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Theses Doctoral

Predicting Electromagnetic Signatures of Gravitational Wave Sources

D'Orazio, Daniel John

This dissertation investigates the signatures of electromagnetic radiation that may accompany two specific sources of gravitational radiation: the inspiral and merger of massive black hole binaries (MBHBs) in galactic nuclei, and the coalescence of black hole neutron star (BHNS) pairs. Part I considers the interaction of MBHBs, at sub-pc separations, with a circumbinary gas disk. Accretion rates onto the MBHB are calculated from two-dimensional hydrodynamical simulations as a function of the relative masses of the black holes. The results are applied to interpretation of the recent, sub-pc separation MBHB candidate in the nucleus of the periodically variable Quasar PG 1302-102. We advance an interpretation of the variability observed in PG 1302-102 as being caused by Doppler-boosted emission sourced by the orbital velocity of the smaller black hole in a MBHB with disparate relative masses. Part II considers BHNS binaries in which the black hole is large enough to swallow the neutron star whole before it is disrupted. As the pair nears merger, orbital motion of the black hole through the magnetosphere of the neutron star generates an electromotive force, a black-hole-battery, which, for the strongest neutron star magnetic field strengths, could power luminosities large enough to make the merging pair observable out to cosmic distances. Relativistic solutions for vacuum fields of a magnetic dipole near a horizon are given, and a mechanism for harnessing the power of the black-hole-battery is put forth in the form of a fireball emitting in hard X-rays to to gamma-rays.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Astronomy
Thesis Advisors
Haiman, Zoltan
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
September 8, 2016
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