The LIGO and Virgo detectors have recently directly observed gravitational waves from several mergers of pairs of stellar-mass black holes, as well as from one merging pair of neutron stars. These observations raise the hope that compact object mergers could be used as a probe of stellar and binary evolution, and perhaps of stellar dynamics. This colloquium-style article summarizes the existing observations, describes theoretical predictions for formation channels of merging stellar-mass black-hole binaries along with their rates and observable properties, and presents some of the prospects for gravitational-wave astronomy.
- Pub Date:
- June 2018
- Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena;
- Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics;
- General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology
- Colloquium-style article solicited by Reviews of Modern Physics