Finding the electromagnetic counterparts of standard sirens

B. Kocsis, Z. Frei, Z. Haiman, K. Menou

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The gravitational waves (GWs) emitted during the coalescence of supermassive black holes (SMBHs) will be detectable with the future Laser Interferometric Space Antenna (LISA). The direction and distance can be determined from the accumulated GW signal with a precision that increases rapidly in the final stages of the inspiral. We find that for M = (105 - 107)M near z = 1 the angular uncertainty decreases under 1° at least several hours before the plunge, allowing a targeted electromagnetic (EM) observation of the final stages of the merger with a wide field instrument. We then calculate the size of the final, three dimensional error volume. Under the plausible assumption that SMBH-SMBH mergers are accompanied by gas accretion leading to Eddington-limited quasar activity, we find that many cases this error volume will contain at most a single quasar for M = (105 - 107) M near z = 1. This will allow a straightforward test of the hypothesis that GW events are accompanied by bright quasar activity. The identification and observation of counterparts would allow unprecedented tests of the physics of MBH accretion, such as precision-measurements of the Eddington ratio. They would clarify the role of gas as a catalyst in SMBH coalescences, and would also offer an alternative method to constrain cosmological parameters.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRelativistic Astrophysics Legacy and Cosmology - Einstein's
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the MPE/USM/MPA/ESO Joint Astronomy Conference Held in Munich, Germany, 7-11 November 2005
EditorsBernd Aschenbach, Vadim Burwitz, Gunther Hasinger, Bruno Leibundgut
Pages82-86
Number of pages5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2008

Publication series

NameESO Astrophysics Symposia
Volume2008
ISSN (Print)1431-2433
ISSN (Electronic)1611-6143

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)

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    Kocsis, B., Frei, Z., Haiman, Z., & Menou, K. (2008). Finding the electromagnetic counterparts of standard sirens. In B. Aschenbach, V. Burwitz, G. Hasinger, & B. Leibundgut (Eds.), Relativistic Astrophysics Legacy and Cosmology - Einstein's: Proceedings of the MPE/USM/MPA/ESO Joint Astronomy Conference Held in Munich, Germany, 7-11 November 2005 (pp. 82-86). (ESO Astrophysics Symposia; Vol. 2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-74713-0_18