The effects of host galaxy properties on merging compact binaries detectable by LIGO

R. O'Shaughnessy, J. M. Bellovary, A. Brooks, S. Shen, F. Governato, C. R. Christensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Cosmological simulations of galaxy formation can produce present-day galaxies with a large range of assembly and star formation histories. A detailed study of the metallicity evolution and star formation history of such simulations can assist in predicting Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO)-detectable compact object binary mergers. Recent simulations of compact binary evolution suggest that the compact object merger rate depends sensitively on the progenitor's metallicity. Rare low-metallicity star formation during galaxy assembly can produce more detected compact binaries than typical star formation. Using detailed simulations of galaxy and chemical evolution, we determine how sensitively the compact binary populations of galaxies with a similar present-day appearance depend on the details of their assembly. We also demonstrate by concrete example the extent to which dwarf galaxies overabundantly produce compact binary mergers, particularly binary black holes, relative to more massive galaxies. We discuss the implications for transient multimessenger astronomy with compact binary sources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2831-2839
Number of pages9
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Black hole physics
  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Gravitational waves


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