Computing the merger of black-hole binaries: The IBBH problem
Gravitational radiation arising from the inspiral and merger of binary black holes (BBH's) is a promising candidate for detection by kilometer-scale interferometric gravitational wave observatories. This Rapid Communication discusses a serious obstacle to searches for such radiation and to the interpretation of any observed waves: the inability of current computational techniques to evolve a BBH through its last ∼10 orbits of inspiral (∼100 radians of gravitational-wave phase). A new set of numerical-relativity techniques is proposed for solving this "intermediate binary black hole" (IBBH) problem: (i) numerical evolutions performed in coordinates co-rotating with the BBH, in which the metric coefficients evolve on the long timescale of inspiral, and (ii) techniques for mathematically freezing out gravitational degrees of freedom that are not excited by the waves.
©1998 The American Physical Society Received 22 April 1998; published 26 August 1998 This work was supported in part by NSF grants AST-9417371, AST-9731698 and PHY-9424337 and NASA grants NAGW-4268/NAG5-4351 and NAG5-6840. P.R.B. is grateful to the Sherman Fairchild Foundation for financial support, and J.C. is grateful for partial support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. The authors thank Sam Finn for helpful discussions, and for helpful critiques of an earlier version of this manuscript, they thank Miguel Alcubiere, Bernd Bruegmann, Joan Centrella, Carsten Gundlach, Richard Matzner, Ed Seidel, Stuart Shapiro, and James York.