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The Quest for Dual and Binary Supermassive Black Holes: A Multi-Messenger View

De Rosa, Alessandra and Vignali, Cristian and Bogdanović, Tamara and Capelo, Pedro R. and Charisi, Maria and Dotti, Massimo and Husemann, Bernd and Lusso, Elisabeta and Mayer, Lucio and Paragi, Zsolt and Runnoe, Jessie and Sesana, Alberto and Steinborn, Lisa and Bianchi, Stefano and Colpi, Monica and Del Valle, Luciano and Frey, Sándor and Gabányi, Krisztina É. and Giustini, Margherita and Guainazzi, Matteo and Haiman, Zoltan and Ruiz, Noelia Herrera and Herrero-Illana, Rubén and Iwasawa, Kazushi and Komossa, S. and Lena, Davide and Loiseau, Nora and Perez-Torres, Miguel and Piconcelli, Enrico and Volonteri, Marta (2019) The Quest for Dual and Binary Supermassive Black Holes: A Multi-Messenger View. New Astronomy Reviews, 86 . Art. No. 101525. ISSN 1387-6473.

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The quest for binary and dual supermassive black holes (SMBHs) at the dawn of the multi-messenger era is compelling. Detecting dual active galactic nuclei (AGN) – active SMBHs at projected separations larger than several parsecs – and binary AGN – probing the scale where SMBHs are bound in a Keplerian binary – is an observational challenge. The study of AGN pairs (either dual or binary) also represents an overarching theoretical problem in cosmology and astrophysics. The AGN triggering calls for detailed knowledge of the hydrodynamical conditions of gas in the imminent surroundings of the SMBHs and, at the same time, their duality calls for detailed knowledge on how galaxies assemble through major and minor mergers and grow fed by matter along the filaments of the cosmic web. This review describes the techniques used across the electromagnetic spectrum to detect dual and binary AGN candidates and proposes new avenues for their search. The current observational status is compared with the state-of-the-art numerical simulations and models for formation of dual and binary AGN. Binary SMBHs are among the loudest sources of gravitational waves (GWs) in the Universe. The search for a background of GWs at nHz frequencies from inspiralling SMBHs at low redshifts, and the direct detection of signals from their coalescence by the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna in the next decade, make this a theme of major interest for multi-messenger astrophysics. This review discusses the future facilities and observational strategies that are likely to significantly advance this fascinating field.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
De Rosa, Alessandra0000-0001-5668-6863
Vignali, Cristian0000-0002-8853-9611
Bogdanović, Tamara0000-0002-7835-7814
Capelo, Pedro R.0000-0002-1786-963X
Charisi, Maria0000-0003-3579-2522
Dotti, Massimo0000-0002-1683-5198
Husemann, Bernd0000-0003-2901-6842
Lusso, Elisabeta0000-0003-0083-1157
Paragi, Zsolt0000-0002-5195-335X
Runnoe, Jessie0000-0001-8557-2822
Bianchi, Stefano0000-0002-4622-4240
Frey, Sándor0000-0003-3079-1889
Gabányi, Krisztina É.0000-0003-1020-1597
Giustini, Margherita0000-0002-1329-658X
Haiman, Zoltan0000-0003-3633-5403
Ruiz, Noelia Herrera0000-0003-0436-4082
Iwasawa, Kazushi0000-0002-4923-3281
Piconcelli, Enrico0000-0001-9095-2782
Volonteri, Marta0000-0002-3216-1322
Additional Information:© 2020 Published by Elsevier B.V. Received 29 July 2019, Revised 10 January 2020, Accepted 28 January 2020, Available online 11 February 2020. All authors acknowledge the hospitality of the Lorentz Center for international workshops (Leiden, The Netherlands), where the idea of this work was born, and acknowledge the support of the International Space Science Institute (ISSI Bern, Switzerland), where the collaboration was originated. We thank the reviewers for having provided valuable and constructive comments that improved the clarity of the manuscript, and J.E. Barnes, L. Blecha, M. Eracleous, B.D. Farris, H. Fu, X. Liu, R. Pfeifle, L.C. Popovic, C. Ricci, S. Rodriguez, S. Tang, G. B. Taylor for their kind permission to reuse figures from their publications. ADR, CV and SB acknowledge financial support from ASI under grant ASI-INAF I/037/12/0, and from the agreement ASI-INAF n. 2017-14-H.O. TB acknowledges support by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under