How black holes get their kicks: Gravitational radiation recoil revisited

Marc Favata, Scott A. Hughes, Daniel E. Holz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

125 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Gravitational waves from the coalescence of binary black holes carry away linear momentum, causing center of mass recoil. This "radiation rocket" effect has important implications for systems with escape speeds of order the recoil velocity. We revisit this problem using black hole perturbation theory, treating the binary as a test mass spiraling into a spinning hole. For extreme ratios (q ≡ m1/m2 ≪ 1), we compute the recoil for the slow in-spiral epoch of binary coalescence very accurately; these results can be extrapolated to q ∼ 0.4 with modest accuracy. Although the recoil from the final plunge contributes significantly to the final recoil, we are only able to make crude estimates of its magnitude. We find that the recoil can easily reach ∼ 100-200 km s-1 but most likely does not exceed ∼500 km s-1. Although much lower than previous estimates, this recoil is large enough to have important astrophysical consequences. These include the ejection of black holes from globular clusters, dwarf galaxies, and high-redshift dark matter halos.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L5-L8
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume607
Issue number1 II
DOIs
StatePublished - 20 May 2004

Fingerprint

coalescence
gravitational waves
coalescing
momentum
perturbation
dwarf galaxies
estimates
rockets
globular clusters
ejection
metal spinning
escape
center of mass
halos
dark matter
astrophysics
perturbation theory
time measurement
radiation
speed

Keywords

  • Black hole physics
  • Galaxies: nuclei
  • Gravitation
  • Gravitational waves

Cite this

Favata, Marc ; Hughes, Scott A. ; Holz, Daniel E. / How black holes get their kicks : Gravitational radiation recoil revisited. In: Astrophysical Journal. 2004 ; Vol. 607, No. 1 II. pp. L5-L8.
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How black holes get their kicks : Gravitational radiation recoil revisited. / Favata, Marc; Hughes, Scott A.; Holz, Daniel E.

In: Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 607, No. 1 II, 20.05.2004, p. L5-L8.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T2 - Gravitational radiation recoil revisited

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