[0909.0261] An Electromagnetic Signature of Galactic Black Hole Binaries That Enter Their Gravitational-Wave Induced Inspiral

Authors: Abraham Loeb (Harvard)

Date: 1 Sep 2009

Abstract: Mergers of gas-rich galaxies lead to black hole binaries that coalesce as a result of dynamical friction on the ambient gas. Once the binary tightens to <10ˆ3 Schwarzschild radii, its merger is driven by the emission of gravitational waves (GWs). We show that this transition occurs generically at orbital periods of ~1-10 years and an orbital velocity V of a few thousand km/s, with a very weak dependence on the supply rate of gas (V proportional to Mdotˆ{1/8}). Therefore, as binaries enter their GW-dominated inspiral, they inevitably induce large periodic shifts in the broad emission lines of any associated quasar(s). The probability of finding a binary in tighter configurations scales as Vˆ{-8} owing to their much shorter lifetimes. Systematic monitoring of the broad emission lines of quasars on timescales of months to decades can set a lower limit on the expected rate of GW sources for LISA.

abs pdf

Sep 07, 2009

0909.0261 (/preprints)
2009-09-07, 10:32 [edit]

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