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Published December 2009 | Published
Journal Article Open

Momentum flow in black-hole binaries. I. Post-Newtonian analysis of the inspiral and spin-induced bobbing


A brief overview is presented of a new Caltech/Cornell research program that is exploring the nonlinear dynamics of curved spacetime in binary black-hole collisions and mergers, and of an initial project in this program aimed at elucidating the flow of linear momentum in binary black holes (BBHs). The "gauge-dependence" (arbitrariness) in the localization of linear momentum in BBHs is discussed, along with the hope that the qualitative behavior of linear momentum will be gauge-independent. Harmonic coordinates are suggested as a possibly preferred foundation for fixing the gauge associated with linear momentum. For a BBH or other compact binary, the Landau-Lifshitz formalism is used to define the momenta of the binary's individual bodies in terms of integrals over the bodies' surfaces or interiors, and define the momentum of the gravitational field (spacetime curvature) outside the bodies as a volume integral over the field's momentum density. These definitions will be used in subsequent papers that explore the internal nonlinear dynamics of BBHs via numerical relativity. This formalism is then used, in the 1.5 post-Newtonian approximation, to explore momentum flow between a binary's bodies and its gravitational field during the binary's orbital inspiral. Special attention is paid to momentum flow and conservation associated with synchronous spin-induced bobbing of the black holes, in the so-called "extreme-kick configuration" (where two identical black holes have their spins lying in their orbital plane and antialigned).

Additional Information

© 2009 The American Physical Society. Received 25 February 2009; published 10 December 2009. For helpful discussions we thank Geoffrey Lovelace and Jeff Kaplan. This research was supported in part by NSF grants PHY-0601459 and PHY-0653653, and by the David and Barbara Groce startup fund at Caltech.

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Published - Keppel2009p6833Phys_Rev_D.pdf


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August 19, 2023
October 19, 2023