Ultrafast Compact Binary Mergers

Paz Beniamini, Tsvi Piran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The duration of orbital decay induced by gravitational waves (GWs) is often the bottleneck of the evolutionary phases going from star formation to a merger. We show here that kicks imparted to the newly born compact object during the second collapse generically result in a GW merger time distribution behaving like dN / d log t ∝ t 2 / 7 at short durations, leading to ultrafast mergers. Namely, a nonnegligible fraction of neutron star binaries, formed in this way, will merge on a timescale as short as 10 Myr, and a small fraction will merge even on a timescale less than 10 kyr. The results can be applied to different types of compact binaries. We discuss here the implications for binary neutron star mergers. These include unique short gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), eccentric and misaligned mergers, r-process enrichment in the very early Universe and in highly star-forming regions, and possible radio precursors. Interestingly, we conclude that among the few hundred short GRBs detected so far, a few must have formed via this ultrafast channel.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 May 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024. The Author(s). Published by the American Astronomical Society.


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