186 research outputs found

    Relativistic dynamical friction in a collisional fluid

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    The dynamical friction force experienced by a body moving at relativistic speed in a gaseous medium is examined. This force, which arises due to the gravitational interaction of the body with its own gravitationally-induced wake, is calculated for straight-line and circular motion, generalizing previous results by several authors. Possible applications to the study of extreme mass-ratio inspirals around strongly-accreting supermassive black holes are suggested.Comment: 9 pages and 1 figure. Accepted for publication in MNRAS. Replaced to include minor changes made in proo

    Perturbed Kerr Black Holes can probe deviations from General Relativity

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    Although the Kerr solution is common to many gravity theories, its perturbations are different in different theories. Hence, perturbed Kerr black holes can probe deviations from General Relativity.Comment: minor changes to match version published in Phys. Rev. Let

    Testing the strong equivalence principle with gravitational-wave observations of binary black holes

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    The recent LIGO detection of gravitational waves from black-hole binaries offers the exciting possibility of testing gravitational theories in the previously inaccessible strong-field, highly relativistic regime. While the LIGO detections are so far consistent with the predictions of General Relativity, future gravitational-wave observations will allow us to explore this regime to unprecedented accuracy. One of the generic predictions of theories of gravity that extend General Relativity is the violation of the strong equivalence principle, i.e. strongly gravitating bodies such as neutron stars and black holes follow trajectories that depend on their nature and composition. This has deep consequences for gravitational-wave emission, which takes place with additional degrees of freedom besides the tensor polarizations of General Relativity. I will briefly review the formalism needed to describe these extra emission channels, and show that binary black-hole observations probe a set of gravitational theories that are largely disjoint from those that are testable with binary pulsars or neutron stars. \ua9 Copyright owned by the author(s)

    Exploring gravity theories with gravitational waves and compact objects

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    This thesis is devoted to the study of tests of General Relativitywhich could be performed using astrophysical observations of stars or compact objects. The thesis consists of two parts. In the first one, I have investigated how the future gravitational wave observations by the space-based detector LISA will permit mapping the spacetime of the supermassive black holes which are thought to reside in galactic centres. In particular, I have analysed the dynamics of a stellar black hole orbiting around a supermassive black hole and have investigated under which conditions the gravitational wave signal emitted by such a system can allow one to detect the presence of an accretion torus around the supermassive black hole. I have also studied the motion of a stellar black hole in the very strong field region of a nearly extreme supermassive black hole: contrary to our expectations and to suggestions present in the literature, we have found that although the motion presents peculiar characteristics, the emitted gravitational waves do not retain an observable imprint of the almost maximal rotation of the supermassive black hole. Also, I considered black hole binaries with arbitrary masses and spins. Although the coalescence of such systems can be studied only with numerical simulations, I have derived a compact analytic formula for the spin of the final remnant. This formula is in agreement with all the numerical simulations available to date

    Test bodies and naked singularities: is the self-force the cosmic censor?

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    Jacobson and Sotiriou showed that rotating black holes could be spun-up past the extremal limit by the capture of non-spinning test bodies, if one neglects radiative and self-force effects. This would represent a violation of the Cosmic Censorship Conjecture in four-dimensional, asymptotically flat spacetimes. We show that for some of the trajectories giving rise to naked singularities, radiative effects can be neglected. However, for these orbits the conservative self-force is important, and seems to have the right sign to prevent the formation of naked singularities.Comment: 4 pages, 1 table. Phys. Rev. Lett. in press. Substantially improved version, showing that the conservative self-force's sign is the right one to prevent the formation of naked singularities for all orbit

    Black Holes in General Relativity and Beyond

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    The recent detections of gravitational waves from binary systems of black holes are in remarkable agreement with the predictions of General Relativity. In this pedagogical mini-review, I go through the physics of the different phases of the evolution of black hole binary systems, providing a qualitative physical interpretation of each one of them. I also briefly describe how these phases would be modified if gravitation were described by a theory extending or deforming General Relativity, or if the binary components turned out to be more exotic compact objects than black holes

