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Multimessenger astronomy with pulsar timing and X-ray observations of massive black hole binaries

MPS-Authors
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Sesana,  A.
Astrophysical Relativity, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Rödig,  C.
Astrophysical Relativity, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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1107.2927
(Preprint), 2MB

MNRAS.2011.20097.x.pdf
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Citation

Sesana, A., Rödig, C., Reynolds, M. T., & Dotti, M. (2012). Multimessenger astronomy with pulsar timing and X-ray observations of massive black hole binaries. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 420, 860-877. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2011.20097.x.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0012-5E30-0
Abstract
We demonstrate that very massive (>10^8\msun), cosmologically nearby (z<1) black hole binaries (MBHBs), which are primary targets for ongoing and upcoming pulsar timing arrays (PTAs), are particularly appealing multimessenger carriers. According to current models for massive black hole formation and evolution, the planned Square Kilometer Array (SKA) will collect gravitational wave signals from thousands of such massive systems, being able to individually resolve and locate in the sky several of them (maybe up to a hundred). By employing a standard model for the evolution of MBHBs in circumbinary discs, with the aid of dedicated numerical simulations, we characterize the gas-binary interplay, identifying possible electromagnetic signatures of the PTA sources. We concentrate our investigation on two particularly promising scenarios in the high energy domain, namely, the detection of X-ray periodic variability and of double broad K\alpha iron lines. Up to several hundreds of periodic X-ray sources with a flux >10^-13 erg s^-1 cm^-2 will be in the reach of upcoming X-ray observatories. Double relativistic K\alpha lines may be observable in a handful of low redshift (z<0.3) sources by proposed deep X-ray probes, such as Athena. (Abridged)