The effect of gravitational-wave recoil on the demography of massive black holes

Piero Madau, Eliot Quataert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

111 Scopus citations

Abstract

The coalescence of massive black hole (MBH) binaries following galaxy mergers is one of the main sources of low-frequency gravitational radiation. A higher order relativistic phenomenon, the recoil as a result of the nonzero net linear momentum carried away by gravitational waves, may have interesting consequences for the demography of MBHs at the centers of galaxies. We study the dynamics of recoiling MBHs and its observational consequences. The "gravitational rocket" may (1) deplete MBHs from late-type spiral galaxies, dwarf galaxies, and stellar clusters; (2) produce off-nuclear quasars, including unusual radio morphologies during the recoil of a radio-loud source; and (3) give rise to a population of interstellar and intergalactic MBHs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L17-L20
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume606
Issue number1 II
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2004
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Keywords

  • Black hole physics
  • Cosmology: theory
  • Galaxies: nuclei
  • Stellar dynamics

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