results for au:Teukolsky_S in:gr-qc

- Feb 26 2018 gr-qc arXiv:1802.08682v1We present results from the first study of critical behavior in 3-d gravitational collapse. The source of the gravitational field is a massless scalar field. This is a well-studied case for spherically symmetric gravitational collapse, allowing us to understand the reliability and accuracy of the simulations. We study both supercritical and subcritical evolutions to see if one provides more accurate results than the other. We find that even for highly non-spherical initial data, the critical solution is the same as in spherical symmetry.
- Dec 19 2017 gr-qc astro-ph.GA arXiv:1712.05836v2In response to LIGO's observation of GW170104, we performed a series of full numerical simulations of binary black holes, each designed to replicate likely realizations of its dynamics and radiation. These simulations have been performed at multiple resolutions and with two independent techniques to solve Einstein's equations. For the nonprecessing and precessing simulations, we demonstrate the two techniques agree mode by mode, at a precision substantially in excess of statistical uncertainties in current LIGO's observations. Conversely, we demonstrate our full numerical solutions contain information which is not accurately captured with the approximate phenomenological models commonly used to infer compact binary parameters. To quantify the impact of these differences on parameter inference for GW170104 specifically, we compare the predictions of our simulations and these approximate models to LIGO's observations of GW170104.
- The final stage of a binary black hole merger is ringdown, in which the system is described by a Kerr black hole with quasinormal mode perturbations. It is far from straightforward to identify the time at which the ringdown begins. Yet determining this time is important for precision tests of the general theory of relativity that compare an observed signal with quasinormal mode descriptions of the ringdown, such as tests of the no-hair theorem. We present an algorithmic method to analyze the choice of ringdown start time in the observed waveform. This method is based on determining how close the strong field is to a Kerr black hole (Kerrness). Using numerical relativity simulations, we characterize the Kerrness of the strong-field region close to the black hole using a set of local, gauge-invariant geometric and algebraic conditions that measure local isometry to Kerr. We produce a map that associates each time in the gravitational waveform with a value of each of these Kerrness measures; this map is produced by following outgoing null characteristics from the strong and near-field regions to the wave zone. We perform this analysis on a numerical relativity simulation with parameters consistent with GW150914- the first gravitational wave detection. We find that the choice of ringdown start time of $3\,\mathrm{ms}$ after merger used in the GW150914 study to test general relativity corresponds to a high dimensionless perturbation amplitude of $ \sim 7.5 \times 10^{-3}$ in the strong-field region. This suggests that in higher signal-to-noise detections, one would need to start analyzing the signal at a later time for studies that depend on the validity of black hole perturbation theory.
- May 30 2017 gr-qc arXiv:1705.09833v1We present and assess a Bayesian method to interpret gravitational wave signals from binary black holes. Our method directly compares gravitational wave data to numerical relativity simulations. This procedure bypasses approximations used in semi-analytical models for compact binary coalescence. In this work, we use only the full posterior parameter distribution for generic nonprecessing binaries, drawing inferences away from the set of NR simulations used, via interpolation of a single scalar quantity (the marginalized log-likelihood, $\ln {\cal L}$) evaluated by comparing data to nonprecessing binary black hole simulations. We also compare the data to generic simulations, and discuss the effectiveness of this procedure for generic sources. We specifically assess the impact of higher order modes, repeating our interpretation with both $l\le2$ as well as $l\le3$ harmonic modes. Using the $l\le3$ higher modes, we gain more information from the signal and can better constrain the parameters of the gravitational wave signal. We assess and quantify several sources of systematic error that our procedure could introduce, including simulation resolution and duration; most are negligible. We show through examples that our method can recover the parameters for equal mass, zero spin; GW150914-like; and unequal mass, precessing spin sources. Our study of this new parameter estimation method demonstrates we can quantify and understand the systematic and statistical error. This method allows us to use higher order modes from numerical relativity simulations to better constrain the black hole binary parameters.
- Nov 24 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1611.07531v2Parameter estimates of GW150914 were obtained using Bayesian inference, based on three semi-analytic waveform models for binary black hole coalescences. These waveform models differ from each other in their treatment of black hole spins, and all three models make some simplifying assumptions, notably to neglect sub-dominant waveform harmonic modes and orbital eccentricity. Furthermore, while the models are calibrated to agree with waveforms obtained by full numerical solutions of Einstein's equations, any such calibration is accurate only to some non-zero tolerance and is limited by the accuracy of the underlying phenomenology, availability, quality, and parameter-space coverage of numerical simulations. This paper complements the original analyses of GW150914 with an investigation of the effects of possible systematic errors in the waveform models on estimates of its source parameters. To test for systematic errors we repeat the original Bayesian analyses on mock signals from numerical simulations of a series of binary configurations with parameters similar to those found for GW150914. Overall, we find no evidence for a systematic bias relative to the statistical error of the original parameter recovery of GW150914 due to modeling approximations or modeling inaccuracies. However, parameter biases are found to occur for some configurations disfavored by the data of GW150914: for binaries inclined edge-on to the detector over a small range of choices of polarization angles, and also for eccentricities greater than $\sim$0.05. For signals with higher signal-to-noise ratio than GW150914, or in other regions of the binary parameter space (lower masses, larger mass ratios, or higher spins), we expect that systematic errors in current waveform models may impact gravitational-wave measurements, making more accurate models desirable for future observations.
- We introduce a new relativistic astrophysics code, SpECTRE, that combines a discontinuous Galerkin method with a task-based parallelism model. SpECTRE's goal is to achieve more accurate solutions for challenging relativistic astrophysics problems such as core-collapse supernovae and binary neutron star mergers. The robustness of the discontinuous Galerkin method allows for the use of high-resolution shock capturing methods in regions where (relativistic) shocks are found, while exploiting high-order accuracy in smooth regions. A task-based parallelism model allows efficient use of the largest supercomputers for problems with a heterogeneous workload over disparate spatial and temporal scales. We argue that the locality and algorithmic structure of discontinuous Galerkin methods will exhibit good scalability within a task-based parallelism framework. We demonstrate the code on a wide variety of challenging benchmark problems in (non)-relativistic (magneto)-hydrodynamics. We demonstrate the code's scalability including its strong scaling on the NCSA Blue Waters supercomputer up to the machine's full capacity of 22,380 nodes using 671,400 threads.
- Jul 20 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1607.05377v1In fall of 2015, the two LIGO detectors measured the gravitational wave signal GW150914, which originated from a pair of merging black holes. In the final 0.2 seconds (about 8 gravitational-wave cycles) before the amplitude reached its maximum, the observed signal swept up in amplitude and frequency, from 35 Hz to 150 Hz. The theoretical gravitational-wave signal for merging black holes, as predicted by general relativity, can be computed only by full numerical relativity, because analytic approximations fail near the time of merger. Moreover, the nearly-equal masses, moderate spins, and small number of orbits of GW150914 are especially straightforward and efficient to simulate with modern numerical-relativity codes. In this paper, we report the modeling of GW150914 with numerical-relativity simulations, using black-hole masses and spins consistent with those inferred from LIGO's measurement. In particular, we employ two independent numerical-relativity codes that use completely different analytical and numerical methods to model the same merging black holes and to compute the emitted gravitational waveform; we find excellent agreement between the waveforms produced by the two independent codes. These results demonstrate the validity, impact, and potential of current and future studies using rapid-response, targeted numerical-relativity simulations for better understanding gravitational-wave observations.