    The importance of precession in modelling the direction of the final spin from a black-hole merger

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    The prediction of the spin of the black hole resulting from the merger of a generic black-hole binary system is of great importance to study the cosmological evolution of supermassive black holes. Several attempts have been recently made to model the spin via simple expressions exploiting the results of numerical-relativity simulations. Here, I first review the derivation of a formula, proposed in Barausse & Rezzolla, Apj 704 L40, which accurately predicts the final spin magnitude and direction when applied to binaries with separations of hundred or thousands of gravitational radii. This makes my formula particularly suitable for cosmological merger-trees and N-body simulations, which provide the spins and angular momentum of the two black holes when their separation is of thousands of gravitational radii. More importantly, I investigate the physical reason behind the good agreement between my formula and numerical relativity simulations, and nail it down to the fact that my formula takes into account the post-Newtonian precession of the spins and angular momentum in a consistent manner.Comment: 6 pages, 2 figures. Panel added to fig 2, discussion extended to comply with referee's comments. Version accepted for publication as proceeding of the 8th Amaldi International Conference on Gravitational Waves, NYC, 21-26 June 200

    Black holes in Einstein-aether and Horava-Lifshitz gravity

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    We study spherical black-hole solutions in Einstein-aether theory, a Lorentz-violating gravitational theory consisting of General Relativity with a dynamical unit timelike vector (the "aether") that defines a preferred timelike direction. These are also solutions to the infrared limit of Horava-Lifshitz gravity. We explore parameter values of the two theories where all presently known experimental constraints are satisfied, and find that spherical black-hole solutions of the type expected to form by gravitational collapse exist for all those parameters. Outside the metric horizon, the deviations away from the Schwarzschild metric are typically no more than a few percent for most of the explored parameter regions, which makes them difficult to observe with electromagnetic probes, but in principle within reach of future gravitational-wave detectors. Remarkably, we find that the solutions possess a universal horizon, not far inside the metric horizon, that traps waves of any speed relative to the aether. A notion of black hole thus persists in these theories, even in the presence of arbitrarily high propagation speeds.Comment: 18 pages, 12 figures; v2: typos corrected, matches published versio

    The complete non-spinning effective-one-body metric at linear order in the mass ratio

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    Using the main result of a companion paper, in which the binding energy of a circular-orbit non-spinning compact binary system is computed at leading-order beyond the test-particle approximation, the exact expression of the effective-one-body (EOB) metric component g^eff_tt is obtained through first order in the mass ratio. Combining these results with the recent gravitational self-force calculation of the periastron advance for circular orbits in the Schwarzschild geometry, the EOB metric component g^eff_rr is also determined at linear order in the mass ratio. These results assume that the mapping between the real and effective Hamiltonians at the second and third post-Newtonian (PN) orders holds at all PN orders. Our findings also confirm the advantage of resumming the PN dynamics around the test-particle limit if the goal is to obtain a flexible model that can smoothly connect the test-mass and equal-mass limits.Comment: 11 pages, 2 figures; appendix generalized to include the logarithmic contributions in the post-Newtonian Hamiltonian. Results unchanged. Matches version to be published in Phys. Rev.

    Polytropic spheres in Palatini f(R) gravity

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    We examine static spherically symmetric polytropic spheres in Palatini f(R) gravity and show that no regular solutions to the field equations exist for physically relevant cases such as a monatomic isentropic gas or a degenerate electron gas, thus casting doubt on the validity of Palatini f(R) gravity as an alternative to General Relativity.Comment: Talk given by EB at the 30th Spanish Relativity Meeting, 10 - 14 September 2007, Tenerife (Spain). Based on arXiv:gr-qc/0703132 and arXiv:0712.1141 [gr-qc
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