Authors: Dimitrios Psaltis (Arizona), Gongjie Li (Harvard), Abraham Loeb (Harvard)
Date: 13 Dec 2012
Abstract: Monitoring the orbits of stars around Sgr A* offers the possibility of detecting the precession of their orbital planes due to frame dragging, of measuring the spin and quadrupole moment of the black hole, and of testing the no-hair theorem. Here we investigate whether the deviations of stellar orbits from test-particle trajectories due to wind mass loss and tidal dissipation of the orbital energy compromise such measurements. We find that the effects of stellar winds are, in general, negligible. On the other hand, for the most eccentric orbits (e>0.96) for which an optical interferometer, such as GRAVITY, will detect orbital plane precession due to frame dragging, the tidal dissipation of orbital energy occurs at timescales comparable to the timescale of precession due to the quadrupole moment of the black hole. As a result, this non-conservative effect is a potential source of systematic uncertainty in testing the no-hair theorem with stellar orbits.
© M. Vallisneri 2012 — last modified on 2010/01/29
Tantum in modicis, quantum in maximis