- We compare GW150914 directly to simulations of coalescing binary black holes in full general relativity, accounting for all the spin-weighted quadrupolar modes, and separately accounting for all the quadrupolar and octopolar modes. Consistent with the posterior distributions reported in LVC_PE[1] (at 90% confidence), we find the data are compatible with a wide range of nonprecessing and precessing simulations. Followup simulations performed using previously-estimated binary parameters most resemble the data. Comparisons including only the quadrupolar modes constrain the total redshifted mass Mz ∈[64 - 82M_⊙], mass ratio q = m2/m1 ∈[0.6,1], and effective aligned spin \chi_eff ∈[-0.3, 0.2], where \chi_eff = (S1/m1 + S2/m2) ⋅\hatL /M. Including both quadrupolar and octopolar modes, we find the mass ratio is even more tightly constrained. Simulations with extreme mass ratios and effective spins are highly inconsistent with the data, at any mass. Several nonprecessing and precessing simulations with similar mass ratio and \chi_eff are consistent with the data. Though correlated, the components' spins (both in magnitude and directions) are not significantly constrained by the data. For nonprecessing binaries, interpolating between simulations, we reconstruct a posterior distribution consistent with previous results. The final black hole's redshifted mass is consistent with Mf,z between 64.0 - 73.5M_⊙and the final black hole's dimensionless spin parameter is consistent with af = 0.62 - 0.73. As our approach invokes no intermediate approximations to general relativity and can strongly reject binaries whose radiation is inconsistent with the data, our analysis provides a valuable complement to LVC_PE[1].
- Jun 03 2016 gr-qc arXiv:1606.00437v1With Advanced LIGO detecting the gravitational waves emitted from a pair of merging black holes in late 2015, we have a new perspective into the strong field regime of binary black hole systems. Event horizons are the defining features of such black hole spacetimes. We introduce a new code for locating event horizons in numerical simulations based on a Delaunay triangulation on a topological sphere. The code can automatically refine arbitrary regions of the event horizon surface to find and explore features such as the hole in a toroidal event horizon, as discussed in our companion paper. We also investigate various ways of integrating the geodesic equation and find evolution equations that can be integrated efficiently with high accuracy.
- Jun 03 2016 gr-qc arXiv:1606.00436v1We find the first binary black hole event horizon with a toroidal topology. It had been predicted that generically the event horizons of merging black holes should briefly have a toroidal topology, but such a phase has never been seen prior to this work. In all previous binary black hole simulations, in the coordinate slicing used to evolve the black holes, the topology of the event horizon transitions directly from two spheres during the inspiral to a single sphere as the black holes merge. We present a coordinate transformation to a foliation of spacelike hypersurfaces that "cut a hole" through the event horizon surface, resulting in a toroidal event horizon. A torus could potentially provide a mechanism for violating topological censorship. However, these toroidal event horizons satisfy topological censorship by construction, because we can always trivially apply the inverse coordinate transformation to remove the topological feature.
- Apr 05 2016 gr-qc arXiv:1604.00782v2We present results on the inspiral, merger, and post-merger evolution of a neutron star - neutron star (NSNS) system. Our results are obtained using the hybrid pseudospectral-finite volume Spectral Einstein Code (SpEC). To test our numerical methods, we evolve an equal-mass system for $\approx 22$ orbits before merger. This waveform is the longest waveform obtained from fully general-relativistic simulations for NSNSs to date. Such long (and accurate) numerical waveforms are required to further improve semi-analytical models used in gravitational wave data analysis, for example the effective one body models. We discuss in detail the improvements to SpEC's ability to simulate NSNS mergers, in particular mesh refined grids to better resolve the merger and post-merger phases. We provide a set of consistency checks and compare our results to NSNS merger simulations with the independent BAM code. We find agreement between them, which increases confidence in results obtained with either code. This work paves the way for future studies using long waveforms and more complex microphysical descriptions of neutron star matter in SpEC.
- Feb 12 2016 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1602.03840v2On September 14, 2015, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detected a gravitational-wave transient (GW150914); we characterize the properties of the source and its parameters. The data around the time of the event were analyzed coherently across the LIGO network using a suite of accurate waveform models that describe gravitational waves from a compact binary system in general relativity. GW150914 was produced by a nearly equal mass binary black hole of $36^{+5}_{-4} M_\odot$ and $29^{+4}_{-4} M_\odot$; for each parameter we report the median value and the range of the 90% credible interval. The dimensionless spin magnitude of the more massive black hole is bound to be $<0.7$ (at 90% probability). The luminosity distance to the source is $410^{+160}_{-180}$ Mpc, corresponding to a redshift $0.09^{+0.03}_{-0.04}$ assuming standard cosmology. The source location is constrained to an annulus section of $610$ deg$^2$, primarily in the southern hemisphere. The binary merges into a black hole of $62^{+4}_{-4} M_\odot$ and spin $0.67^{+0.05}_{-0.07}$. This black hole is significantly more massive than any other inferred from electromagnetic observations in the stellar-mass regime.
- The DG algorithm is a powerful method for solving pdes, especially for evolution equations in conservation form. Since the algorithm involves integration over volume elements, it is not immediately obvious that it will generalize easily to arbitrary time-dependent curved spacetimes. We show how to formulate the algorithm in such spacetimes for applications in relativistic astrophysics. We also show how to formulate the algorithm for equations in non-conservative form, such as Einstein's field equations themselves. We find two computationally distinct formulations in both cases, one of which has seldom been used before for flat space in curvilinear coordinates but which may be more efficient. We also give a new derivation of the ALE algorithm (Arbitrary Lagrangian-Eulerian) using 4-vector methods that is much simpler than the usual derivation and explains why the method preserves the conservation form of the equations. The various formulations are explored with some simple numerical experiments that also explore the effect of the metric identities on the results.
- This review describes the events leading up to the discovery of the Kerr metric in 1963 and the enormous impact the discovery has had in the subsequent 50 years. The review discusses the Penrose process, the four laws of black hole mechanics, uniqueness of the solution, and the no-hair theorems. It also includes Kerr perturbation theory and its application to black hole stability and quasi-normal modes. The Kerr metric's importance in the astrophysics of quasars and accreting stellar-mass black hole systems is detailed. A theme of the review is the "miraculous" nature of the solution, both in describing in a simple analytic formula the most general rotating black hole, and in having unexpected mathematical properties that make many calculations tractable. Also included is a pedagogical derivation of the solution suitable for a first course in general relativity.
- Sep 26 2014 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1409.7159v1For highly compact neutron stars, constructing numerical initial data for black hole-neutron star binary evolutions is very difficult. We describe improvements to an earlier method that enable it to handle these more challenging cases. We examine the case of a 6:1 mass ratio system in inspiral close to merger, where the star is governed by a polytropic $\Gamma=2$, an SLy, or an LS220 equation of state. In particular, we are able to obtain a solution with a realistic LS220 equation of state for a star with compactness 0.26 and mass 1.98 $M_\odot$, which is representative of the highest reliably determined neutron star masses. For the SLy equation of state, we can obtain solutions with a comparable compactness of 0.25, while for a family of polytropic equations of state, we obtain solutions with compactness up to 0.21, the largest compactness that is stable in this family. These compactness values are significantly higher than any previously published results. We find that improvements in adapting the computational domain to the neutron star surface and in accounting for the center of mass drift of the system are the key ingredients allowing us to obtain these solutions.
