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Black hole based tests of general relativity

Yagi, Kent and Stein, Leo C. (2016) Black hole based tests of general relativity. Classical and Quantum Gravity, 33 (5). Art. No. 054001. ISSN 0264-9381. doi:10.1088/0264-9381/33/5/054001.

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General relativity has passed all solar system experiments and neutron star based tests, such as binary pulsar observations, with flying colors. A more exotic arena for testing general relativity is in systems that contain one or more black holes. Black holes are the most compact objects in the Universe, providing probes of the strongest-possible gravitational fields. We are motivated to study strong-field gravity since many theories give large deviations from general relativity only at large field strengths, while recovering the weak-field behavior. In this article, we review how one can probe general relativity and various alternative theories of gravity by using electromagnetic waves from a black hole with an accretion disk, and gravitational waves from black hole binaries. We first review model-independent ways of testing gravity with electromagnetic/gravitational waves from a black hole system. We then focus on selected examples of theories that extend general relativity in rather simple ways. Some important characteristics of general relativity include (but are not limited to) (i) only tensor gravitational degrees of freedom, (ii) the graviton is massless, (iii) no quadratic or higher curvatures in the action, and (iv) the theory is four-dimensional. Altering a characteristic leads to a different extension of general relativity: (i) scalar–tensor theories, (ii) massive gravity theories, (iii) quadratic gravity, and (iv) theories with large extra dimensions. Within each theory, we describe black hole solutions, their properties, and current and projected constraints on each theory using black hole based tests of gravity. We close this review by listing some of the open problems in model-independent tests and within each specific theory.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Stein, Leo C.0000-0001-7559-9597
Additional Information:© 2016 IOP Publishing Ltd. Received 29 July 2015, revised 13 November 2015. Accepted for publication 4 December 2015. Published 5 February 2016. We greatly thank Paolo Pani and Helvi Witek for inviting us to write this article. We also thank Enrico Barausse for carefully reading the manuscript and giving us a lot of useful comments. KY acknowledges support from NSF CAREER Award PHY-1250636, NSF grant PHY-1305682 and JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowships for Research Abroad. LCS acknowledges that support for this work was provided by the NASA through Einstein Postdoctoral Fellowship Award no.PF2-130101 issued by the Chandra X-ray Observatory Center, which is operated by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory for and on behalf of the National Aeronautics Space Administration under contract no.NAS8-03060, and further acknowledges support from NSF grant no.PHY-1068541.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS)UNSPECIFIED
NASA Eistein Postdoctoral FellowshipPF2-130101
Subject Keywords:black holes, modified theories of gravity, gravitational waves, accretion disks
Issue or Number:5
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20160307-120443240
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Official Citation:Kent Yagi and Leo C Stein 2016 Class. Quantum Grav. 33 054001
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:65128
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:07 Mar 2016 21:34
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 23:40

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