Volume 657, January 2022
|Number of page(s)||11|
|Section||Letters to the Editor|
|Published online||11 January 2022|
Letter to the Editor
Probing the progenitors of spinning binary black-hole mergers with long gamma-ray bursts
Département d’Astronomie, Université de Genève, Chemin Pegasi 51, 1290 Versoix, Switzerland
2 Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA
3 DARK, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Jagtvej 128, 2200 Copenhagen, Denmark
4 Institute of Astrophysics, KU Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200D, 3001 Leuven, Belgium
5 Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA) and Department of Physics and Astronomy, Northwestern University, 1800 Sherman Avenue, Evanston, IL 60201, USA
6 Enrico Fermi Institute and Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, The University of Chicago, 5640 South Ellis Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637, USA
7 Department of Physics, Anhui Normal University, Wuhu, Anhui 241000, PR China
Accepted: 3 December 2021
Long-duration gamma-ray bursts are thought to be associated with the core-collapse of massive, rapidly spinning stars and the formation of black holes. However, efficient angular momentum transport in stellar interiors, currently supported by asteroseismic and gravitational-wave constraints, leads to predominantly slowly-spinning stellar cores. Here, we report on binary stellar evolution and population synthesis calculations, showing that tidal interactions in close binaries not only can explain the observed subpopulation of spinning, merging binary black holes but also lead to long gamma-ray bursts at the time of black-hole formation. Given our model calibration against the distribution of isotropic-equivalent energies of luminous long gamma-ray bursts, we find that ≈10% of the GWTC-2 reported binary black holes had a luminous long gamma-ray burst associated with their formation, with GW190517 and GW190719 having a probability of ≈85% and ≈60%, respectively, being among them. Moreover, given an assumption about their average beaming fraction, our model predicts the rate density of long gamma-ray bursts, as a function of redshift, originating from this channel. For a constant beaming fraction fB ∼ 0.05 our model predicts a rate density comparable to the observed one, throughout the redshift range, while, at redshift z ∈ [0, 2.5], a tentative comparison with the metallicity distribution of observed LGRB host galaxies implies that between 20% to 85% of the observed long gamma-ray bursts may originate from progenitors of merging binary black holes. The proposed link between a potentially significant fraction of observed, luminous long gamma-ray bursts and the progenitors of spinning binary black-hole mergers allows us to probe the latter well outside the horizon of current-generation gravitational wave observatories, and out to cosmological distances.
Key words: black hole physics / binaries: close / gamma rays: stars / accretion / accretion disks / gravitational waves
© ESO 2022
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