100 research outputs found

    Overspinning a Kerr black hole: the effect of self-force

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    We study the scenario in which a massive particle is thrown into a rapidly rotating Kerr black hole in an attempt to spin it up beyond its extremal limit, challenging weak cosmic censorship. We work in black-hole perturbation theory, and focus on non-spinning, uncharged particles sent in on equatorial orbits. We first identify the complete parameter-space region in which overspinning occurs when back-reaction effects from the particle's self-gravity are ignored. We find, in particular, that overspinning can be achieved only with particles sent in from infinity. Gravitational self-force effects may prevent overspinning by radiating away a sufficient amount of the particle's angular momentum ("dissipative effect"), and/or by increasing the effective centrifugal repulsion, so that particles with suitable parameters never get captured ("conservative effect"). We analyze the full effect of the self-force, thereby completing previous studies by Jacobson and Sotiriou (who neglected the self-force) and by Barausse, Cardoso and Khanna (who considered the dissipative effect on a subset of orbits). Our main result is an inequality, involving certain self-force quantities, which describes a necessary and sufficient condition for the overspinning scenario to be overruled. This "censorship" condition is formulated on a certain one-parameter family of geodesics in an extremal Kerr geometry. We find that the censorship condition is insensitive to the dissipative effect (within the first-order self-force approximation used here), except for a subset of perfectly fine-tuned orbits, for which a separate censorship condition is derived. We do not obtain here the self-force input needed to evaluate either of our two conditions, but discuss the prospects for producing the necessary data using state-of-the-art numerical codes.Comment: 25 pages, 4 figure

    Beyond the geodesic approximation: conservative effects of the gravitational self-force in eccentric orbits around a Schwarzschild black hole

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    We study conservative finite-mass corrections to the motion of a particle in a bound (eccentric) strong-field orbit around a Schwarzschild black hole. We assume the particle's mass μ\mu is much smaller than the black hole mass MM, and explore post-geodesic corrections of O(μ/M)O(\mu/M). Our analysis uses numerical data from a recently developed code that outputs the Lorenz-gauge gravitational self-force (GSF) acting on the particle along the eccentric geodesic. First, we calculate the O(μ/M)O(\mu/M) conservative correction to the periastron advance of the orbit, as a function of the (gauge-dependent) semilatus rectum and eccentricity. A gauge-invariant description of the GSF precession effect is made possible in the circular-orbit limit, where we express the correction to the periastron advance as a function of the invariant azimuthal frequency. We compare this relation with results from fully nonlinear numerical-relativistic simulations. In order to obtain a gauge-invariant measure of the GSF effect for fully eccentric orbits, we introduce a suitable generalization of Detweiler's circular-orbit "redshift" invariant. We compute the O(μ/M)O(\mu/M) conservative correction to this invariant, expressed as a function of the two invariant frequencies that parametrize the orbit. Our results are in good agreement with results from post-Newtonian calculations in the weak-field regime, as we shall report elsewhere. The results of our study can inform the development of analytical models for the dynamics of strongly gravitating binaries. They also provide an accurate benchmark for future numerical-relativistic simulations.Comment: 29 pages, 4 eps figures, matches PRD versio

