The spin-flip phenomenon in supermassive black hole binary mergers

L. Gergely, Peter L. Biermann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Massive merging black holes will be the primary sources of powerful gravitational waves at low frequency, and will permit us to test general relativity with candidate galaxies close to a binary black hole merger. In this paper, we identify the typical mass ratio of the two black holes but then show that the distance where gravitational radiation becomes the dominant dissipative effect (over dynamical friction) does not depend on the mass ratio; however, the dynamical evolution in the gravitational wave emission regime does. For the typical range of mass ratios the final stage of the merger is preceded by a rapid precession and a subsequent spin-flip of the main black hole. This already occurs in the inspiral phase, therefore can be described analytically by post-Newtonian techniques. We then identify the radio galaxies with a superdisk as those in which the rapidly precessing jet effectively produces a powerful wind, entraining the environmental gas to produce the appearance of a thick disk. These specific galaxies are thus candidates for a merger of two black holes to happen in the astronomically near future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1621-1633
Number of pages13
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume697
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Fingerprint

merger
mass ratios
gravitational waves
precession
galaxies
friction
radio
radio galaxies
relativity
gas
low frequencies
gases
radiation
effect
test

Keywords

  • Binaries: close
  • Galaxies: jets
  • Galaxies: statistics
  • Gravitational waves
  • Radio continuum: galaxies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics

Cite this

The spin-flip phenomenon in supermassive black hole binary mergers. / Gergely, L.; Biermann, Peter L.

In: Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 697, No. 2, 2009, p. 1621-1633.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Gergely, L. ; Biermann, Peter L. / The spin-flip phenomenon in supermassive black hole binary mergers. In: Astrophysical Journal. 2009 ; Vol. 697, No. 2. pp. 1621-1633.
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