- May 12 2014 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1405.2144v1Dynamical instabilities in protoneutron stars may produce gravitational waves whose observation could shed light on the physics of core-collapse supernovae. When born with sufficient differential rotation, these stars are susceptible to a shear instability (the "low-T/|W| instability"), but such rotation can also amplify magnetic fields to strengths where they have a considerable impact on the dynamics of the stellar matter. Using a new magnetohydrodynamics module for the Spectral Einstein Code, we have simulated a differentially-rotating neutron star in full 3D to study the effects of magnetic fields on this instability. Though strong toroidal fields were predicted to suppress the low-T/|W| instability, we find that they do so only in a small range of field strengths. Below 4e13 G, poloidal seed fields do not wind up fast enough to have an effect before the instability saturates, while above 5e14 G, magnetic instabilities can actually amplify a global quadrupole mode (this threshold may be even lower in reality, as small-scale magnetic instabilities remain difficult to resolve numerically). Thus, the prospects for observing gravitational waves from such systems are not in fact diminished over most of the magnetic parameter space. Additionally, we report that the detailed development of the low-T/|W| instability, including its growth rate, depends strongly on the particular numerical methods used. The high-order methods we employ suggest that growth might be considerably slower than found in some previous simulations.
- Sep 04 2013 gr-qc arXiv:1309.0544v3We compute the periastron advance using the effective-one-body formalism for binary black holes moving on quasi-circular orbits and having spins collinear with the orbital angular momentum. We compare the predictions with the periastron advance recently computed in accurate numerical-relativity simulations and find remarkable agreement for a wide range of spins and mass ratios. These results do not use any numerical-relativity calibration of the effective-one-body model, and stem from two key ingredients in the effective-one-body Hamiltonian: (i) the mapping of the two-body dynamics of spinning particles onto the dynamics of an effective spinning particle in a (deformed) Kerr spacetime, fully symmetrized with respect to the two-body masses and spins, and (ii) the resummation, in the test-particle limit, of all post-Newtonian (PN) corrections linear in the spin of the particle. In fact, even when only the leading spin PN corrections are included in the effective-one-body spinning Hamiltonian but all the test-particle corrections linear in the spin of the particle are resummed we find very good agreement with the numerical results (within the numerical error for equal-mass binaries and discrepancies of at most 1% for larger mass ratios). Furthermore, we specialize to the extreme mass-ratio limit and derive, using the equations of motion in the gravitational skeleton approach, analytical expressions for the periastron advance, the meridional Lense-Thirring precession and spin precession frequency in the case of a spinning particle on a nearly circular equatorial orbit in Kerr spacetime, including also terms quadratic in the spin.
- Sep 04 2013 gr-qc arXiv:1309.0541v2We study the general relativistic periastron advance in spinning black hole binaries on quasi-circular orbits, with spins aligned or anti-aligned with the orbital angular momentum, using numerical-relativity simulations, the post-Newtonian approximation, and black hole perturbation theory. By imposing a symmetry by exchange of the bodies' labels, we devise an improved version of the perturbative result, and use it as the leading term of a new type of expansion in powers of the symmetric mass ratio. This allows us to measure, for the first time, the gravitational self-force effect on the periastron advance of a non-spinning particle orbiting a Kerr black hole of mass M and spin S = -0.5 M^2, down to separations of order 9M. Comparing the predictions of our improved perturbative expansion with the exact results from numerical simulations of equal-mass and equal-spin binaries, we find a remarkable agreement over a wide range of spins and orbital separations.
- Jul 22 2013 gr-qc arXiv:1307.5307v3The Numerical-Relativity-Analytical-Relativity (NRAR) collaboration is a joint effort between members of the numerical relativity, analytical relativity and gravitational-wave data analysis communities. The goal of the NRAR collaboration is to produce numerical-relativity simulations of compact binaries and use them to develop accurate analytical templates for the LIGO/Virgo Collaboration to use in detecting gravitational-wave signals and extracting astrophysical information from them. We describe the results of the first stage of the NRAR project, which focused on producing an initial set of numerical waveforms from binary black holes with moderate mass ratios and spins, as well as one non-spinning binary configuration which has a mass ratio of 10. All of the numerical waveforms are analysed in a uniform and consistent manner, with numerical errors evaluated using an analysis code created by members of the NRAR collaboration. We compare previously-calibrated, non-precessing analytical waveforms, notably the effective-one-body (EOB) and phenomenological template families, to the newly-produced numerical waveforms. We find that when the binary's total mass is ~100-200 solar masses, current EOB and phenomenological models of spinning, non-precessing binary waveforms have overlaps above 99% (for advanced LIGO) with all of the non-precessing-binary numerical waveforms with mass ratios <= 4, when maximizing over binary parameters. This implies that the loss of event rate due to modelling error is below 3%. Moreover, the non-spinning EOB waveforms previously calibrated to five non-spinning waveforms with mass ratio smaller than 6 have overlaps above 99.7% with the numerical waveform with a mass ratio of 10, without even maximizing on the binary parameters.
- May 28 2013 gr-qc arXiv:1305.5991v2The behavior of merging black holes (including the emitted gravitational waves and the properties of the remnant) can currently be computed only by numerical simulations. This paper introduces ten numerical relativity simulations of binary black holes with equal masses and equal spins aligned or anti-aligned with the orbital angular momentum. The initial spin magnitudes have $|\chi_i| \lesssim 0.95$ and are more concentrated in the aligned direction because of the greater astrophysical interest of this case. We combine this data with five previously reported simulations of the same configuration, but with different spin magnitudes, including the highest spin simulated to date, $\chi_i \approx 0.97$. This data set is sufficiently accurate to enable us to offer improved analytic fitting formulae for the final spin and for the energy radiated by gravitational waves as a function of initial spin. The improved fitting formulae can help to improve our understanding of the properties of binary black hole merger remnants and can be used to enhance future approximate waveforms for gravitational wave searches, such as Effective-One-Body waveforms.
- Apr 23 2013 gr-qc arXiv:1304.6077v3This paper presents a publicly available catalog of 174 numerical binary black-hole simulations following up to 35 orbits. The catalog includes 91 precessing binaries, mass ratios up to 8:1, orbital eccentricities from a few percent to $10^{-5}$, black-hole spins up to 98% of the theoretical maximum, and radiated energies up to 11.1% of the initial mass. We establish remarkably good agreement with post-Newtonian precession of orbital and spin directions for two new precessing simulations, and we discuss other applications of this catalog. Formidable challenges remain: e.g., precession complicates the connection of numerical and approximate analytical waveforms, and vast regions of the parameter space remain unexplored.
- Dec 20 2012 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1212.4810v2Black hole-neutron star mergers resulting in the disruption of the neutron star and the formation of an accretion disk and/or the ejection of unbound material are prime candidates for the joint detection of gravitational-wave and electromagnetic signals when the next generation of gravitational-wave detectors comes online. However, the disruption of the neutron star and the properties of the post-merger remnant are very sensitive to the parameters of the binary. In this paper, we study the impact of the radius of the neutron star and the alignment of the black hole spin for systems within the range of mass ratio currently deemed most likely for field binaries (M_BH ~ 7 M_NS) and for black hole spins large enough for the neutron star to disrupt (J/M^2=0.9). We find that: (i) In this regime, the merger is particularly sensitive to the radius of the neutron star, with remnant masses varying from 0.3M_NS to 0.1M_NS for changes of only 2 km in the NS radius; (ii) 0.01-0.05M_sun of unbound material can be ejected with kinetic energy >10^51 ergs, a significant increase compared to low mass ratio, low spin binaries. This ejecta could power detectable optical and radio afterglows. (iii) Only a small fraction (<3%) of the Advanced LIGO events in this parameter range have gravitational-wave signals which could offer constraints on the equation of state of the neutron star. (iv) A misaligned black hole spin works against disk formation, with less neutron star material remaining outside of the black hole after merger, and a larger fraction of that material remaining in the tidal tail instead of the forming accretion disk. (v) Large kicks (v>300 km/s) can be given to the final black hole as a result of a precessing BHNS merger, when the disruption of the neutron star occurs just outside or within the innermost stable spherical orbit.
