[1002.2643] Final spins from the merger of precessing binary black holes

Authors: Michael Kesden, Ulrich Sperhake, Emanuele Berti

Date: 13 Feb 2010

Abstract: The inspiral of binary black holes is governed by gravitational radiation reaction at binary separations r < 1000 M, yet it is too computationally expensive to begin numerical-relativity simulations with initial separations r > 10 M. Fortunately, binary evolution between these separations is well described by post-Newtonian equations of motion. We examine how this post-Newtonian evolution affects the distribution of spin orientations at separations r near 10 M where numerical-relativity simulations typically begin. Although isotropic spin distributions at r =1000 M remain isotropic at r = 10 M, distributions that are initially partially aligned with the orbital angular momentum can be significantly distorted during the post-Newtonian inspiral. Spin-orbit resonances tend to align (anti-align) the binary black hole spins with each other if the spins were initially partially aligned (anti-aligned) with respect to the orbital angular momentum, thus increasing (decreasing) the average final spin. Resonant effects are stronger for comparable-mass binaries, and they could produce significant spin alignment in massive black hole mergers at high redshifts and in stellar-mass black hole binaries. We also point out that precession induces an intrinsic accuracy limitation of 0.03 in the dimensionless spin magnitude, and about 20 degrees in the direction in predicting the final spin resulting from widely separated binary configurations.

abs pdf

Feb 19, 2010

1002.2643 (/preprints)
2010-02-19, 22:26 [edit]

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