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Area difference approaching merger of MOTS's
The interior of a binary black hole merger
By Daniel Pook-Kolb, Ofek Birnholtz, Badri Krishnan, Erik Schnetter
Published in Physical Review Letters 123, 171102 (Monday, October 21, 2019)


We find strong numerical evidence for a new phenomenon in a binary black hole spacetime, namely the merger of marginally outer trapped surfaces (MOTSs). We show that the MOTS associated with the final black hole merges with the two initially disjoint surfaces associated with the two initial black holes. This yields a connected sequence of MOTSs interpolating between the initial and final state all the way through the non-linear binary black hole merger process. This now allows us to track physical quantities (such as mass, angular momentum, higher multipoles, and fluxes) across the merger, which can be potentially compared with the gravitational wave signal in the wave-zone, and with observations by gravitational wave detectors. This also suggests a possibility of proving the Penrose inequality for generic astrophysical binary back hole configurations.