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A multi-timescale analysis of phase transitions in precessing black-hole binaries


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Article

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Authors

Gerosa, Davide 
Kesden, Michael 
Berti, Emanuele 
O'Shaughnessy, Richard 

Abstract

The dynamics of precessing binary black holes (BBHs) in the post-Newtonian regime has a strong timescale hierarchy: the orbital timescale is very short compared to the spin-precession timescale which, in turn, is much shorter than the radiation-reaction timescale on which the orbit is shrinking due to gravitational-wave emission. We exploit this timescale hierarchy to develop a multi-scale analysis of BBH dynamics elaborating on the analysis of [1]. We solve the spin-precession equations analytically on the precession time and then implement a quasi-adiabatic approach to evolve these solutions on the longer radiation-reaction time. This procedure leads to an innovative "precession-averaged" post-Newtonian approach to studying precessing BBHs. We use our new solutions to classify BBH spin precession into three distinct morphologies, then investigate phase transitions between these morphologies as BBHs inspiral. These precession-averaged post-Newtonian inspirals can be efficiently calculated from arbitrarily large separations, thus taking a step towards bridging the gap between astrophysics and numerical relativity.

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Journal Title

Physical Review D

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Journal ISSN

1550-7998
1550-2368

Volume Title

92

Publisher

APS
Sponsorship
STFC (ST/H008586/1)
STFC (ST/I002006/1)
STFC (ST/J005673/1)
STFC (ST/K00333X/1)
STFC (ST/L000636/1)
STFC (ST/M00418X/1)
STFC (ST/M007065/1)
ECH2020 EUROPEAN RESEARCH COUNCIL (ERC) (646597)
D.G. is supported by the UK STFC and the Isaac Newton Studentship of the University of Cambridge. M.K. is supported by Alfred P. Sloan Foundation grant FG-2015-65299. R.O'S. is supported by NSF grants PHY-0970074 and PHY-1307429. E.B. is sup- ported by NSF CAREER Grant PHY-1055103 and by FCT contract IF/00797/2014/CP1214/CT0012 under the IF2014 Programme. U.S. is supported by FP7- PEOPLE-2011-CIG Grant No. 293412, FP7-PEOPLE- 2011-IRSES Grant No.295189, H2020 ERC Consolida- tor Grant Agreement No. MaGRaTh-646597, SDSC and TACC through XSEDE Grant No. PHY-090003 by the NSF, Finis Terrae through Grant No. ICTS- CESGA-249, STFC Roller Grant No. ST/L000636/1 and DiRAC's Cosmos Shared Memory system through BIS Grant No. ST/J005673/1 and STFC Grant Nos. ST/H008586/1, ST/K00333X/1.