- Nov 27 2012 gr-qc arXiv:1211.6079v2Simulations of binary black hole systems using the Spectral Einstein Code (SpEC) are done on a computational domain that excises the regions inside the black holes. It is imperative that the excision boundaries are outflow boundaries with respect to the hyperbolic evolution equations used in the simulation. We employ a time-dependent mapping between the fixed computational frame and the inertial frame through which the black holes move. The time-dependent parameters of the mapping are adjusted throughout the simulation by a feedback control system in order to follow the motion of the black holes, to adjust the shape and size of the excision surfaces so that they remain outflow boundaries, and to prevent large distortions of the grid. We describe in detail the mappings and control systems that we use. We show how these techniques have been essential in the evolution of binary black hole systems with extreme configurations, such as large spin magnitudes and high mass ratios, especially during the merger, when apparent horizons are highly distorted and the computational domain becomes compressed. The techniques introduced here may be useful in other applications of partial differential equations that involve time-dependent mappings.
- Jun 15 2012 gr-qc arXiv:1206.2943v3Initial data for numerical evolutions of binary-black holes have been dominated by "conformally flat" (CF) data (i.e., initial data where the conformal background metric is chosen to be flat) because they are easy to construct. However, CF initial data cannot simulate nearly extremal spins, while more complicated "conformally curved" initial data (i.e., initial data in which the background metric is \emphnot explicitly chosen to be flat), such as initial data where the spatial metric is chosen to be proportional to a weighted superposition of two Kerr-Schild (SKS) black holes can. Here we establish the consistency between the astrophysical results of these two initial data schemes for nonspinning binary systems. We evolve the inspiral, merger, and ringdown of two equal-mass, nonspinning black holes using SKS initial data and compare with an analogous simulation using CF initial data. We find that the resultant gravitational-waveform phases agree to within $\delta \phi \lesssim 10^{-2}$ radians and the amplitudes agree to within $\delta A/A \lesssim 5 \times 10^{-3}$, which are within the numerical errors of the simulations. Furthermore, we find that the final mass and spin of the remnant black hole agree to one part in $10^5
- Nov 08 2011 gr-qc astro-ph.HE arXiv:1111.1677v2General relativistic simulations of black hole-neutron star mergers have currently been limited to low-mass black holes (less than 7 solar mass), even though population synthesis models indicate that a majority of mergers might involve more massive black holes (10 solar mass or more). We present the first general relativistic simulations of black hole-neutron star mergers with 10 solar mass black holes. For massive black holes, the tidal forces acting on the neutron star are usually too weak to disrupt the star before it reaches the innermost stable circular orbit of the black hole. Varying the spin of the black hole in the range a/M = 0.5-0.9, we find that mergers result in the disruption of the star and the formation of a massive accretion disk only for large spins a/M>0.7-0.9. From these results, we obtain updated constraints on the ability of BHNS mergers to be the progenitors of short gamma-ray bursts as a function of the mass and spin of the black hole. We also discuss the dependence of the gravitational wave signal on the black hole parameters, and provide waveforms and spectra from simulations beginning 7-8 orbits before merger.
- Jul 26 2010 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:1007.4203v2The spin of black holes in black hole-neutron star (BHNS) binaries can have a strong influence on the merger dynamics and the postmerger state; a wide variety of spin magnitudes and orientations are expected to occur in nature. In this paper, we report the first simulations in full general relativity of BHNS mergers with misaligned black hole spin. We vary the spin magnitude from a/m=0 to a/m=0.9 for aligned cases, and we vary the misalignment angle from 0 to 80 degrees for a/m=0.5. We restrict our study to 3:1 mass ratio systems and use a simple Gamma-law equation of state. We find that the misalignment angle has a strong effect on the mass of the postmerger accretion disk, but only for angles greater than ~ 40 degrees. Although the disk mass varies significantly with spin magnitude and misalignment angle, we find that all disks have very similar lifetimes ~ 100ms. Their thermal and rotational profiles are also very similar. For a misaligned merger, the disk is tilted with respect to the final black hole's spin axis. This will cause the disk to precess, but on a timescale longer than the accretion time. In all cases, we find promising setups for gamma-ray burst production: the disks are hot, thick, and hyperaccreting, and a baryon-clear region exists above the black hole.
- May 18 2010 gr-qc arXiv:1005.2922v1Current spectral simulations of Einstein's equations require writing the equations in first-order form, potentially introducing instabilities and inefficiencies. We present a new penalty method for pseudo-spectral evolutions of second order in space wave equations. The penalties are constructed as functions of Legendre polynomials and are added to the equations of motion everywhere, not only on the boundaries. Using energy methods, we prove semi-discrete stability of the new method for the scalar wave equation in flat space and show how it can be applied to the scalar wave on a curved background. Numerical results demonstrating stability and convergence for multi-domain second-order scalar wave evolutions are also presented. This work provides a foundation for treating Einstein's equations directly in second-order form by spectral methods.
- Apr 28 2010 gr-qc arXiv:1004.4697v1We compare different methods of computing the orbital eccentricity of quasi-circular binary black hole systems using the orbital variables and gravitational wave phase and frequency. For eccentricities of about a per cent, most methods work satisfactorily. For small eccentricity, however, the gravitational wave phase allows a particularly clean and reliable measurement of the eccentricity. Furthermore, we measure the decay of the orbital eccentricity during the inspiral and find reasonable agreement with post-Newtonian results. Finally, we measure the periastron advance of non-spinning binary black holes, and we compare them to post-Newtonian approximations. With the low uncertainty in the measurement of the periastron advance, we positively detect deviations between fully numerical simulations and post-Newtonian calculations.
- Dec 19 2009 astro-ph.HE gr-qc arXiv:0912.3528v1The merger dynamics of a black hole-neutron star (BHNS) binary is influenced by the neutron star equation of state (EoS) through the latter's effect on the neutron star's radius and on the character of the mass transfer onto the black hole. We study these effects by simulating a number of BHNS binaries in full general relativity using a mixed pseudospectral/finite difference code. We consider several models of the neutron star matter EoS, including Gamma=2 and Gamma=2.75 polytropes and the nuclear-theory based Shen EoS. For models using the Shen EoS, we consider two limits for the evolution of the composition: source-free advection and instantaneous beta-equilibrium. To focus on EoS effects, we fix the mass ratio to 3:1 and the initial aligned black hole spin to a/m=0.5 for all models. We confirm earlier studies which found that more compact stars create a stronger gravitational wave signal but a smaller postmerger accretion disk. We also vary the EoS while holding the compaction fixed. All mergers are qualitatively similar, but we find signatures of the EoS in the waveform and in the tail and disk structures.
- Apr 06 2009 gr-qc arXiv:0904.0493v1We present numerical simulations of orbiting black holes for around twelve cycles, using a high-order multipatch approach. Unlike some other approaches, the computational speed scales almost perfectly for thousands of processors. Multipatch methods are an alternative to AMR (adaptive mesh refinement), with benefits of simplicity and better scaling for improving the resolution in the wave zone. The results presented here pave the way for multipatch evolutions of black hole-neutron star and neutron star-neutron star binaries, where high resolution grids are needed to resolve details of the matter flow.
