Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Brian Murphy


With the recent detection of gravitational waves from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO, a new realm of gravitational astrophysics has been opened. As the process of observing gravitational wave signals is still in its infancy, there is a need to provide gravitational astronomers with observable signatures in the electromagnetic spectrum. Hence, we explore the impact of solar mass black holes on the morphology of globular clusters. It has long been thought that due to high kick velocities from compact object gravitational interaction, Galactic age Globular Clusters are unable to retain black holes. Recent simulations, however, suggest that a significant population of black holes can be retained (Sippel & Hurley 2012, Rodriguez et al. 2016). We present the results from Fokker-Planck simulations of a time evolving Globular Cluster with an initial mass of 2.5x106 M⊙ . By exploring two different methods of IMF construction evolved mass function and pure power-law we are able to consistently determine their radial, density profiles with the introduction of 12 M⊙ black holes. Because of the efficiency of the Fokker-Planck code, we are able to explore parameter space as we observe how the globular cluster changes over initial mass functions with 0.1%, 1%, and 10% black holes retention rates from initial black hole formation and discover a significant impact on the cluster morphology between once the black hole population is on the order of 100. Moreover, we observe the segregation of black holes from the rest of the stellar members of the cluster and the influence of 3 body binary heating on the core of the segregated black hole sub-cluster. As we only address the initial ejection of black holes, and not their escape from the cluster over time, our future work will account for 3 body binary kicks that cause them to escape.