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The lifetime of binary black holes in Sérsic galaxy models


Biava, Nadia; Colpi, Monica; Capelo, Pedro R; Bonetti, Matteo; Volonteri, Marta; Tamfal, Tomas; Mayer, Lucio; Sesana, Alberto (2019). The lifetime of binary black holes in Sérsic galaxy models. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 487(4):4985-4994.

Abstract

In the local Universe, black holes of $10^{5-6}\, {\rm M_\odot }$ are hosted in galaxies displaying a variety of stellar profiles and morphologies. These black holes are the anticipated targets of LISA, the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna that will detect the low-frequency gravitational-wave signal emitted by binary black holes in this mass interval. In this paper, we infer upper limits on the lifetime of binary black holes of $10^{5-6}\, {\rm M_\odot }$ and up to $10^8\, {\rm M_\odot }$, forming in galaxy mergers, exploring two underlying stellar density profiles, by Dehnen and by Prugniel & Simien, and by exploiting local scaling relations between the mass of the black holes and several quantities of their hosts. We focus on the phase of the dynamical evolution when the binary is transitioning from the hardening phase ruled by the interaction with single stars to the phase driven by the emission of gravitational waves. We find that different stellar profiles predict very distinct trends with binary mass, with lifetimes ranging between fractions of a Gyr to more than 10 Gyr, and with a spread of about one order of magnitude, given by the uncertainties in the observed correlations, which are larger in the low-mass tail of the observed black hole population.

Abstract

In the local Universe, black holes of $10^{5-6}\, {\rm M_\odot }$ are hosted in galaxies displaying a variety of stellar profiles and morphologies. These black holes are the anticipated targets of LISA, the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna that will detect the low-frequency gravitational-wave signal emitted by binary black holes in this mass interval. In this paper, we infer upper limits on the lifetime of binary black holes of $10^{5-6}\, {\rm M_\odot }$ and up to $10^8\, {\rm M_\odot }$, forming in galaxy mergers, exploring two underlying stellar density profiles, by Dehnen and by Prugniel & Simien, and by exploiting local scaling relations between the mass of the black holes and several quantities of their hosts. We focus on the phase of the dynamical evolution when the binary is transitioning from the hardening phase ruled by the interaction with single stars to the phase driven by the emission of gravitational waves. We find that different stellar profiles predict very distinct trends with binary mass, with lifetimes ranging between fractions of a Gyr to more than 10 Gyr, and with a spread of about one order of magnitude, given by the uncertainties in the observed correlations, which are larger in the low-mass tail of the observed black hole population.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute for Computational Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:530 Physics
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > Astronomy and Astrophysics
Physical Sciences > Space and Planetary Science
Language:English
Date:21 August 2019
Deposited On:14 Feb 2020 08:25
Last Modified:23 May 2024 01:47
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:0035-8711
Additional Information:This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society © 2019 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stz1614
  • Content: Published Version