[1010.1535] Secular Stellar Dynamics near a Massive Black Hole

Authors: Ann-Marie Madigan, Clovis Hopman, Yuri Levin

Date: 7 Oct 2010

Abstract: The angular momentum evolution of stars close to massive black holes (MBHs) is driven by secular torques. In contrast to two-body relaxation, where interactions between stars are incoherent, the resulting resonant relaxation (RR) process is characterized by coherence times of hundreds of orbital periods. In this paper, we show that all the statistical properties of RR can be reproduced in an autoregressive moving average (ARMA) model. We use the ARMA model, calibrated with extensive N-body simulations, to analyze the long-term evolution of stellar systems around MBHs with Monte Carlo simulations. We show that for a single mass system in steady state, a depression is carved out near a MBH as a result of tidal disruptions. In our Galactic center, the size of the depression is about 0.2 pc, consistent with the size of the observed "hole" in the distribution of bright late-type stars. We also find that the velocity vectors of stars around a MBH are locally not isotropic. In a second application, we evolve the highly eccentric orbits that result from the tidal disruption of binary stars, which are considered to be plausible precursors of the "S-stars" in the Galactic center. We find that in this scenario more highly eccentric (e > 0.9) S-star orbits are produced than have been observed to date.

abs pdf

Oct 10, 2010

1010.1535 (/preprints)
2010-10-10, 19:36 [edit]

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