Authors: Jonathan R Gair, Chao Li, Ilya Mandel
Date: 4 Aug 2007
Abstract: We explore the properties of test-particle orbits in "bumpy" spacetimes - stationary, reflection-symmetric, asymptotically flat solutions of Einstein equations that have a non-Kerr (anomalous) higher-order multipole-moment structure but can be tuned arbitrarily close to the Kerr metric. Future detectors should observe gravitational waves generated during inspirals of compact objects into supermassive central bodies. If the central body deviates from the Kerr metric, this will manifest itself in the emitted waves. Here, we explore some of the features of orbits in non-Kerr spacetimes that might lead to observable signatures. As a basis for this analysis, we use a family of exact solutions proposed by Manko & Novikov which deviate from the Kerr metric in the quadrupole and higher moments, but we also compare our results to other work in the literature. We examine isolating integrals of the orbits and find that the majority of geodesic orbits have an approximate fourth constant of the motion (in addition to the energy, angular momentum and rest mass) and the resulting orbits are tri-periodic to high precision. We also find that this fourth integral can be lost for certain orbits in some oblately deformed Manko-Novikov spacetimes. However, compact objects will probably not end up on these chaotic orbits in nature. We compute the location of the innermost stable circular orbit (ISCO) and find that the behavior of orbtis near the ISCO can be qualitatively different depending on whether the ISCO is determined by the onset of an instability in the radial or vertical direction. Finally, we compute periapsis and orbital-plane precessions for nearly circular and nearly equatorial orbits in both the strong and weak field, and discuss weak-field precessions for eccentric equatorial orbits.
© M. Vallisneri 2012 — last modified on 2010/01/29
Tantum in modicis, quantum in maximis