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We study the Galactic field population of double compact objects (DCOs; NS-NS, BH-NS, BH-BH binaries) to investigate the number (if any) of these systems that can potentially be detected with the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) at low gravitational wave frequencies. We calculate the Galactic numbers and physical properties of these binaries and show their relative contributions from the disk, bulge, and halo. Although the Galaxy hosts ∼10 5 DCO binaries emitting low-frequency gravitational waves, only a handful of these objects in the disk will be detectable with LISA, but none from the halo or bulge. This is because the bulk of these binaries are NS-NS systems with high eccentricities and long orbital periods (weeks/months) causing inefficient signal accumulation (a small number of signal bursts at periastron passage in one year of LISA observations) and rendering them undetectable in the majority of these cases. We adopt two evolutionary models that differ in their treatment of the common envelope (CE) phase that is a major (and still mostly unknown) process in the formation of close DCOs. Depending on the evolutionary model adopted, our calculations indicate the likely detection of about four NS-NS binaries and two BH-BH systems (model A; likely survival of progenitors through CE) or only a couple of NS-NS binaries (model B; suppression of the DCO formation due to CE mergers). © 2010 The American Astronomical Society.


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Astrophysical Journal





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