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Title: Quasi-periodicity of Supermassive Binary Black Hole Accretion Approaching Merger

Abstract

In this paper we continue the first ever study of magnetized mini-disks coupled to circumbinary accretion in a supermassive binary black hole (SMBBH) approaching merger reported in Bowen et al. We extend this simulation from 3 to 12 binary orbital periods. We find that relativistic SMBBH accretion acts as a resonant cavity, where quasi-periodic oscillations tied to the frequency at which the black hole's (BH's) orbital phase matches a nonlinear m = 1 density feature, or "lump," in the circumbinary accretion disk permeate the system. Here, the rate of mass accretion onto each of the mini-disks around the BHs is modulated at the beat frequency between the binary frequency and the lump's mean orbital frequency, i.e., $${{\rm{\Omega }}}_{\mathrm{beat}}={{\rm{\Omega }}}_{\mathrm{bin}}-{\bar{{\rm{\Omega }}}}_{\mathrm{lump}}$$, while the total mass accretion rate of this equal-mass binary is modulated at two different frequencies, $$\gtrsim {\bar{{\rm{\Omega }}}}_{\mathrm{lump}}$$ and $$\approx 2{{\rm{\Omega }}}_{\mathrm{beat}}$$. The instantaneous rotation rate of the lump itself is also modulated at two frequencies close to the modulation frequencies of the total accretion rate, $${\bar{{\rm{\Omega }}}}_{\mathrm{lump}}$$ and $$2{{\rm{\Omega }}}_{\mathrm{beat}}$$. Because of the compact nature of the mini-disks in SMBBHs approaching merger, the inflow times within the mini-disks are comparable to the period on which their mass supply varies, so that their masses—and the accretion rates they supply to their BHs—are strongly modulated at the same frequency. In essence, the azimuthal symmetry of the circumbinary disk is broken by the dynamics of orbits near a binary, and this m = 1 asymmetry then drives quasi-periodic variation throughout the system, including both accretion and disk-feeding. In SMBBHs approaching merger, such time variability could introduce distinctive, increasingly rapid, fluctuations in their electromagnetic emission.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [3]; ORCiD logo [2];  [2]; ORCiD logo [4]
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States); Rochester Inst. of Technology, Rochester, NY (United States)
  2. Rochester Inst. of Technology, Rochester, NY (United States)
  3. The Univ. of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK (United States); NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Greenbelt, MD (United States)
  4. Johns Hopkins Univ., Baltimore, MD (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1565906
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-19-23363
Journal ID: ISSN 1538-4357
Grant/Contract Number:  
89233218CNA000001
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: The Astrophysical Journal (Online); Journal Volume: 879; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 1538-4357
Publisher:
Institute of Physics (IOP)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; Black hole Physics; magnetohydrodynamics; accretion; accretion disks

Citation Formats

Bowen, Dennis B., Mewes, Vassilios, Noble, Scott C., Avara, Mark, Campanelli, Manuela, and Krolik, Julian H. Quasi-periodicity of Supermassive Binary Black Hole Accretion Approaching Merger. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/ab2453.
Bowen, Dennis B., Mewes, Vassilios, Noble, Scott C., Avara, Mark, Campanelli, Manuela, & Krolik, Julian H. Quasi-periodicity of Supermassive Binary Black Hole Accretion Approaching Merger. United States. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/ab2453.
Bowen, Dennis B., Mewes, Vassilios, Noble, Scott C., Avara, Mark, Campanelli, Manuela, and Krolik, Julian H. Mon . "Quasi-periodicity of Supermassive Binary Black Hole Accretion Approaching Merger". United States. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/ab2453.
@article{osti_1565906,
title = {Quasi-periodicity of Supermassive Binary Black Hole Accretion Approaching Merger},
author = {Bowen, Dennis B. and Mewes, Vassilios and Noble, Scott C. and Avara, Mark and Campanelli, Manuela and Krolik, Julian H.},
abstractNote = {In this paper we continue the first ever study of magnetized mini-disks coupled to circumbinary accretion in a supermassive binary black hole (SMBBH) approaching merger reported in Bowen et al. We extend this simulation from 3 to 12 binary orbital periods. We find that relativistic SMBBH accretion acts as a resonant cavity, where quasi-periodic oscillations tied to the frequency at which the black hole's (BH's) orbital phase matches a nonlinear m = 1 density feature, or "lump," in the circumbinary accretion disk permeate the system. Here, the rate of mass accretion onto each of the mini-disks around the BHs is modulated at the beat frequency between the binary frequency and the lump's mean orbital frequency, i.e., ${{\rm{\Omega }}}_{\mathrm{beat}}={{\rm{\Omega }}}_{\mathrm{bin}}-{\bar{{\rm{\Omega }}}}_{\mathrm{lump}}$, while the total mass accretion rate of this equal-mass binary is modulated at two different frequencies, $\gtrsim {\bar{{\rm{\Omega }}}}_{\mathrm{lump}}$ and $\approx 2{{\rm{\Omega }}}_{\mathrm{beat}}$. The instantaneous rotation rate of the lump itself is also modulated at two frequencies close to the modulation frequencies of the total accretion rate, ${\bar{{\rm{\Omega }}}}_{\mathrm{lump}}$ and $2{{\rm{\Omega }}}_{\mathrm{beat}}$. Because of the compact nature of the mini-disks in SMBBHs approaching merger, the inflow times within the mini-disks are comparable to the period on which their mass supply varies, so that their masses—and the accretion rates they supply to their BHs—are strongly modulated at the same frequency. In essence, the azimuthal symmetry of the circumbinary disk is broken by the dynamics of orbits near a binary, and this m = 1 asymmetry then drives quasi-periodic variation throughout the system, including both accretion and disk-feeding. In SMBBHs approaching merger, such time variability could introduce distinctive, increasingly rapid, fluctuations in their electromagnetic emission.},
doi = {10.3847/1538-4357/ab2453},
journal = {The Astrophysical Journal (Online)},
number = 2,
volume = 879,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {7}
}

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