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Eccentricity in Gravitational-Wave Transients

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Justin Ripley.

LIGO and Virgo have now reported 90 gravitational-wave signals from coalescing compact binaries. The paths that these objects trace around each other in the fragments of seconds before they merge can contain a wealth of information about the previous lives of these objects. Binary compact objects have two overarching formation channels: isolated, in which the pair live from birth to death as a binary without any external influence, and dynamical, in which two compact objects become bound in a populous environment like a star cluster. Isolated binaries are expected to trace circular paths around each other close to merger. However, when binaries form dynamically, their paths can be elliptical. In this talk, I explain how different formation channels lead to different distributions of eccentricity. I present eccentricity measurements obtained for LIGO and Virgo’s binary black holes. Finally, I show how the orbital eccentricities already measured may have implications for every binary so far detected by LIGO and Virgo.

This talk is part of the DAMTP Friday GR Seminar series.

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