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Journal Article

Gravitational wave emission from binary supermassive black holes


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

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Sesana, A. (2013). Gravitational wave emission from binary supermassive black holes. Classical and quantum gravity, 30(24): 244009. doi:10.1088/0264-9381/30/24/244009.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0014-F661-4
Massive black hole binaries (MBHBs) are unavoidable outcomes of the hierarchical structure formation process, and according to the theory of general relativity are expected to be the loudest gravitational wave (GW) sources in the Universe. In this article I provide a broad overview of MBHBs as GW sources. After reviewing the basics of GW emission from binary systems and of MBHB formation, evolution and dynamics, I describe in some details the connection between binary properties and the emitted gravitational waveform. Direct GW observations will provide an unprecedented wealth of information about the physical nature and the astrophysical properties of these extreme objects, allowing to reconstruct their cosmic history, dynamics and coupling with their dense stellar and gas environment. In this context I describe ongoing and future efforts to make a direct detection with space based interferometry and pulsar timing arrays, highlighting the invaluable scientific payouts of such enterprises.