University of Birmingham > Talks@bham > Astrophysics Talks Series > A new paradigm to black-hole spin precession

A new paradigm to black-hole spin precession

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  • UserDavide Gerosa (University of Cambridge)
  • ClockWednesday 24 February 2016, 14:30-15:30
  • HousePhysics West 117.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Sean McGee.

The dynamics of precessing black-hole binaries in the post-Newtonian regime is deeply characterized by a timescale hierarchy: the orbital timescale is very short compared to the spin- precession timescale which, in turn, is much shorter than the radiation-reaction timescale on which the orbit is shrinking due to gravitational-wave emission. The binary dynamics is typically studied in an orbit-averaged fashion: one only cares about the orbit itself, not the instantaneous position of each black hole. Here we also average over the precessional time, thus considering the precessional cones “as a whole”, without tracking the spin’s secular motion. These solutions improve our understanding of spin precession in much the same way that the conical sections for Keplerian orbits provide additional insights beyond Newton’s 1/r^2 law. Double averaging leads to impressive computational speed-up: post-Newtonian inspirals can now be computed from arbitrarily large separations, thus bridging the gap between astrophysics and numerical relativity. We also present the discovery of a new dynamical instability in binary black holes with aligned spins. The onset of the instability lies in the sensitivity windows of future detectors LIGO /Virgo and eLISA, thus predicting binaries that start precessing while being observed. More on arXiv 1411.0674 and 1506.09116 (PRL).

This talk is part of the Astrophysics Talks Series series.

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