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Formation of Merging Compact Binaries

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The recent breakthrough in the detection of gravitational waves (GWs) from merging black hole (BH) and neutron star (NS) binaries by advanced LIGO /Virgo has generated renewed interest in understanding the formation mechanisms of merging compact binaries, from the evolution of massive stellar binaries and triples in the galactic fields, dynamical interactions in dense star clusters to binary mergers in AGN disks. I will review these different formation channels, and discuss how observations of spin-orbit misalignments, eccentricities, masses and mass ratios in a sample of merging binaries by aLIGO can constrain various formation channels.

This talk is part of the DAMTP Astro Mondays series.

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