Authors: Marc Favata
Date: 27 Aug 2010
Abstract: [abridged] Barack & Sago have recently computed the shift of the innermost stable circular orbit (ISCO) due to the conservative self-force that arises from the finite-mass of an orbiting test-particle. This is one of the first concrete results of the self-force program, and provides an exact point of comparison with approximate post-Newtonian (PN) computations of the ISCO. Here this exact ISCO shift is compared with nearly all known PN-based methods. These include both "non-resummed" and "resummed" approaches (the latter reproduce the test-particle limit by construction). The best agreement with the exact result is found from effective-one-body (EOB) calculations that are fit to numerical relativity simulations. However, if one considers uncalibrated methods based only on the currently-known 3PN-order conservative dynamics, the best agreement is found from the gauge-invariant ISCO condition of Blanchet and Iyer (2003). This method reproduces the exact test-particle limit without any resummation. A comparison of PN methods with the equal-mass ISCO is also performed. The results of this study suggest that the EOB approach — while exactly incorporating the conservative test-particle dynamics — does not (in the absence of calibration) incorporate conservative self-force effects more accurately than standard PN methods. I also consider how the conservative self-force ISCO shift, combined with numerical relativity computations of the ISCO, can be used to constrain our knowledge of (1) the EOB effective metric, (2) phenomenological inspiral-merger-ringdown templates, and (3) 4PN and 5PN order terms in the PN orbital energy. These constraints could help in constructing better gravitational-wave templates. Lastly, I suggest a new method to calibrate unknown PN-terms in inspiral templates using "low-cost" numerical-relativity calculations.
© M. Vallisneri 2012 — last modified on 2010/01/29
Tantum in modicis, quantum in maximis