- We model the nonlinear saturation of the r-mode instability via three-mode couplings and the effects of the instability on the spin evolution of young neutron stars. We include one mode triplet consisting of the r-mode and two near resonant inertial modes that couple to it. We find that the spectrum of evolutions is more diverse than previously thought. The evolution of the star is dynamic and initially dominated by fast neutrino cooling. Nonlinear effects become important when the r-mode amplitude grows above its first parametric instability threshold. The balance between neutrino cooling and viscous heating plays an important role in the evolution. Depending on the initial r-mode amplitude, and on the strength of the viscosity and of the cooling this balance can occur at different temperatures. If thermal equilibrium occurs on the r-mode stability curve, where gravitational driving equals viscous damping, the evolution may be adequately described by a one-mode model. Otherwise, nonlinear effects are important and lead to various more complicated scenarios. Once thermal balance occurs, the star spins-down oscillating between thermal equilibrium states until the instability is no longer active. For lower viscosity we observe runaway behavior in which the r-mode amplitude passes several parametric instability thresholds. In this case more modes need to be included to model the evolution accurately. In the most optimistic case, we find that gravitational radiation from the r-mode instability in a very young, fast spinning neutron star within about 1 Mpc of Earth may be detectable by advanced LIGO for years, and perhaps decades, after formation. Details regarding the amplitude and duration of the emission depend on the internal dissipation of the modes of the star, which would be probed by such detections.
- We present a code for solving the coupled Einstein-hydrodynamics equations to evolve relativistic, self-gravitating fluids. The Einstein field equations are solved in generalized harmonic coordinates on one grid using pseudospectral methods, while the fluids are evolved on another grid using shock-capturing finite difference or finite volume techniques. We show that the code accurately evolves equilibrium stars and accretion flows. Then we simulate an equal-mass nonspinning black hole-neutron star binary, evolving through the final four orbits of inspiral, through the merger, to the final stationary black hole. The gravitational waveform can be reliably extracted from the simulation.
- May 16 2008 gr-qc arXiv:0805.2390v3We test the resummation techniques used in developing Padé and Effective One Body (EOB) waveforms for gravitational wave detection. Convergence tests show that Padé approximants of the gravitational wave energy flux do not accelerate the convergence of the standard Taylor approximants even in the test mass limit, and there is no reason why Padé transformations should help in estimating parameters better in data analysis. Moreover, adding a pole to the flux seems unnecessary in the construction of these Padé-approximated flux formulas. Padé approximants may be useful in suggesting the form of fitting formulas. We compare a 15-orbit numerical waveform of the Caltech-Cornell group to the suggested Padé waveforms of Damour et al. in the equal mass, nonspinning quasi-circular case. The comparison suggests that the Padé waveforms do not agree better with the numerical waveform than the standard Taylor based waveforms. Based on this result, we design a simple EOB model by modifiying the ET EOB model of Buonanno et al., using the Taylor series of the flux with an unknown parameter at the fourth post-Newtonian order that we fit for. This simple EOB model generates a waveform having a phase difference of only 0.002 radians with the numerical waveform, much smaller than 0.04 radians the phase uncertainty in the numerical data itself. An EOB Hamiltonian can make use of a Padé transformation in its construction, but this is the only place Padé transformations seem useful.
- We present a new numerical scheme to solve the initial value problem for black hole-neutron star binaries. This method takes advantage of the flexibility and fast convergence of a multidomain spectral representation of the initial data to construct high-accuracy solutions at a relatively low computational cost. We provide convergence tests of the method for both isolated neutron stars and irrotational binaries. In the second case, we show that we can resolve the small inconsistencies that are part of the quasi-equilibrium formulation, and that these inconsistencies are significantly smaller than observed in previous works. The possibility of generating a wide variety of initial data is also demonstrated through two new configurations inspired by results from binary black holes. First, we show that choosing a modified Kerr-Schild conformal metric instead of a flat conformal metric allows for the construction of quasi-equilibrium binaries with a spinning black hole. Second, we construct binaries in low-eccentricity orbits, which are a better approximation to astrophysical binaries than quasi-equilibrium systems.
- Dec 18 2007 gr-qc arXiv:0712.2472v1We investigate the late time behavior of a scalar field on a fixed Kerr background using a 2+1 dimensional pseudospectral evolution code. We compare evolutions of pure axisymmetric multipoles in both Kerr-Schild and Boyer-Lindquist coordinates. We find that the late-time power-law decay rate depends upon the slicing of the background, confirming previous theoretical predictions for those decay rates. The accuracy of the numerical evolutions is sufficient to decide unambiguously between competing claims in the literature.
- Oct 02 2007 gr-qc arXiv:0710.0158v2Numerical simulations of 15 orbits of an equal-mass binary black hole system are presented. Gravitational waveforms from these simulations, covering more than 30 cycles and ending about 1.5 cycles before merger, are compared with those from quasi-circular zero-spin post-Newtonian (PN) formulae. The cumulative phase uncertainty of these comparisons is about 0.05 radians, dominated by effects arising from the small residual spins of the black holes and the small residual orbital eccentricity in the simulations. Matching numerical results to PN waveforms early in the run yields excellent agreement (within 0.05 radians) over the first $\sim 15$ cycles, thus validating the numerical simulation and establishing a regime where PN theory is accurate. In the last 15 cycles to merger, however, \em generic time-domain Taylor approximants build up phase differences of several radians. But, apparently by coincidence, one specific post-Newtonian approximant, TaylorT4 at 3.5PN order, agrees much better with the numerical simulations, with accumulated phase differences of less than 0.05 radians over the 30-cycle waveform. Gravitational-wave amplitude comparisons are also done between numerical simulations and post-Newtonian, and the agreement depends on the post-Newtonian order of the amplitude expansion: the amplitude difference is about 6--7% for zeroth order and becomes smaller for increasing order. A newly derived 3.0PN amplitude correction improves agreement significantly ($<1%$ amplitude difference throughout most of the run, increasing to 4% near merger) over the previously known 2.5PN amplitude terms.
- The nonlinear saturation of the r-mode instability and its effects on the spin evolution of Low Mass X-ray Binaries (LMXBs) are modeled using the triplet of modes at the lowest parametric instability threshold. We solve numerically the coupled equations for the three mode amplitudes in conjunction with the spin and temperature evolution equations. We observe that very quickly the mode amplitudes settle into quasi-stationary states. Once these states are reached, the mode amplitudes can be found algebraically and the system of equations is reduced from eight to two equations: spin and temperature evolution. Eventually, the system may reach thermal equilibrium and either (1) undergo a cyclic evolution with a frequency change of at most 10%, (2) evolve toward a full equilibrium state in which the accretion torque balances the gravitational radiation emission, or (3) enter a thermogravitational runaway on a very long timescale of about $10^6$ years. Alternatively, a faster thermal runaway (timescale of about 100 years) may occur. The sources of damping considered are shear viscosity, hyperon bulk viscosity and boundary layer viscosity. We vary proprieties of the star such as the hyperon superfluid transition temperature T_c, the fraction of the star that is above the threshold for direct URCA reactions, and slippage factor, and map the different scenarios we obtain to ranges of these parameters. For all our bound evolutions the r-mode amplitude remains small $\sim 10^{-5}$. The spin frequency is limited by boundary layer viscosity to $\nu_{max} \sim 800 Hz [S_{ns}/(M_{1.4} R_6)]^{4/11} T_8^{-2/11}$. We find that for $\nu > 700$ Hz the r-mode instability would be active for about 1 in 1000 LMXBs and that only the gravitational waves from LMXBs in the local group of galaxies could be detected by advanced LIGO interferometers.
