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

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  • LIGO Scientific Collaboration and Virgo Collaboration
Article numberL24
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>9/09/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>Astrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
Number of pages30
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


We present results on the mass, spin, and redshift distributions with phenomenological population models using the 10 binary black hole (BBH) mergers detected in the first and second observing runs completed by Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo. We constrain properties of the 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 BH in such binaries is well approximated by models with no more than 1% of BHs more massive than 45 ${M}_{\odot }$ and a power-law index of α = ${1.3}_{-1.7}^{+1.4}$ (90% credibility). We also show that BBHs are unlikely to be composed of BHs with large spins aligned to the orbital angular momentum. Modeling the evolution of the BBH merger rate with redshift, we show that it is flat or increasing with redshift with 93% probability. Marginalizing over uncertainties in the BBH population, we find robust estimates of the BBH merger rate density of R = ${53.2}_{-28.2}^{+55.8}$ 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 BHs via supernovae, binary interactions of massive stars, stellar cluster dynamics, and the formation history of BHs across cosmic time.

Bibliographic note

This is an author-created, un-copyedited version of an article accepted for publication/published in Astrophysical Journal Letters. IOP Publishing Ltd is not responsible for any errors or omissions in this version of the manuscript or any version derived from it. The Version of Record is available online at doi:10.3847/2041-8213/ab3800