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The Missing Link Between Black Holes in High-Mass X-ray Binaries and Gravitational-Wave Sources: Observational Selection Effects

Presentation #406.03 in the session Stellar & Compact Objects III.

Published onJul 01, 2023
The Missing Link Between Black Holes in High-Mass X-ray Binaries and Gravitational-Wave Sources: Observational Selection Effects

Why do so few observed high-mass X-ray binaries (HMXBs) harbor massive black holes, and why are none predicted to likely form merging binary black holes (BBHs) within a Hubble time? In this talk, I will discuss the role that X-ray and gravitational-wave selection effects play in determining the properties of their respective detected binary populations. As a result of selection effects, observable HMXBs and observable BBHs form at different redshifts and metallicities, with observable HMXBs forming at much lower redshifts and higher metallicities than observable BBHs. There are also disparities in the mass distributions of these populations, with observable merging BBH progenitors pulling to higher component masses relative to the full observable HMXB population. Only a few percent of observable HMXBs host black holes > 35 solar masses. Furthermore, the probability that a detectable HMXB will merge as a BBH system within a Hubble time is less than 1%. Thus, it is unsurprising that no currently observed HMXBs are predicted to form merging BBHs with high probability.

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