    Frequency-domain algorithm for the Lorenz-gauge gravitational self-force

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    State-of-the-art computations of the gravitational self-force (GSF) on massive particles in black hole spacetimes involve numerical evolution of the metric perturbation equations in the time-domain, which is computationally very costly. We present here a new strategy, based on a frequency-domain treatment of the perturbation equations, which offers considerable computational saving. The essential ingredients of our method are (i) a Fourier-harmonic decomposition of the Lorenz-gauge metric perturbation equations and a numerical solution of the resulting coupled set of ordinary equations with suitable boundary conditions; (ii) a generalized version of the method of extended homogeneous solutions [Phys. Rev. D {\bf 78}, 084021 (2008)] used to circumvent the Gibbs phenomenon that would otherwise hamper the convergence of the Fourier mode-sum at the particle's location; and (iii) standard mode-sum regularization, which finally yields the physical GSF as a sum over regularized modal contributions. We present a working code that implements this strategy to calculate the Lorenz-gauge GSF along eccentric geodesic orbits around a Schwarzschild black hole. The code is far more efficient than existing time-domain methods; the gain in computation speed (at a given precision) is about an order of magnitude at an eccentricity of 0.2, and up to three orders of magnitude for circular or nearly circular orbits. This increased efficiency was crucial in enabling the recently reported calculation of the long-term orbital evolution of an extreme mass ratio inspiral [Phys. Rev. D {\bf 85}, 061501(R) (2012)]. Here we provide full technical details of our method to complement the above report.Comment: 27 pages, 4 figure

    Gravitational self-force from radiation-gauge metric perturbations

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    Calculations of the gravitational self-force (GSF) on a point mass in curved spacetime require as input the metric perturbation in a sufficiently regular gauge. A basic challenge in the program to compute the GSF for orbits around a Kerr black hole is that the standard procedure for reconstructing the metric perturbation is formulated in a class of “radiation” gauges, in which the particle singularity is nonisotropic and extends away from the particle’s location. Here we present two practical schemes for calculating the GSF using a radiation-gauge reconstructed metric as input. The schemes are based on a detailed analysis of the local structure of the particle singularity in the radiation gauges. We show that three types of radiation gauge exist: two containing a radial stringlike singularity emanating from the particle, either in one direction (“half-string” gauges) or both directions (“full-string” gauges); and a third type containing no strings but with a jump discontinuity (and possibly a delta function) across a surface intersecting the particle. Based on a flat-space example, we argue that the standard mode-by-mode reconstruction procedure yields the “regular half” of a half-string solution, or (equivalently) either of the regular halves of a no-string solution. For the half-string case, we formulate the GSF in a locally deformed radiation gauge that removes the string singularity near the particle. We derive a mode-sum formula for the GSF in this gauge, which is analogous to the standard Lorenz-gauge formula but requires a correction to the values of the regularization parameters. For the no-string case, we formulate the GSF directly, without a local deformation, and we derive a mode-sum formula that requires no correction to the regularization parameters but involves a certain averaging procedure. We explain the consistency of our results with Gralla’s invariance theorem for the regularization parameters, and we discuss the correspondence between our method and a related approach by Friedman et al

    Self-force and radiation reaction in general relativity

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    [Abridged] This review surveys the theory of gravitational self-force in curved spacetime and its application to the gravitational two-body problem in the extreme-mass-ratio regime. We first lay the relevant formal foundation, describing the rigorous derivation of the equation of self-forced motion using matched asymptotic expansions and other ideas. We then review the progress that has been achieved in numerically calculating the self-force and its physical effects in the astrophysical scenario of a compact object inspiralling into a (rotating) massive black hole. We highlight the way in which, nowadays, self-force calculations make a fruitful contact with other approaches to the two-body problem and help inform an accurate universal model of binary black hole inspirals, valid across all mass ratios. We conclude with a summary of the state of the art, open problems and prospects. Our review is aimed at non-specialist readers and is for the most part self-contained and non-technical; only elementary-level acquaintance with General Relativity is assumed. Where useful, we draw on analogies with familiar concepts from Newtonian gravity or classical electrodynamics.Comment: 79 pages, 11 figures; invited by Reports on Progress in Physics. v2 contains minor corrections and it is the published versio

    Critical phenomena at the threshold of immediate merger in binary black hole systems: the extreme mass ratio case

