skip to main content

This content will become publicly available on April 1, 2023

Title: Minidisk Accretion onto Spinning Black Hole Binaries: Quasi-periodicities and Outflows
Abstract We perform a full 3D general relativistic magnetohydrodynamical (GRMHD) simulation of an equal-mass, spinning, binary black hole approaching merger, surrounded by a circumbinary disk and with a minidisk around each black hole. For this purpose, we evolve the ideal GRMHD equations on top of an approximated spacetime for the binary that is valid in every position of space, including the black hole horizons, during the inspiral regime. We use relaxed initial data for the circumbinary disk from a previous long-term simulation, where the accretion is dominated by a m = 1 overdensity called the lump. We compare our new spinning simulation with a previous non-spinning run, studying how spin influences the minidisk properties. We analyze the accretion from the inner edge of the lump to the black hole, focusing on the angular momentum budget of the fluid around the minidisks. We find that minidisks in the spinning case have more mass over a cycle than the non-spinning case. However, in both cases we find that most of the mass received by the black holes is delivered by the direct plunging of material from the lump. We also analyze the morphology and variability of the electromagnetic fluxes, and we find more » they share the same periodicities of the accretion rate. In the spinning case, we find that the outflows are stronger than the non-spinning case. Our results will be useful to understand and produce realistic synthetic light curves and spectra, which can be used in future observations. « less
; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
2110338 2018420 2031744 1811228 2009330 1912632 1707946 1726215 1707826 2009260
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract We present fully relativistic predictions for the electromagnetic emission produced by accretion disks surrounding spinning and nonspinning supermassive binary black holes on the verge of merging. We use the code Bothros to post-process data from 3D general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic simulations via ray-tracing calculations. These simulations model the dynamics of a circumbinary disk and the mini-disks that form around two equal-mass black holes orbiting each other at an initial separation of 20 gravitational radii, and evolve the system for more than 10 orbits in the inspiral regime. We model the emission as the sum of thermal blackbody radiation emitted bymore »an optically thick accretion disk and a power-law spectrum extending to hard X-rays emitted by a hot optically thin corona. We generate time-dependent spectra, images, and light curves at various frequencies to investigate intrinsic periodic signals in the emission, as well as the effects of the black hole spin. We find that prograde black hole spin makes mini-disks brighter since the smaller innermost stable circular orbit angular momentum demands more dissipation before matter plunges to the horizon. However, compared to mini-disks in larger separation binaries with spinning black holes, our mini-disks are less luminous: unlike those systems, their mass accretion rate is lower than in the circumbinary disk, and they radiate with lower efficiency because their inflow times are shorter. Compared to a single black hole system matched in mass and accretion rate, these binaries have spectra noticeably weaker and softer in the UV. Finally, we discuss the implications of our findings for the potential observability of these systems.« less
  2. Abstract Accreting supermassive binary black holes (SMBBHs) are potential multimessenger sources because they emit both gravitational-wave and electromagnetic (EM) radiation. Past work has shown that their EM output may be periodically modulated by an asymmetric density distribution in the circumbinary disk, often called an “overdensity” or “lump;” this modulation could possibly be used to identify a source as a binary. We explore the sensitivity of the overdensity to SMBBH mass ratio and magnetic flux through the accretion disk. We find that the relative amplitude of the overdensity and its associated EM periodic signal both degrade with diminishing mass ratio, vanishingmore »altogether somewhere between 1:2 and 1:5. Greater magnetization also weakens the lump and any modulation of the light output. We develop a model to describe how lump formation results from internal stress degrading faster in the lump region than it can be rejuvenated through accretion inflow, and predicts a threshold value in specific internal stress below which lump formation should occur and which all our lump-forming simulations satisfy. Thus, detection of such a modulation would provide a constraint on both mass ratio and magnetic flux piercing the accretion flow.« less