- Feb 27 2007 gr-qc arXiv:gr-qc/0702126v1We present a new code for solving the coupled Einstein-hydrodynamics equations to evolve relativistic, self-gravitating fluids. The Einstein field equations are solved on one grid using pseudospectral methods, while the fluids are evolved on another grid by finite differencing. We discuss implementation details, such as the communication between the grids and the treatment of stellar surfaces, and present code tests.
- Jul 14 2006 gr-qc arXiv:gr-qc/0607056v2A method is introduced for solving Einstein's equations using two distinct coordinate systems. The coordinate basis vectors associated with one system are used to project out components of the metric and other fields, in analogy with the way fields are projected onto an orthonormal tetrad basis. These field components are then determined as functions of a second independent coordinate system. The transformation to the second coordinate system can be thought of as a mapping from the original ``inertial'' coordinate system to the computational domain. This dual-coordinate method is used to perform stable numerical evolutions of a black-hole spacetime using the generalized harmonic form of Einstein's equations in coordinates that rotate with respect to the inertial frame at infinity; such evolutions are found to be generically unstable using a single rotating coordinate frame. The dual-coordinate method is also used here to evolve binary black-hole spacetimes for several orbits. The great flexibility of this method allows comoving coordinates to be adjusted with a feedback control system that keeps the excision boundaries of the holes within their respective apparent horizons.
- Two mechanisms for nonlinear mode saturation of the r-mode in neutron stars have been suggested: the parametric instability mechanism involving a small number of modes and the formation of a nearly continuous Kolmogorov-type cascade. Using a network of oscillators constructed from the eigenmodes of a perfect fluid incompressible star, we investigate the transition between the two regimes numerically. Our network includes the 4995 inertial modes up to n<= 30 with 146,998 direct couplings to the r-mode and 1,306,999 couplings with detuning< 0.002 (out of a total of approximately 10^9 possible couplings). The lowest parametric instability thresholds for a range of temperatures are calculated and it is found that the r-mode becomes unstable to modes with 13<n<15. In the undriven, undamped, Hamiltonian version of the network the rate to achieve equipartition is found to be amplitude dependent, reminiscent of the Fermi-Pasta-Ulam problem. More realistic models driven unstable by gravitational radiation and damped by shear viscosity are explored next. A range of damping rates, corresponding to temperatures 10^6K to 10^9K, is considered. Exponential growth of the r-mode is found to cease at small amplitudes, approximately 10^-4. For strongly damped, low temperature models, a few modes dominate the dynamics. The behavior of the r-mode is complicated, but its amplitude is still no larger than about 10^-4 on average. For high temperature, weakly damped models the r-mode feeds energy into a sea of oscillators that achieve approximate equipartition. In this case the r-mode amplitude settles to a value for which the rate to achieve equipartition is approximately the linear instability growth rate.
- R-modes of a rotating neutron star are unstable because of the emission of gravitational radiation. We explore the saturation amplitudes of these modes determined by nonlinear mode-mode coupling. Modelling the star as incompressible allows the analytic computation of the coupling coefficients. All couplings up to n=30 are obtained, and analytic values for the shear damping and mode normalization are presented. In a subsequent paper we perform numerical simulations of a large set of coupled modes.
- Non-linear interactions among the inertial modes of a rotating fluid can be described by a network of coupled oscillators. We use such a description for an incompressible fluid to study the development of the r-mode instability of rotating neutron stars. A previous hydrodynamical simulation of the r-mode reported the catastrophic decay of large amplitude r-modes. We explain the dynamics and timescale of this decay analytically by means of a single three mode coupling. We argue that at realistic driving and damping rates such large amplitudes will never actually be reached. By numerically integrating a network of nearly 5000 coupled modes, we find that the linear growth of the r-mode ceases before it reaches an amplitude of around 10^(-4). The lowest parametric instability thresholds for the r-mode are calculated and it is found that the r-mode becomes unstable to modes with 13<n<15 if modes up to n=30 are included. Using the network of coupled oscillators, integration times of 10^6 rotational periods are attainable for realistic values of driving and damping rates. Complicated dynamics of the modal amplitudes are observed. The initial development is governed by the three mode coupling with the lowest parametric instability. Subsequently a large number of modes are excited, which greatly decreases the linear growth rate of the r-mode.
- Feb 06 2004 gr-qc arXiv:gr-qc/0402027v3Motivated by the need to control the exponential growth of constraint violations in numerical solutions of the Einstein evolution equations, two methods are studied here for controlling this growth in general hyperbolic evolution systems. The first method adjusts the evolution equations dynamically, by adding multiples of the constraints, in a way designed to minimize this growth. The second method imposes special constraint preserving boundary conditions on the incoming components of the dynamical fields. The efficacy of these methods is tested by using them to control the growth of constraints in fully dynamical 3D numerical solutions of a particular representation of the Maxwell equations that is subject to constraint violations. The constraint preserving boundary conditions are found to be much more effective than active constraint control in the case of this Maxwell system.
- May 08 2003 gr-qc arXiv:gr-qc/0305027v2We investigate the behavior of a dynamical scalar field on a fixed Kerr background in Kerr-Schild coordinates using a 3+1 dimensional spectral evolution code, and we measure the power-law tail decay that occurs at late times. We compare evolutions of initial data proportional to f(r) Y_lm(theta,phi) where Y_lm is a spherical harmonic and (r,theta,phi) are Kerr-Schild coordinates, to that of initial data proportional to f(r_BL) Y_lm(theta_BL,phi), where (r_BL,theta_BL) are Boyer-Lindquist coordinates. We find that although these two cases are initially almost identical, the evolution can be quite different at intermediate times; however, at late times the power-law decay rates are equal.
- Oct 01 2002 gr-qc arXiv:gr-qc/0209115v2Three dimensional (3D) numerical evolutions of static black holes with excision are presented. These evolutions extend to about 8000M, where M is the mass of the black hole. This degree of stability is achieved by using growth-rate estimates to guide the fine tuning of the parameters in a multi-parameter family of symmetric hyperbolic representations of the Einstein evolution equations. These evolutions were performed using a fixed gauge in order to separate the intrinsic stability of the evolution equations from the effects of stability-enhancing gauge choices.
- Mar 27 2002 gr-qc arXiv:gr-qc/0203085v2We compare the results of constructing binary black hole initial data with three different decompositions of the constraint equations of general relativity. For each decomposition we compute the initial data using a superposition of two Kerr-Schild black holes to fix the freely specifiable data. We find that these initial-data sets differ significantly, with the ADM energy varying by as much as 5% of the total mass. We find that all initial-data sets currently used for evolutions might contain unphysical gravitational radiation of the order of several percent of the total mass. This is comparable to the amount of gravitational-wave energy observed during the evolved collision. More astrophysically realistic initial data will require more careful choices of the freely specifiable data and boundary conditions for both the metric and extrinsic curvature. However, we find that the choice of extrinsic curvature affects the resulting data sets more strongly than the choice of conformal metric.
- Feb 28 2002 gr-qc arXiv:gr-qc/0202096v1We present a new solver for coupled nonlinear elliptic partial differential equations (PDEs). The solver is based on pseudo-spectral collocation with domain decomposition and can handle one- to three-dimensional problems. It has three distinct features. First, the combined problem of solving the PDE, satisfying the boundary conditions, and matching between different subdomains is cast into one set of equations readily accessible to standard linear and nonlinear solvers. Second, touching as well as overlapping subdomains are supported; both rectangular blocks with Chebyshev basis functions as well as spherical shells with an expansion in spherical harmonics are implemented. Third, the code is very flexible: The domain decomposition as well as the distribution of collocation points in each domain can be chosen at run time, and the solver is easily adaptable to new PDEs. The code has been used to solve the equations of the initial value problem of general relativity and should be useful in many other problems. We compare the new method to finite difference codes and find it superior in both runtime and accuracy, at least for the smooth problems considered here.
