Date:

09/12/2011 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm

Speaker:

Geoffrey Lovelace

Speaker affiliation:

Cornell University

Location:

78-2120

Some accretion models and some observational evidence suggest that black holes could exist with spins that are nearly extremal (i.e. nearly 1 in dimensionless units, the theoretical upper limit for stationary black holes). Coalescing black holes---possibly with nearly extremal spins---are among the most important sources for current and future gravitational-wave detectors; when black holes form a binary, spiral together, and coalesce, the strongly warped spacetime near the holes' horizons and the emitted gravitational waves can only be computed numerically. Binary black holes with nearly extremal spins are particularly challenging to simulate numerically; after summarizing these challenges, I will present results from two recent simulations with the highest black-hole spins to date: i) a 25.5-orbit inspiral, merger, and ringdown of two holes with equal masses and spins of magnitude 0.97 aligned with the orbital angular momentum, and ii) a 12.5-orbit inspiral, merger, and ringdown of two holes with equal masses and spins of magnitude 0.95 antialigned with the orbital angular momentum. I will present the emitted gravitational waveforms, discuss their accuracy, and compare them with several approximate waveforms. I will also discuss the dynamical behavior of the holes' masses, spins, and horizon shapes and vorticities.

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