Simulations of Recoiling Massive Black Holes

Guedes, Javiera ; Madau, Piero ; Mayer, Lucio ; Kuhlen, Michael ; Diemand, Jürg ; Zemp, Marcel

In: Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union, 2009, vol. 5, no. S267, p. 262-262

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    The coalescence of black hole binaries is a significant source of gravitational wave radiation. The typically asymmetric nature of this emission, which carries linear momentum, can result in the recoil of the black hole remnant with velocities in the range 100 < Vrecoil < 3750 km s−1. The detectability of recoiling massive black holes (MBH) as off-nuclear QSOs is tightly connected with the properties of the host galaxy, which determine the MBH's orbit and fuel reservoir. We present the results of N-body simulations of recoiling MBHs in high-resolution, non-axisymmetric potentials. We find that if the recoil velocities are high enough to reach regions of the galaxy dominated by the generally triaxial dark matter distribution, the return time is significantly extended when compared to a spherical distribution. We also perform simulations of recoiling MBHs traveling in gas merger remnants, where large amounts of gas have been funneled to the central regions, In this case, the MBHs remain within R<1 kpc from the center of the host even for high recoil velocities (Vrecoil = 1200 km s−1) due to the compactness of the remnant galaxy's nuclear disk. We discuss the implications of both scenarios for detectability