- Rossby waves (r-modes) in rapidly rotating neutron stars are unstable because of the emission of gravitational radiation. We study saturation of this instability by nonlinear transfer of energy to stellar "inertial" oscillation modes. We present detailed calculations of stellar inertial modes in the WKB limit, their linear damping by bulk and shear viscosity, and the nonlinear coupling forces among these modes. The saturation amplitude is derived in the extreme limits of strong or weak driving by radiation reaction, as compared to the damping rate of low order inertial modes. We find the saturation energy is \it extremely small, at least four orders of magnitude smaller than that found by previous investigators. We discuss the consequences of this result for spin evolution of young neutron stars, and neutron stars being spun up by accretion in Low Mass X-ray Binaries.We also discuss the detection of these gravitational waves by LIGO.
- May 09 2001 gr-qc arXiv:gr-qc/0105031v1We present a new many-parameter family of hyperbolic representations of Einstein's equations, which we obtain by a straightforward generalization of previously known systems. We solve the resulting evolution equations numerically for a Schwarzschild black hole in three spatial dimensions, and find that the stability of the simulation is strongly dependent on the form of the equations (i.e. the choice of parameters of the hyperbolic system), independent of the numerics. For an appropriate range of parameters we can evolve a single 3D black hole to $t \simeq 600 M$ -- $1300 M$, and are apparently limited by constraint-violating solutions of the evolution equations. We expect that our method should result in comparable times for evolutions of a binary black hole system.
- We develop the formalism required to study the nonlinear interaction of modes in rotating Newtonian stars in the weakly nonlinear regime. The formalism simplifies and extends previous treatments. At linear order, we elucidate and extend slightly a formalism due to Schutz, show how to decompose a general motion of a rotating star into a sum over modes, and obtain uncoupled equations of motion for the mode amplitudes under the influence of an external force. Nonlinear effects are added perturbatively via three-mode couplings. We describe a new, efficient way to compute the coupling coefficients, to zeroth order in the stellar rotation rate, using spin-weighted spherical harmonics. We apply this formalism to derive some properties of the coupling coefficients relevant to the nonlinear interactions of unstable r-modes in neutron stars, postponing numerical integrations of the coupled equations of motion to a later paper. From an astrophysical viewpoint, the most interesting result of this paper is that many couplings of r-modes to other rotational modes (modes with zero frequencies in the non-rotating limit) are small: either they vanish altogether because of various selection rules, or they vanish to lowest order in the angular velocity. In zero-buoyancy stars, the coupling of three r-modes is forbidden entirely and the coupling of two r-modes to one hybrid rotational mode vanishes to zeroth order in rotation frequency. In incompressible stars, the coupling of any three rotational modes vanishes to zeroth order in rotation frequency.
- Jun 23 2000 gr-qc arXiv:gr-qc/0006084v1Using an effective potential method we examine binary black holes where the individual holes carry spin. We trace out sequences of quasi-circular orbits and locate the innermost stable circular orbit as a function of spin. At large separations, the sequences of quasi-circular orbits match well with post-Newtonian expansions, although a clear signature of the simplifying assumption of conformal flatness is seen. The position of the ISCO is found to be strongly dependent on the magnitude of the spin on each black hole. At close separations of the holes, the effective potential method breaks down. In all cases where an ISCO could be determined, we found that an apparent horizon encompassing both holes forms for separations well inside the ISCO. Nevertheless, we argue that the formation of a common horizon is still associated with the breakdown of the effective potential method.
- May 16 2000 gr-qc arXiv:gr-qc/0005056v1Current methods of evolving a spacetime containing one or more black holes are plagued by instabilities that prohibit long-term evolution. Some of these instabilities may be due to the numerical method used, traditionally finite differencing. In this paper, we explore the use of a pseudospectral collocation (PSC) method for the evolution of a spherically symmetric black hole spacetime in one dimension using a hyperbolic formulation of Einstein's equations. We demonstrate that our PSC method is able to evolve a spherically symmetric black hole spacetime forever without enforcing constraints, even if we add dynamics via a Klein-Gordon scalar field. We find that, in contrast to finite-differencing methods, black hole excision is a trivial operation using PSC applied to a hyperbolic formulation of Einstein's equations. We discuss the extension of this method to three spatial dimensions.
- Dec 02 1999 gr-qc arXiv:gr-qc/9912004v2The merger of two neutron stars has been proposed as a source of gamma-ray bursts, r-process elements, and detectable gravitational waves. Extracting information from observations of these phenomena requires fully relativistic simulations. Unfortunately, the only demonstrated method for stably evolving neutron stars requires solving elliptic equations at each time step, adding substantially to the computational resources required. In this paper we present a simpler, more efficient method. The key insight is in how we apply numerical diffusion. We perform a number of tests to validate the method and our implementation. We also carry out a very rough simulation of coalescence and extraction of the gravitational waves to show that the method is viable if realistic initial data are provided.
- Sep 08 1999 gr-qc arXiv:gr-qc/9909026v1The iterated Crank-Nicholson method has become a popular algorithm in numerical relativity. We show that one should carry out exactly two iterations and no more. While the limit of an infinite number of iterations is the standard Crank-Nicholson method, it can in fact be worse to do more than two iterations, and it never helps. We explain how this paradoxical result arises.
- Aug 14 1998 gr-qc arXiv:gr-qc/9808035v1Black holes are among the most intriguing objects in modern physics. Their influence ranges from powering quasars and other active galactic nuclei, to providing key insights into quantum gravity. We review the observational evidence for black holes, and briefly discuss some of their properties. We also describe some recent developments involving cosmic censorship and the statistical origin of black hole entropy.
- Jul 15 1998 gr-qc arXiv:gr-qc/9807029v1We have recently constructed a numerical code that evolves a spherically symmetric spacetime using a hyperbolic formulation of Einstein's equations. For the case of a Schwarzschild black hole, this code works well at early times, but quickly becomes inaccurate on a time scale of 10-100 M, where M is the mass of the hole. We present an analytic method that facilitates the detection of instabilities. Using this method, we identify a term in the evolution equations that leads to a rapidly-growing mode in the solution. After eliminating this term from the evolution equations by means of algebraic constraints, we can achieve free evolution for times exceeding 10000M. We discuss the implications for three-dimensional simulations.
- Neutron stars in binary orbit emit gravitational waves and spiral slowly together. During this inspiral, they are expected to have very little vorticity. It is in fact a good approximation to treat the system as having zero vorticity, i.e., as irrotational. Because the orbital period is much shorter than the radiation reaction time scale, it is also an excellent approximation to treat the system as evolving through a sequence of equilibrium states, in each of which the gravitational radiation is neglected. In Newtonian gravity, one can simplify the hydrodynamic equations considerably for an equilibrium irrotational binary by introducing a velocity potential. The equations reduce to a Poisson-like equation for the potential, and a Bernoulli-type integral for the density. We show that a similar simplification can be carried out in general relativity. The resulting equations are much easier to solve than other formulations of the problem.
