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Final spins from the merger of precessing binary black holes

Kesden, Michael and Sperhake, Ulrich and Berti, Emanuele (2010) Final spins from the merger of precessing binary black holes. Physical Review D, 81 (8). Art. No. 084054 . ISSN 2470-0010.

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The inspiral of binary black holes is governed by gravitational radiation reaction at binary separations r ≲ 1000M, yet it is too computationally expensive to begin numerical-relativity simulations with initial separations r ≳ 10M. Fortunately, binary evolution between these separations is well described by post-Newtonian equations of motion. We examine how this post-Newtonian evolution affects the distribution of spin orientations at separations r ≃ 10M where numerical-relativity simulations typically begin. Although isotropic spin distributions at r ≃ 1000M remain isotropic at r ≃ 10M, distributions that are initially partially aligned with the orbital angular momentum can be significantly distorted during the post-Newtonian inspiral. Spin precession tends to align (antialign) the binary black hole spins with each other if the spin of the more massive black hole is initially partially aligned (antialigned) with the orbital angular momentum, thus increasing (decreasing) the average final spin. Spin precession is stronger for comparable-mass binaries and could produce significant spin alignment before merger for both supermassive and stellar-mass black hole binaries. We also point out that precession induces an intrinsic accuracy limitation (≲0.03 in the dimensionless spin magnitude, ≲20° in the direction) in predicting the final spin resulting from the merger of widely separated binaries.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription DOIArticle
Kesden, Michael0000-0002-5987-1471
Sperhake, Ulrich0000-0002-3134-7088
Berti, Emanuele0000-0003-0751-5130
Additional Information:© 2010 The American Physical Society. Received 25 February 2010; published 29 April 2010. We are particularly grateful to Vitor Cardoso for helping to test our numerical implementation of the PN evolution equations described in Sec. II, and to Etienne Racine for pointing out the possible relevance of the quadrupole-monopole interaction. We would also like to thank Enrico Barausse, Manuela Campanelli, Yanbei Chen, Pablo Laguna, Carlos Lousto, Samaya Nissanke, Evan Ochsner, Sterl Phinney, Luciano Rezzolla, and Manuel Tiglio for useful discussions. This work was supported by grants from the Sherman Fairchild Foundation to Caltech, by NSF Grants No. PHY-0601459 (PI: Thorne) and No. PHY-090003 (TeraGrid), and by FCT-Portugal through Projects No. PTDC/CTE-ST/098034/2008 and No. PTDC/FIS/098032/2008. M. K. acknowledges support from NASA BEFS Grant No. NNX07AH06G (PI: Phinney). E. B.’s research was supported by NSF Grant No. PHY-0900735. U. S. acknowledges support from NSF Grant No. PHY-0652995.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Sherman Fairchild FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT)PTDC/CTE-AST/098034/2008
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT)PTDC/FIS/098032/2008
Issue or Number:8
Classification Code:PACS: 04.25.dg, 04.25.Nx, 04.30.Tv, 04.70.-s.
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20100526-112433233
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:18457
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:27 May 2010 02:37
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:18

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