[0910.0002] Black hole mergers: the first light

Authors: Elena M. Rossi, G. Lodato, P. J. Armitage, J. E. Pringle, A. R. King

Date: 1 Oct 2009

Abstract: The coalescence of supermassive black hole binaries occurs via the emission of gravitational waves, that can impart a substantial recoil to the merged black hole. We consider the energy dissipation, that results if the recoiling black hole is surrounded by a thin circumbinary disc. Our results differ significantly from those of previous investigations. We show analytically that the dominant source of energy is often potential energy, released as gas in the outer disc attempts to circularize at smaller radii. Thus, dimensional estimates, that include only the kinetic energy gained by the disc gas, underestimate the real energy loss. This underestimate can exceed an order of magnitude, if the recoil is directed close to the disc plane. We use three dimensional Smooth Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) simulations and two dimensional finite difference simulations to verify our analytic estimates. We also compute the bolometric light curve, which is found to vary strongly depending upon the kick angle. A prompt emission signature due to this mechanism may be observable for low mass (10ˆ6 Solar mass) black holes whose recoil velocities exceed about 1000 km/s. Emission at earlier times can mainly result from the response of the disc to the loss of mass, as the black holes merge. We derive analytically the condition for this to happen.

abs pdf

Oct 02, 2009

0910.0002 (/preprints)
2009-10-02, 05:30 [edit]

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