The properties of merging black holes and neutron stars across cosmic time

Michela Mapelli, Nicola Giacobbo, Filippo Santoliquido, Maria Celeste Artale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Citations (Scopus)


The next generation ground-based gravitational wave interferometers will possibly observe mergers of binary black holes (BBHs) and binary neutron stars (BNSs) to redshift z ≥ 10 and ≥ 2, respectively. Here, we characterize the properties of merging BBHs, BNSs, and neutron star-black hole binaries across cosmic time, by means of population-synthesis simulations combined with the ILLUSTRIS cosmological simulation. We find that the mass of merging compact objects does not depend (or depends very mildly) on the merger redshift. Even the mass distribution of black holes (BHs) depends only mildly on redshift, because BBHs originating from metal-poor progenitors (Z ≤ 4 × 10-3) dominate the entire population of merging BBHs across cosmic time. For a common-envelope efficiency α ≥ 3, the main difference between the mass distribution of BBHs merging in the last Gyr and that of BBHs merging more than 11 Gyr ago is that there is an excess of heavy merging BHs (20-35 M⊙) in the last Gyr. This excess is explained by the longer delay time of massive BBHs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-13
Number of pages12
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Black hole physics
  • Gravitational waves
  • Methods: numerical
  • Stars: Massloss
  • Stars: neutron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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