Electromagnetic Emission from Supermassive Black Hole Mergers

Event Details

Date/Time:

  • Thursday, March 7, 2013 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Location: Boggs 1-90 (CRA Visualization Rm.)
Phone: (404) 894-8886
Fee(s): Free

For More Information Contact

alison.morain@physics.gatech.edu

School of Physics Center for Relativistic Astrophysics Seminar:  Presenting Zoltan Haiman, Columbia University

I will review ideas that may be useful in identifying electromagnetic (EM) emission from supermassive black hole (SMBH) binaries. In particular, any detectable EM emission is likely to be time-variable, which should aid in its identification. I will discuss four possibilities for such variable emission: (i) roughly periodic signals due to the orbital motion prior to coalescence, (ii) a transient pre-cursor caused by the gas trapped inside the binary's orbit, and transients "after-glows" produced by (iii) post-merger gas accretion and (iv) by merger-induced shocks in a circumbinary disk. I will argue that these time-variable EM signatures may be used to identify unique counterparts of gravitational wave sources expected to be detected by (e)LISA and by Pulsar Timing Arrays. I will also highlight the extra science that will be enabled if an EM counterpart is found, such as constraints on SMBH accretion physics, cosmology, and gravitational physics.

Map of Georgia Tech

Georgia Institute of Technology
North Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30332
Phone: 404-894-2000