  3. Abstract For testing different electron temperature ( T e ) prescriptions in general relativistic magnetohydrodynamics (GRMHD) simulations through observations, we propose to utilize linear polarization (LP) and circular polarization (CP) images. We calculate the polarization images based on a semi-magnetically arrested disk GRMHD model for various T e parameters, bearing M87 in mind. We find an LP–CP separation in the images of the low- T e disk cases at 230GHz; namely, the LP flux mainly originates from downstream of the jet, and the CP flux comes from the counter-side jet, while the total intensity is maximum at the jet base.more »This can be understood as follows: although the LP flux is generated through synchrotron emission widely around the black hole, most of the LP flux from the jet base does not reach the observer, since it undergoes Faraday rotation ( ∝ T e − 2 ) when passing through the outer cold disk and is thus depolarized. Hence, only the LP flux from the downstream (not passing the cold dense plasmas) can survive. Meanwhile, the CP flux is generated from the LP flux by Faraday conversion ( ∝ T e ) in the inner hot region. Stronger CP flux is thus observed from the counter-side jet. Moreover, the LP–CP separation is more enhanced at a lower frequency, such as 86 GHz, but is rather weak at 43 GHz, since the media in the latter case is optically thick for synchrotron self-absorption so that all of the fluxes should come from the photosphere. The same is true for cases with higher mass accretion rates and/or larger inclination angles.« less
  4. All ten LIGO/Virgo binary black hole (BH-BH) coalescences reported following the O1/O2 runs have near-zero effective spins. There are only three potential explanations for this. If the BH spin magnitudes are large, then: (i) either both BH spin vectors must be nearly in the orbital plane or (ii) the spin angular momenta of the BHs must be oppositely directed and similar in magnitude. Then there is also the possibility that (iii) the BH spin magnitudes are small. We consider the third hypothesis within the framework of the classical isolated binary evolution scenario of the BH-BH merger formation. We test threemore »models of angular momentum transport in massive stars: a mildly efficient transport by meridional currents (as employed in the Geneva code), an efficient transport by the Tayler-Spruit magnetic dynamo (as implemented in the MESA code), and a very-efficient transport (as proposed by Fuller et al.) to calculate natal BH spins. We allow for binary evolution to increase the BH spins through accretion and account for the potential spin-up of stars through tidal interactions. Additionally, we update the calculations of the stellar-origin BH masses, including revisions to the history of star formation and to the chemical evolution across cosmic time. We find that we can simultaneously match the observed BH-BH merger rate density and BH masses and BH-BH effective spins. Models with efficient angular momentum transport are favored. The updated stellar-mass weighted gas-phase metallicity evolution now used in our models appears to be key for obtaining an improved reproduction of the LIGO/Virgo merger rate estimate. Mass losses during the pair-instability pulsation supernova phase are likely to be overestimated if the merger GW170729 hosts a BH more massive than 50  M ⊙ . We also estimate rates of black hole-neutron star (BH-NS) mergers from recent LIGO/Virgo observations. If, in fact. angular momentum transport in massive stars is efficient, then any (electromagnetic or gravitational wave) observation of a rapidly spinning BH would indicate either a very effective tidal spin up of the progenitor star (homogeneous evolution, high-mass X-ray binary formation through case A mass transfer, or a spin- up of a Wolf-Rayet star in a close binary by a close companion), significant mass accretion by the hole, or a BH formation through the merger of two or more BHs (in a dense stellar cluster).« less
  5. ABSTRACT Massive black hole (MBH) binary inspiral time-scales are uncertain, and their spins are even more poorly constrained. Spin misalignment introduces asymmetry in the gravitational radiation, which imparts a recoil kick to the merged MBH. Understanding how MBH binary spins evolve is crucial for determining their recoil velocities, their gravitational wave (GW) waveforms detectable with Laser Interferometer Space Antenna, and their retention rate in galaxies. Here, we introduce a sub-resolution model for gas- and gravitational wave (GW)-driven MBH binary spin evolution using accreting MBHs from the Illustris cosmological hydrodynamic simulations. We also model binary inspiral via dynamical friction, stellar scattering,more »viscous gas drag, and GW emission. Our model assumes that the circumbinary disc always removes angular momentum from the binary. It also assumes differential accretion, which causes greater alignment of the secondary MBH spin in unequal-mass mergers. We find that 47 per cent of the MBHs in our population merge by z = 0. Of these, 19 per cent have misaligned primaries and 10 per cent have misaligned secondaries at the time of merger in our fiducial model with initial eccentricity of 0.6 and accretion rates from Illustris. The MBH misalignment fraction depends strongly on the accretion disc parameters, however. Reducing accretion rates by a factor of 100, in a thicker disc, yields 79 and 42 per cent misalignment for primaries and secondaries, respectively. Even in the more conservative fiducial model, more than 12 per cent of binaries experience recoils of >500 km s−1, which could displace them at least temporarily from galactic nuclei. We additionally find that a significant number of systems experience strong precession.« less