BBH mergers. We discuss the possible connection between the two phenomena. Additionally, we show that hypothetical Population III star progenitors are also possible. Although WR and Population III progenitors are consistent with the current data, both models predict a non-vanishing fraction of high positive values of the BBHs' aligned spin. If those are not detected within the coming LIGO/Virgo runs, it will be unlikely that the observed BBHs formed via field binaries.