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    In numerical simulations of black hole binaries, Pretorius and Khurana [Class. Quant. Grav. {\bf 24}, S83 (2007)] have observed critical behaviour at the threshold between scattering and immediate merger. The number of orbits scales as nγlnppn\simeq -\gamma\ln|p-p_*| along any one-parameter family of initial data such that the threshold is at p=pp=p_*. Hence they conjecture that in ultrarelavistic collisions almost all the kinetic energy can be converted into gravitational waves if the impact parameter is fine-tuned to the threshold. As a toy model for the binary, they consider the geodesic motion of a test particle in a Kerr black hole spacetime, where the unstable circular geodesics play the role of critical solutions, and calculate the critical exponent γ\gamma. Here, we incorporate radiation reaction into this model using the self-force approximation. The critical solution now evolves adiabatically along a sequence of unstable circular geodesic orbits under the effect of the self-force. We confirm that almost all the initial energy and angular momentum are radiated on the critical solution. Our calculation suggests that, even for infinite initial energy, this happens over a finite number of orbits given by n0.41/ηn_\infty\simeq 0.41/\eta, where η\eta is the (small) mass ratio. We derive expressions for the time spent on the critical solution, number of orbits and radiated energy as functions of the initial energy and impact parameter.Comment: Version published in PR

    Discontinuous collocation methods and gravitational self-force applications

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    Numerical simulations of extereme mass ratio inspirals, the mostimportant sources for the LISA detector, face several computational challenges. We present a new approach to evolving partial differential equations occurring in black hole perturbation theory and calculations of the self-force acting on point particles orbiting supermassive black holes. Such equations are distributionally sourced, and standard numerical methods, such as finite-difference or spectral methods, face difficulties associated with approximating discontinuous functions. However, in the self-force problem we typically have access to full a-priori information about the local structure of the discontinuity at the particle. Using this information, we show that high-order accuracy can be recovered by adding to the Lagrange interpolation formula a linear combination of certain jump amplitudes. We construct discontinuous spatial and temporal discretizations by operating on the corrected Lagrange formula. In a method-of-lines framework, this provides a simple and efficient method of solving time-dependent partial differential equations, without loss of accuracy near moving singularities or discontinuities. This method is well-suited for the problem of time-domain reconstruction of the metric perturbation via the Teukolsky or Regge-Wheeler-Zerilli formalisms. Parallel implementations on modern CPU and GPU architectures are discussed.Comment: 29 pages, 5 figure

    Comparison Between Self-Force and Post-Newtonian Dynamics: Beyond Circular Orbits

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    The gravitational self-force (GSF) and post-Newtonian (PN) schemes are complementary approximation methods for modelling the dynamics of compact binary systems. Comparison of their results in an overlapping domain of validity provides a crucial test for both methods, and can be used to enhance their accuracy, e.g. via the determination of previously unknown PN parameters. Here, for the first time, we extend such comparisons to noncircular orbits---specifically, to a system of two nonspinning objects in a bound (eccentric) orbit. To enable the comparison we use a certain orbital-averaged quantity U\langle U \rangle that generalizes Detweiler's redshift invariant. The functional relationship U(Ωr,Ωϕ)\langle U \rangle(\Omega_r,\Omega_\phi), where Ωr\Omega_r and Ωϕ\Omega_\phi are the frequencies of the radial and azimuthal motions, is an invariant characteristic of the conservative dynamics. We compute U(Ωr,Ωϕ)\langle U \rangle(\Omega_r,\Omega_\phi) numerically through linear order in the mass ratio qq, using a GSF code which is based on a frequency-domain treatment of the linearized Einstein equations in the Lorenz gauge. We also derive U(Ωr,Ωϕ)\langle U \rangle(\Omega_r,\Omega_\phi) analytically through 3PN order, for an arbitrary qq, using the known near-zone 3PN metric and the generalized quasi-Keplerian representation of the motion. We demonstrate that the O(q)\mathcal{O}(q) piece of the analytical PN prediction is perfectly consistent with the numerical GSF results, and we use the latter to estimate yet unknown pieces of the 4PN expression at O(q)\mathcal{O}(q).Comment: 44 pages, 2 figures, 4 table
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