Electromagnetic counterparts of recoiling black holes: general relativistic simulations of non-Keplerian discs
Max-Planck-Institut für Gravitationsphysik, Albert Einstein
2 Department of Physics, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA
3 Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia, Università di Firenze, Firenze, Italy
4 Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (CITA), Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Accepted: 9 August 2010
Aims. We investigate the dynamics of a circumbinary disc that responds to the loss of mass and to the recoil velocity of the black hole produced by the merger of a binary system of supermassive black holes.
Methods. We perform the first two-dimensional general relativistic hydrodynamics simulations of extended non-Keplerian discs and employ a new technique to construct a “shock detector”, thus determining the precise location of the shocks produced in the accreting disc by the recoiling black hole. In this way we can study how the properties of the system, such as the spin, mass and recoil velocity of the black hole, affect the mass accretion rate and are imprinted on the electromagnetic emission from these sources.
Results. We argue that the estimates of the bremsstrahlung luminosity computed without properly taking into account the radiation transfer yield cooling times that are unrealistically short. At the same time we show, through an approximation based on the relativistic isothermal evolution, that the luminosity produced can reach a peak value above L ≃1043 erg/s at about ~30 d after the merger of a binary with total mass M ≃ 106 M⊙ and persist for several days at values which are a factor of a few smaller. If confirmed by more sophisticated calculations such a signal could indeed lead to an electromagnetic counterpart of the merger of binary black-hole system.
Key words: accretion, accretion disks / black hole physics / gravitational waves / relativistic processes
© ESO, 2010