Orbital decay of satellites crossing an accretion disc
Astronomical Institute, Charles University Prague, V Holešovičkách 2, 180 00 Praha, Czech Republic e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Corresponding author: V. Karas, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 8 June 2001
Motion of stellar-mass satellites is studied around a massive compact body which is surrounded by a gaseous slab of a stationary accretion disc. The satellites suffer an orbital decay due to hydrodynamical interaction with the disc medium (transitions across the disc, gap opening in the disc, density waves) and gravitational radiation. Arbitrary orbital eccentricities and inclinations are considered, and it is observed how the competing effects depend on the parameters of the model, namely, the mass and compactness of the orbiters, the osculating elements of their trajectories, and surface density of the disc. These effects have a visible impact on the satellites long-term motion, and they can produce observational consequences with respect to galactic central clusters. It is shown that the satellite-disc collisions do not impose serious restrictions on the results of gravitational wave experiments if the disc medium is diluted and the orbiter is compact but they are important in the case of environments with relatively high density. We thus concentrate on application to accretion flows in which the density is not negligible. We discuss the expected quasi-stationary structure of the cluster that is established on sub-parsec scales within the sphere of gravitational influence of the central object. Relevant to this region, we give the power-law slopes defining the radial profile of modified clusters and we show that their values are determined by satellite interaction with the accretion flow rather than their initial distribution.
Key words: accretion, accretion disks / galaxies: nuclei
© ESO, 2001