LIGO Document P1500208-v2

Evidence for a dual population of neutron star mergers from short gamma-ray burst observations

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Short duration Gamma-Ray Bursts are thought to originate from the coalescence of neutron stars in binary systems. They are detected as a brief ( 2s), intense flash of gamma-ray radiation followed by a weaker, rapidly decreasing afterglow. They are expected to be detected by Advanced LIGO and Virgo when their sensitivity will be low enough. In a recent study we identified a population of short gamma-ray bursts that are intrinsically faint and nearby. Here we provide evidence in favor of the existence of this new population that can hardly be reproduced with a model of field neutron star binary coalescences. We propose that these systems may be produced dynamically in globular clusters, and may result from the merger of a black hole and a neutron star. The advanced LIGO and Virgo observation of a high rate of NSBH mergers compatible with the dynamical formation in globular clusters would be a confirmation of this hypothesis and would enable for the derivation of the mass function of black holes inside globular clusters, as well as the luminosity function of faint short GRBs.
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