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  1. Abstract

    We show that gas disks around the components of an orbiting binary system (so-called minidisks) may be susceptible to a resonant instability that causes the minidisks to become significantly eccentric. Eccentricity is injected by, and also induces, regular impacts between the minidisks at roughly the orbital period of the binary. Such eccentric minidisks are seen in vertically integrated, two-dimensional simulations of a circular, equal-mass binary accreting from a circumbinary gas disk with a Γ-law equation of state. Minidisk eccentricity is suppressed by the use of an isothermal equation of state. However, the instability still operates and can be revealed in a minimal disk-binary simulation by removing the circumbinary disk and feeding the minidisks from the component positions. Minidisk eccentricity is also suppressed when the gravitational softening length is large (≳4% of the binary semimajor axis), suggesting that its absence could be an artifact of widely adopted numerical approximations; a follow-up study in three dimensions with well-resolved, geometrically thin minidisks (aspect ratios ≲0.02) may be needed to assess whether eccentric minidisks can occur in real astrophysical environments. If they can, the electromagnetic signature may be important for discriminating between binary and single black hole scenarios for quasiperiodic oscillations in active galactic nuclei; in turn, this might aid in targeted searches with pulsar timing arrays for individual supermassive black hole binary sources of low-frequency gravitational waves.

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    The upcoming Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) is expected to detect gravitational waves (GWs) from massive black hole binaries (MBHB). Finding the electromagnetic (EM) counterparts for these GW events will be crucial for understanding how and where MBHBs merge, measuring their redshifts, constraining the Hubble constant and the graviton mass, and for other novel science applications. However, due to poor GW sky localization, multiwavelength, time-dependent EM models are needed to identify the right host galaxy. We studied merging MBHBs embedded in a circumbinary disc (CBD) using high-resolution two-dimensional simulations, with a Γ-law equation of state, incorporating viscous heating, shock heating, and radiative cooling. We simulate the binary from large separation until after merger, allowing us to model the decoupling of the binary from the CBD. We compute the EM signatures and identify distinct features before, during, and after the merger. Our main result is a multiband EM signature: we find that the MBHB produces strong thermal X-ray emission until 1–2 d prior to the merger. However, as the binary decouples from the CBD, the X-ray-bright minidiscs rapidly shrink in size, become disrupted, and the accretion rate drops precipitously. As a result, the thermal X-ray luminosity drops by orders of magnitude, and the source remains X-ray dark for several days, regardless of any post-merger effects such as GW recoil or mass-loss. Looking for the abrupt spectral change where the thermal X-ray disappears is a tell-tale EM signature of LISA mergers that does not require extensive pre-merger monitoring.

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  3. Abstract We study sky maps and light curves of gamma-ray emission from neutron stars in compact binaries, and in isolation. We briefly review some gamma-ray emission models, and reproduce sky maps from a standard isolated pulsar in the Separatrix Layer model. We consider isolated pulsars with several variations of a dipole magnetic field, including superpositions, and predict their gamma-ray emission. Our results provide new heuristics on what can and cannot be inferred about the magnetic field configuration of pulsars from high-energy observations. We find that typical double-peak light curves can be produced by pulsars with significant multipole structure beyond a single dipole. For binary systems, we also present a simple approximation that is useful for rapid explorations of binary magnetic field structure. Finally, we predict the gamma-ray emission pattern from a compact black hole-neutron star binary moments before merger by applying the Separatrix Layer model to data simulated in full general relativity; we find that face-on observers receive little emission, equatorial observers see one broad peak, and more generic observers typically see two peaks. 
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