Grant No. NNX15AK84G and 80NSSC19K0319 issued through the Astrophysics Theory Program and by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement through a Cottrell Scholar Award. SF and KÉG thank the Hungarian National Research, Development, and Innovation Office (OTKA NN110333) for support. KÉG was supported by the János Bolyai Research Scholarship of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and by the ÚNKP-19-4 New National Excellence Program of the Ministry for Innovation and Technology. BH acknowledges financial support by the DFG grant GE625/17-1. EL is supported by a European Union COFUND/Durham Junior Research Fellowship (under EU grant agreement no. 609412). DL acknowledges support from the European Research Council (ERC) under grant 647208 (PI Jonker). AS is supported by the ERC CoG grant 818691 (B Massive). MGi is supported by the “Programa de Atracción de Talento” of the Comunidad de Madrid grant 2018-T1/TIC-11733 for the project: “Unveiling Black Hole Winds from Space”, and by the Spanish State Research Agency (AEI) grant MDM-2017-0737 Unidad de Excelencia “María de Maeztu” - Centro de Astrobiología (INTA-CSIC). PRC and LM acknowledge support from the Swiss National Science Foundation under the Grant 200020_178949. MC acknowledges support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) NANOGrav Physics Frontier Center, award number 1430284. NHR acknowledges support from the BMBF Verbundforschung under FKZ: 05A17PC1 and FKZ: 05A17PC2. ZH acknowledges support from NASA grants NNX17AL82G and 80NSSC19K0149 and NSF grant 1715661. KI acknowledges support by the Spanish MINECO under grant AYA2016-76012-C3-1-P and MDM-2014-0369 of ICCUB (Unidad de Excelencia ’María de Maeztu’). MPT acknowledges financial support from the Spanish MCIU through the “Center of Excellence Severo Ochoa” award for the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (SEV-2017-0709) and through the MINECO grants AYA2012-38491-C02-02 and AYA2015-63939-C2-1-P.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI)I/037/12/0
Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI)2017-14-H.O
Cottrell Scholar of Research CorporationUNSPECIFIED
National Research, Development and Innovation Office (Hungary)OTKA NN110333
Hungarian Academy of SciencesUNSPECIFIED
Ministry for Innovation and Technology (Hungary)ÚNKP-19-4
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)GE625/17-1
European Research Council (ERC)609412
European Research Council (ERC)647208
European Research Council (ERC)818691
Comunidad de Madrid2018-T1/TIC-11733
Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (MCINN)MDM-2017-0737
Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)200020_178949
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)FKZ: 05A17PC1
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)FKZ: 05A17PC2
Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad (MINECO)AYA2016-76012-C3-1-P
Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad (MINECO)MDM-2014-0369
Severo OchoaSEV-2017-0709
Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad (MINECO)AYA2012-38491-C02-02
Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad (MINECO)AYA2015-63939-C2-1-P
Subject Keywords:Galaxies: active; Galaxies: interactions; Galaxies: nuclei; quasars: supermassive black holes; gravitational waves
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200211-114016581
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Alessandra De Rosa, Cristian Vignali, Tamara Bogdanović, Pedro R. Capelo, Maria Charisi, Massimo Dotti, Bernd Husemann, Elisabeta Lusso, Lucio Mayer, Zsolt Paragi, Jessie Runnoe, Alberto Sesana, Lisa Steinborn, Stefano Bianchi, Monica Colpi, Luciano del Valle, Sándor Frey, Krisztina É. Gabányi, Margherita Giustini, Matteo Guainazzi, Zoltan Haiman, Noelia Herrera Ruiz, Rubén Herrero-Illana, Kazushi Iwasawa, S. Komossa, Davide Lena, Nora Loiseau, Miguel Perez-Torres, Enrico Piconcelli, Marta Volonteri, The quest for dual and binary supermassive black holes: A multi-messenger view, New Astronomy Reviews, Volume 86, 2019, 101525, ISSN 1387-6473, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:101225
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:11 Feb 2020 21:26
Last Modified:25 Mar 2020 15:35

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