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      Low-frequency gravitational-wave science with eLISA/NGO

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          Abstract

          We review the expected science performance of the New Gravitational-Wave Observatory (NGO, a.k.a. eLISA), a mission under study by the European Space Agency for launch in the early 2020s. eLISA will survey the low-frequency gravitational-wave sky (from 0.1 mHz to 1 Hz), detecting and characterizing a broad variety of systems and events throughout the Universe, including the coalescences of massive black holes brought together by galaxy mergers; the inspirals of stellar-mass black holes and compact stars into central galactic black holes; several millions of ultracompact binaries, both detached and mass transferring, in the Galaxy; and possibly unforeseen sources such as the relic gravitational-wave radiation from the early Universe. eLISA's high signal-to-noise measurements will provide new insight into the structure and history of the Universe, and they will test general relativity in its strong-field dynamical regime.

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          Gravitational Waves from Mesoscopic Dynamics of the Extra Dimensions

          Recent models which describe our world as a brane embedded in a higher dimensional space introduce new geometrical degrees of freedom: the shape and/or size of the extra dimensions, and the position of the brane. These modes can be coherently excited by symmetry breaking in the early universe even on ``mesoscopic'' scales as large as 1 mm, leading to detectable gravitational radiation. Two sources are described: relativistic turbulence caused by a first-order transition of a radion potential, and Kibble excitation of Nambu-Goldstone modes of brane displacement. Characteristic scales and spectral properties are estimated and the prospects for observation by LISA are discussed. Extra dimensions with scale between 10 \AA and 1 mm, which enter the 3+1-D era at cosmic temperatures between 1 and 1000 TeV, produce backgrounds with energy peaked at observed frequencies in the LISA band, between \(10^{-1}\) and \(10^{-4}\) Hz. The background is detectable above instrument and astrophysical foregrounds if initial metric perturbations are excited to a fractional amplitude of \(10^{-3}\) or more, a likely outcome for the Nambu-Goldstone excitations.
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            The Role of Gas in the Merging of Massive Black Holes in Galactic Nuclei. I. Black Hole Merging in a Spherical Gas Cloud

            Using high-resolution SPH numerical simulations, we investigate the effects of gas on the inspiral and merger of a massive black hole binary. This study is motivated by both observational and theoretical work that indicate the presence of large amounts of gas in the central regions of merging galaxies. N-body simulations have shown that the coalescence of a massive black hole binary eventually stalls in a stellar background. However, our simulations suggest that the massive black hole binary will finally merge if it is embedded in a gaseous background. Here we present results in which the gas is assumed to be initially spherical with a relatively smooth distribution. In the early evolution of the binary, the separation dimishes due to the gravitational drag exerted by the background gas. In the later stages, when the binary dominates the gravitational potential in its vicinity, the medium responds by forming an ellipsoidal density enhancement whose axis lags behind the binary axis, and this offset produces a torque on the binary that causes continuing loss of angular momentum and is able to reduce the binary separation to distances where gravitational radiation is efficient. Assuming typical parameters from observations of Ultra Luminous Infrared Galaxies, we predict that a black hole binary will merge within \(10^{7}\)yrs; therefore these results imply that in a merger of gas-rich galaxies, any massive central black holes will coalescence soon after the galaxies merge. Our work thus supports scenarios of massive black hole evolution and growth where hierarchical merging plays an important role. The final coalescence of the black holes leads to gravitational radiation emission that would be detectable up to high redshift by LISA. We show that similar physical effects are important for the formation of close binary stars.
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              Author and article information

              Journal
              03 February 2012
              2012-09-12
              Article
              10.1088/0264-9381/29/12/124016
              1202.0839

              http://arxiv.org/licenses/nonexclusive-distrib/1.0/

              Custom metadata
              Pau Amaro-Seoane et al 2012 Class. Quantum Grav. 29 124016
              20 pages, 8 figures, proceedings of the 9th Amaldi Conference on Gravitational Waves. Final journal version. For a longer exposition of the eLISA science case, see http://arxiv.org/abs/1201.3621
              gr-qc astro-ph.CO astro-ph.GA

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