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Reducing orbital eccentricity in binary black hole simulations

Pfeiffer, Harald P. and Brown, Duncan A. and Kidder, Lawrence E. and Lindblom, Lee and Lovelace, Geoffrey and Scheel, Mark A. (2007) Reducing orbital eccentricity in binary black hole simulations. Classical and Quantum Gravity, 24 (12). S59-S81. ISSN 0264-9381.

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Binary black hole simulations starting from quasi-circular (i.e., zero radial velocity) initial data have orbits with small but nonzero orbital eccentricities. In this paper, the quasi-equilibrium initial-data method is extended to allow nonzero radial velocities to be specified in binary black hole initial data. New low-eccentricity initial data are obtained by adjusting the orbital frequency and radial velocities to minimize the orbital eccentricity, and the resulting (~5 orbit) evolutions are compared with those of quasi-circular initial data. Evolutions of the quasi-circular data clearly show eccentric orbits, with eccentricity that decays over time. The precise decay rate depends on the definition of eccentricity; if defined in terms of variations in the orbital frequency, the decay rate agrees well with the prediction of Peters (1964 Phys. Rev. 136 1224–32). The gravitational waveforms, which contain ~8 cycles in the dominant l = m = 2 mode, are largely unaffected by the eccentricity of the quasi-circular initial data. The overlap between the dominant mode in the quasi-circular evolution and the same mode in the low-eccentricity evolution is about 0.99.

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Additional Information:Copyright © Institute of Physics and IOP Publishing Limited 2007. Received 19 February 2007, in final form 17 April 2007. Published 30 May 2007. Print publication: Issue 12 (21 June 2007) We thank Gregory Cook for inspiring discussions, including the initial suggestion to add radial motion to quasi-circular initial data. We also thank Ilya Mandel for suggesting the comparison to Peters’ calculation [8]. This work was supported in part by grants from the Sherman Fairchild Foundation to Caltech and Cornell, and from the Brinson Foundation to Caltech, by NSF grants PHY-0099568, PHY-0244906, PHY-0601459, DMS-0553302 and NASA grants NAG5-12834, NNG05GG52G at Caltech, and by NSF grants PHY-0312072, PHY-0354631, and NASA grant NNG05GG51G at Cornell. Some of the simulations discussed here were produced with LIGO Laboratory computing facilities. LIGO was constructed by the California Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology with funding from the National Science Foundation and operates under cooperative agreement PHY-0107417. This paper has been assigned LIGO document number LIGO-P060071-00-Z. INVITED PAPERS FROM THE INTERNATIONAL MEETING ON 'NEW FRONTIERS IN NUMERICAL RELATIVITY' (ALBERT EINSTEIN INSTITUTE, POTSDAM, GERMANY, 17–21 JULY 2006). Classical and Quantum Gravity, Volume 24, Number 12, 21 June 2007
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ID Code:8569
Deposited By: Archive Administrator
Deposited On:21 Aug 2007
Last Modified:25 Feb 2014 23:12

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