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Title: Cosmology with hypervelocity stars

Abstract

In the standard cosmological model, the merger remnant of the Milky Way and Andromeda (Milkomeda) will be the only galaxy remaining within our event horizon once the Universe has aged by another factor of ten, ∼ 10{sup 11} years after the Big Bang. After that time, the only extragalactic sources of light in the observable cosmic volume will be hypervelocity stars being ejected continuously from Milkomeda. Spectroscopic detection of the velocity-distance relation or the evolution in the Doppler shifts of these stars will allow a precise measurement of the vacuum mass density as well as the local matter distribution. Already in the near future, the next generation of large telescopes will allow photometric detection of individual stars out to the edge of the Local Group, and may target the ∼ 10{sup 5±1} hypervelocity stars that originated in it as cosmological tracers.

Authors:
 [1]
  1. Institute for Theory and Computation, Harvard University, 60 Garden St., Cambridge, MA 02138 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22277848
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics; Journal Volume: 2011; Journal Issue: 04; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ASTROPHYSICS; COSMOLOGICAL MODELS; COSMOLOGY; DENSITY; DISTANCE; DOPPLER EFFECT; MASS; MILKY WAY; STAR EVOLUTION; STARS; UNIVERSE; VELOCITY; VISIBLE RADIATION

Citation Formats

Loeb, Abraham, E-mail: aloeb@cfa.harvard.edu. Cosmology with hypervelocity stars. United States: N. p., 2011. Web. doi:10.1088/1475-7516/2011/04/023.
Loeb, Abraham, E-mail: aloeb@cfa.harvard.edu. Cosmology with hypervelocity stars. United States. doi:10.1088/1475-7516/2011/04/023.
Loeb, Abraham, E-mail: aloeb@cfa.harvard.edu. 2011. "Cosmology with hypervelocity stars". United States. doi:10.1088/1475-7516/2011/04/023.
@article{osti_22277848,
title = {Cosmology with hypervelocity stars},
author = {Loeb, Abraham, E-mail: aloeb@cfa.harvard.edu},
abstractNote = {In the standard cosmological model, the merger remnant of the Milky Way and Andromeda (Milkomeda) will be the only galaxy remaining within our event horizon once the Universe has aged by another factor of ten, ∼ 10{sup 11} years after the Big Bang. After that time, the only extragalactic sources of light in the observable cosmic volume will be hypervelocity stars being ejected continuously from Milkomeda. Spectroscopic detection of the velocity-distance relation or the evolution in the Doppler shifts of these stars will allow a precise measurement of the vacuum mass density as well as the local matter distribution. Already in the near future, the next generation of large telescopes will allow photometric detection of individual stars out to the edge of the Local Group, and may target the ∼ 10{sup 5±1} hypervelocity stars that originated in it as cosmological tracers.},
doi = {10.1088/1475-7516/2011/04/023},
journal = {Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics},
number = 04,
volume = 2011,
place = {United States},
year = 2011,
month = 4
}
  • Runaway stars ejected from the Galactic disk populate the halo of the Milky Way. To predict the spatial and kinematic properties of runaways, we inject stars into a Galactic potential, compute their trajectories through the Galaxy, and derive simulated catalogs for comparison with observations. Runaways have a flattened spatial distribution, with higher velocity stars at Galactic latitudes less than 30{sup 0}. Due to their shorter stellar lifetimes, massive runaway stars are more concentrated toward the disk than low mass runaways. Bound (unbound) runaways that reach the halo probably originate from distances of 6-12 kpc (10-15 kpc) from the Galactic center,more » close to the estimated origin of the unbound runaway star HD 271791. Because runaways are brighter and have smaller velocities than hypervelocity stars (HVSs), radial velocity surveys are unlikely to confuse runaway stars with HVSs. We estimate that at most one runaway star contaminates the current sample. We place an upper limit of 2% on the fraction of A-type main-sequence stars ejected as runaways.« less
  • We examine whether disrupted binary stars can fuel black hole growth. In this mechanism, tidal disruption produces a single hypervelocity star (HVS) ejected at high velocity and a former companion star bound to the black hole. After a cluster of bound stars forms, orbital diffusion allows the black hole to accrete stars by tidal disruption at a rate comparable to the capture rate. In the Milky Way, HVSs and the S star cluster imply similar rates of 10{sup -5} to 10{sup -3} yr{sup -1} for binary disruption. These rates are consistent with estimates for the tidal disruption rate in nearbymore » galaxies and imply significant black hole growth from disrupted binaries on 10 Gyr timescales.« less
