Highly eccentric inspirals into a black hole

Research paper by Thomas Osburn, Niels Warburton, Charles R. Evans

Indexed on: 20 Mar '16Published on: 20 Mar '16Published in: General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology


We model the inspiral of a compact stellar-mass object into a massive nonrotating black hole including all dissipative and conservative first-order-in-the-mass-ratio effects on the orbital motion. The techniques we develop allow inspirals with initial eccentricities as high as $e\sim0.8$ and initial separations as large as $p\sim 50$ to be evolved through many thousands of orbits up to the onset of the plunge into the black hole. The inspiral is computed using an osculating elements scheme driven by a hybridized self-force model, which combines Lorenz-gauge self-force results with highly accurate flux data from a Regge-Wheeler-Zerilli code. The high accuracy of our hybrid self-force model allows the orbital phase of the inspirals to be tracked to within $\sim0.1$ radians or better. The difference between self-force models and inspirals computed in the radiative approximation is quantified.