Journal article

Binary supermassive black hole environments diminish the gravitational wave signal in the pulsar timing band

V Ravi, JSB Wyithe, RM Shannon, G Hobbs, RN Manchester

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society | OXFORD UNIV PRESS | Published : 2014


We assess the effects of supermassive black hole (SMBH) environments on the gravitational wave (GW) signal from binary SMBHs. To date, searches with pulsar timing arrays for GWs from binary SMBHs, in the frequency band ~1-100 nHz, include the assumptions that all binaries are circular and evolve only through GW emission. However, dynamical studies have shown that the only way that binary SMBH orbits can decay to separations where GW emission dominates the evolution is through interactions with their environments. We augment an existing galaxy and SMBH formation and evolution model with calculations of binary SMBH evolution in stellar environments, accounting for non-zero binary eccentricitie..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Funding Acknowledgements

The authors thank Alberto Sesana, Sarah Burke-Spolaor, Yuri Levin, Simon Mutch, Paul Lasky and Jonathan Khoo for useful discussions. VR is a recipient of a John Stocker Postgraduate Scholarship from the Science and Industry Endowment Fund, and JSBW acknowledges an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship. The Millennium and Millennium-II simulation data bases used in this paper and the web application providing online access to them were constructed as part of the activities of the German Astrophysical Virtual Observatory. This work was performed on the swinSTAR supercomputer at the Swinburne University of Technology.