  • In this paper, we investigate the link between the hypervelocity stars (HVSs) discovered in the Galactic halo and the Galactic center (GC) S-stars, under the hypothesis that they are both the products of the tidal breakup of the same population of stellar binaries by the central massive black hole (MBH). By adopting several hypothetical models for binaries to be injected into the vicinity of the MBH and doing numerical simulations, we realize the tidal breakup processes of the binaries and their follow-up dynamical evolution. We find that many statistical properties of the detected HVSs and GC S-stars could be reproducedmore » under some binary injecting models, and their number ratio can be reproduced if the stellar initial mass function is top-heavy (e.g., with slope {approx} - 1.6). The total number of the captured companions is {approx}50 that have masses in the range {approx}3-7 M{sub Sun} and semimajor axes {approx}< 4000 AU and survive to the present within their main-sequence lifetime. The innermost one is expected to have a semimajor axis {approx}300-1500 AU and a pericenter distance {approx}10-200 AU, with a significant probability of being closer to the MBH than S2. Future detection of such a close star would offer an important test to general relativity. The majority of the surviving ejected companions of the GC S-stars are expected to be located at Galactocentric distances {approx}< 20 kpc, and have heliocentric radial velocities {approx} - 500-1500 km s{sup -1} and proper motions up to {approx}5-20 mas yr{sup -1}. Future detection of these HVSs may provide evidence for the tidal breakup formation mechanism of the GC S-stars.« less
  • Hypervelocity stars (HVSs) escaping away from the Galactic halo are dynamical products of interactions of stars with the massive black hole(s) (MBH) in the Galactic Center (GC). They are mainly B-type stars with their progenitors unknown. OB stars are also populated in the GC, with many being hosted in a clockwise-rotating young stellar (CWS) disk within half a parsec from the MBH and their formation remaining puzzles. In this paper, we demonstrate that HVSs can well memorize the injecting directions of their progenitors using both analytical arguments and numerical simulations, i.e., the ejecting direction of an HVS is almost anti-parallelmore » to the injecting direction of its progenitor. Therefore, the spatial distribution of HVSs maps the spatial distribution of the parent population of their progenitors directly. We also find that almost all the discovered HVSs are spatially consistent with being located on two thin disk planes. The orientation of one plane is consistent with that of the (inner) CWS disk, which suggests that most of the HVSs originate from the CWS disk or a previously existed disk-like stellar structure with an orientation similar to it. The rest of HVSs may be correlated with the plane of the northern arm of the mini-spiral in the GC or the plane defined by the outer warped part of the CWS disk. Our results not only support the GC origin of HVSs but also imply that the central disk (or the disk structure with a similar orientation) should persist or be frequently rejuvenated over the past 200 Myr, which adds a new challenge to the stellar disk formation and provides insights to the longstanding problem of gas fueling into MBHs.« less
  • Motivated by detections of hypervelocity stars that may originate from the Galactic center, we revisit the problem of a binary disruption by a passage near a much more massive point mass. The six orders of magnitude mass ratio between the Galactic center black hole (BH) and the binary stars allows us to formulate the problem in the restricted parabolic three-body approximation. In this framework, results can be simply rescaled in terms of binary masses, their initial separation, and the binary-to-black hole mass ratio. Consequently, an advantage over the full three-body calculation is that a much smaller set of simulations ismore » needed to explore the relevant parameter space. Contrary to previous claims, we show that, upon binary disruption, the lighter star does not remain preferentially bound to the black hole. In fact, it is ejected in exactly 50% of the cases. Nonetheless, lighter objects have higher ejection velocities, since the energy distribution is independent of mass. Focusing on the planar case, we provide the probability distributions for disruption of circular binaries and for the ejection energy. We show that even binaries that penetrate deeply into the tidal sphere of the BH are not doomed to disruption, but survive in 20% of the cases. Nor do these deep encounters produce the highest ejection energies, which are instead obtained for binaries arriving to 0.1-0.5 of the tidal radius in a prograde orbit. Interestingly, such deep-reaching binaries separate widely after penetrating the tidal radius, but always approach each other again on their way out from the BH. Finally, our analytic method allows us to account for a finite size of the stars and recast the ejection energy in terms of a minimal possible separation. We find that, for a given minimal separation, the ejection energy is relatively insensitive to the initial binary separation.« less