Expectations for extreme-mass-ratio bursts from the galactic centre

Berry, C. P. L. and Gair, J.R. (2013) Expectations for extreme-mass-ratio bursts from the galactic centre. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 435(4), pp. 3521-3540. (doi: 10.1093/mnras/stt1543)

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When a compact object on a highly eccentric orbit about a much more massive body passes through periapsis, it emits a short gravitational wave signal known as an extreme-mass-ratio burst (EMRB). We consider stellar mass objects orbiting the massive black hole (MBH) found in the Galactic Centre (GC). EMRBs provide a novel means of extracting information about the MBH; an EMRB from the Galactic MBH could be highly informative regarding the MBH's mass and spin if the orbital periapsis is small enough. However, to be a useful astronomical tool, EMRBs must be both informative and sufficiently common to be detectable with a space-based interferometer. We construct a simple model to predict the event rate for Galactic EMRBs. We estimate that there could be on average ∼2 bursts in a two-year mission lifetime for the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna. Stellar mass black holes dominate the event rate. Creating a sample of 100 mission realizations, we calculate what we could learn about the MBH. On average, we expect to be able to determine the MBH mass to ∼1 per cent and the spin to ∼0.1 using EMRBs.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Berry, Dr Christopher
Authors: Berry, C. P. L., and Gair, J.R.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Physics and Astronomy
Journal Name:Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN (Online):1365-2966
Published Online:12 September 2013
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2013 The Authors
First Published:First published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 435(4): 3521-3540
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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