Black hole binary mergers within gas discs

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


We investigate numerically the evolution of black hole binaries embedded within geometrically thin gas discs. We find that the binary decays at a rate which is in good agreement with analytical estimates. Scaling our results, we calculate the maximum rate of binary decay that is possible without fragmentation occurring within the surrounding gas disc. We find that decay due to gas discs can be more efficient than that due to stellar scattering for separations below a∼0.01-0.1 pc. The minimum merger time scale is shorter than the Hubble time for M<107 M. This implies that gas discs could commonly attend relatively low mass black hole mergers, and that a significant population of binaries might exist at separations of a few hundredths of a pc. For more massive binaries, scattering of stars formed within a fragmenting gas disc could act as a significant additional sink of binary angular momentum.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHunting for the Dark
Subtitle of host publicationThe Hidden Side of Galaxy Formation - Proceedings of the International Conference
Number of pages4
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Conference "Hunting for the Dark: The Hidden Side of Galaxy Formation" - Qawra, Malta
Duration: 19 Oct 200923 Oct 2009

Publication series

NameAIP Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Print)0094-243X
ISSN (Electronic)1551-7616


ConferenceInternational Conference "Hunting for the Dark: The Hidden Side of Galaxy Formation"


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