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Journal Article

Vacuum Electromagnetic Counterparts of Binary Black-Hole Mergers

MPS-Authors
http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons4338

Mösta,  Philip
Astrophysical Relativity, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons4301

Palenzuela,  Carlos
Astrophysical Relativity, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons20670

Rezzolla,  Luciano
Astrophysical Relativity, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons20675

Yoshida,  Shin
Astrophysical Relativity, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons20666

Pollney,  Denis
Astrophysical Relativity, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Fulltext (public)

0912.2330
(Preprint), 1023KB

PRD_81_064017.pdf
(Any fulltext), 2MB

Supplementary Material (public)
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Citation

Mösta, P., Palenzuela, C., Rezzolla, L., Lehner, L., Yoshida, S., & Pollney, D. (2010). Vacuum Electromagnetic Counterparts of Binary Black-Hole Mergers. Physical Review D, 81: 064017. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.81.064017.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0012-9CD6-E
Abstract
As one step towards a systematic modeling of the electromagnetic (EM) emission from an inspiralling black hole binary we consider a simple scenario in which the binary moves in a uniform magnetic field anchored to a distant circumbinary disc. We study this system by solving the Einstein-Maxwell equations in which the EM fields are chosen with astrophysically consistent strengths. We consider binaries with spins aligned or anti-aligned with the orbital angular momentum and study the dependence of gravitational and EM signals with these spin configurations. Overall we find that the EM radiation in the lowest l=2, m=2 multipole accurately reflects the gravitational one, with identical phase evolutions and amplitudes that differ only by a scaling factor. We also compute the efficiency of the energy emission in EM waves and find that it is given by E^rad_EM/M ~ 10^-15 (M/10^8 M_Sun)^2 (B/10^4 G)^2, hence 13 orders of magnitude smaller than the gravitational energy for realistic magnetic fields. The corresponding luminosity is much smaller than the accretion luminosity if the system is accreting at near the Eddington rate. Most importantly, this EM emission is at frequencies of 10^-4 (10^8 M_Sun/M) Hz, well outside those accessible to astronomical radio observations. As a result, it is unlikely that the EM emission discussed here can be detected directly and simultaneously with the gravitational-wave one. However, indirect processes, driven by changes in the EM fields behavior could yield observable events. In particular if the accretion rate of the circumbinary disc is small and sufficiently stable over the timescale of the final inspiral, then the EM emission may be observable indirectly as it will alter the accretion rate through the magnetic torques exerted by the distorted magnetic field lines.