Presentation Archive

New perspectives on the dynamics of precessing binary black holes

Richard O’Shaughnessy (Rochester Institute of Technology)

October 01, 2015

Abstract: When operating at full sensitivity, gravitational wave detectors will detect the gravitational wave signal from many coalescing black hole binaries. After briefly reviewing formation scenarios for these sources, I describe recent analytic solutions to the spin precession equations for binary black holes. The solution decomposes binary black hole spin precession into three distinct morphologies, between which binary black holes can transition during their inspiral. This solution also provides new insight into the complex, nonlinear, two-spin dynamics of binary black holes and the gravitational waves they emit, enabling us to better understand and interpret gravitational waves from generic binary black hole mergers and to exploit those results for astrophysics. Using synthetic signals and production-level data analysis methods, I illustrate the kinds of information that ground-based gravitational wave detectors might eventually provide about selected coalescing binary black holes.