- Jan 16 1998 gr-qc arXiv:gr-qc/9801056v1We present a method for constructing equilibrium disks with net angular momentum in general relativity. The method solves the relativistic Vlasov equation coupled to Einstein's equations for the gravitational field. We apply the method to construct disks that are relativistic versions of Newtonian Kalnajs disks. In Newtonian gravity these disks are analytic, and are stable against ring formation for certain ranges of their velocity dispersion. We investigate the existence of fully general relativistic equilibrium sequences for differing values of the velocity dispersion. These models are the first rotating, relativistic disk solutions of the collisionless Boltzman equation.
- Dec 09 1997 gr-qc arXiv:gr-qc/9712037v1We compute the propagation and scattering of linear gravitational waves off a Schwarzschild black hole using a numerical code which solves a generalization of the Zerilli equation to a three dimensional cartesian coordinate system. Since the solution to this problem is well understood it represents a very good testbed for evaluating our ability to perform three dimensional computations of gravitational waves in spacetimes in which a black hole event horizon is present.
- Nov 27 1997 gr-qc arXiv:gr-qc/9711078v1Binary black hole interactions provide potentially the strongest source of gravitational radiation for detectors currently under development. We present some results from the Binary Black Hole Grand Challenge Alliance three- dimensional Cauchy evolution module. These constitute essential steps towards modeling such interactions and predicting gravitational radiation waveforms. We report on single black hole evolutions and the first successful demonstration of a black hole moving freely through a three-dimensional computational grid via a Cauchy evolution: a hole moving ~6M at 0.1c during a total evolution of duration ~60M.
- Oct 01 1997 gr-qc arXiv:gr-qc/9709082v1We present a method for extracting gravitational radiation from a three-dimensional numerical relativity simulation and, using the extracted data, to provide outer boundary conditions. The method treats dynamical gravitational variables as nonspherical perturbations of Schwarzschild geometry. We discuss a code which implements this method and present results of tests which have been performed with a three dimensional numerical relativity code.
- We perform fully relativistic calculations of binary neutron stars in corotating, circular orbit. While Newtonian gravity allows for a strict equilibrium, a relativistic binary system emits gravitational radiation, causing the system to lose energy and slowly spiral inwards. However, since inspiral occurs on a time scale much longer than the orbital period, we can treat the binary to be in quasiequilibrium. In this approximation, we integrate a subset of the Einstein equations coupled to the relativistic equation of hydrostatic equilibrium to solve the initial value problem for binaries of arbitrary separation. We adopt a polytropic equation of state to determine the structure and maximum mass of neutron stars in close binaries for polytropic indices n=1, 1.5 and 2. We construct sequences of constant rest-mass and locate turning points along energy equilibrium curves to identify the onset of orbital instability. In particular, we locate the innermost stable circular orbit (ISCO) and its angular velocity. We construct the first contact binary systems in full general relativity. These arise whenever the equation of state is sufficiently soft >= 1.5. A radial stability analysis reveals no tendency for neutron stars in close binaries to collapse to black holes prior to merger.
- Aug 29 1997 gr-qc arXiv:gr-qc/9708067v1We describe a numerical code that solves Einstein's equations for a Schwarzschild black hole in spherical symmetry, using a hyperbolic formulation introduced by Choquet-Bruhat and York. This is the first time this formulation has been used to evolve a numerical spacetime containing a black hole. We excise the hole from the computational grid in order to avoid the central singularity. We describe in detail a causal differencing method that should allow one to stably evolve a hyperbolic system of equations in three spatial dimensions with an arbitrary shift vector, to second-order accuracy in both space and time. We demonstrate the success of this method in the spherically symmetric case.
- We analyze the stability of relativistic, quasi-equilibrium binary neutron stars in synchronous circular orbit. We explore stability against radial collapse to black holes prior to merger, and against orbital plunge. We apply theorems based on turning points along uniformly rotating sequences of constant angular momentum and rest mass to locate the onset of secular instabilities. We find that inspiraling binary neutron stars are stable against radial collapse to black holes all the way down to the innermost stable circular orbit.
- We perform fully relativistic calculations of binary neutron stars in quasi-equilibrium circular orbits. We integrate Einstein's equations together with the relativistic equation of hydrostatic equilibrium to solve the initial value problem for equal-mass binaries of arbitrary separation. We construct sequences of constant rest mass and identify the innermost stable circular orbit and its angular velocity. We find that the quasi-equilibrium maximum allowed mass of a neutron star in a close binary is slightly larger than in isolation.
- We present a numerical scheme that solves the initial value problem in full general relativity for a binary neutron star in quasi-equilibrium. While Newtonian gravity allows for a strict equilibrium, a relativistic binary system emits gravitational radiation, causing the system to lose energy and slowly spiral inwards. However, since inspiral occurs on a time scale much longer than the orbital period, we can adopt a quasi-equilibrium approximation. In this approximation, we integrate a subset of the Einstein equations coupled to the equations of relativistic hydrodynamics to solve the initial value problem for binaries of arbitrary separation, down to the innermost stable orbit.
- Jun 07 1996 gr-qc arXiv:gr-qc/9606010v1Locating apparent horizons is not only important for a complete understanding of numerically generated spacetimes, but it may also be a crucial component of the technique for evolving black-hole spacetimes accurately. A scheme proposed by Libson et al., based on expanding the location of the apparent horizon in terms of symmetric trace-free tensors, seems very promising for use with three-dimensional numerical data sets. In this paper, we generalize this scheme and perform a number of code tests to fully calibrate its behavior in black-hole spacetimes similar to those we expect to encounter in solving the binary black-hole coalescence problem. An important aspect of the generalization is that we can compute the symmetric trace-free tensor expansion to any order. This enables us to determine how far we must carry the expansion to achieve results of a desired accuracy. To accomplish this generalization, we describe a new and very convenient set of recurrence relations which apply to symmetric trace-free tensors.
- Dec 06 1995 gr-qc arXiv:gr-qc/9512009v1Solving dynamical problems in general relativity requires the full machinery of numerical relativity. Wilson has proposed a simpler but approximate scheme for systems near equilibrium, like binary neutron stars. We test the scheme on isolated, rapidly rotating, relativistic stars. Since these objects are in equilibrium, it is crucial that the approximation work well if we are to believe its predictions for more complicated systems like binaries. Our results are very encouraging.
- Nov 11 1994 gr-qc arXiv:gr-qc/9411025v1We present a new numerical code that evolves a spherically symmetric configuration of collisionless matter in the Brans-Dicke theory of gravitation. In this theory the spacetime is dynamical even in spherical symmetry, where it can contain gravitational radiation. Our code is capable of accurately tracking collapse to a black hole in a dynamical spacetime arbitrarily far into the future, without encountering either coordinate pathologies or spacetime singularities. This is accomplished by truncating the spacetime at a spherical surface inside the apparent horizon, and subsequently solving the evolution and constraint equations only in the exterior region. We use our code to address a number of long-standing theoretical questions about collapse to black holes in Brans-Dicke theory.
- Nov 11 1994 gr-qc arXiv:gr-qc/9411026v1We discuss a number of long-standing theoretical questions about collapse to black holes in the Brans-Dicke theory of gravitation. Using a new numerical code, we show that Oppenheimer-Snyder collapse in this theory produces black holes that are identical to those of general relativity in final equilibrium, but are quite different from those of general relativity during dynamical evolution. We find that there are epochs during which the apparent horizon of such a black hole passes \it outside\/ the event horizon, and that the surface area of the event horizon \it decreases\/ with time. This behavior is possible because theorems which prove otherwise assume $R_{ab}l^al^b \ge 0$ for all null vectors $l^a$. We show that dynamical spacetimes in Brans-Dicke theory can violate this inequality, even in vacuum, for any value of $\omega$.