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Journal Article

Strong-Field Scattering of Two Black Holes: Numerics Versus Analytics


Rezzolla,  Luciano
Astrophysical Relativity, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Damour, T., Guercilena, F., Hinder, I., Hopper, S., Nagar, A., & Rezzolla, L. (2014). Strong-Field Scattering of Two Black Holes: Numerics Versus Analytics. Physical Review D, 89: 081503. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.89.081503.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-001A-1158-0
We probe the gravitational interaction of two black holes in the strong-field regime by computing the scattering angle $\chi$ of hyperbolic-like, close binary-black-hole encounters as a function of the impact parameter. The fully general-relativistic result from numerical relativity is compared to two analytic approximations: post-Newtonian theory and the effective-one-body formalism. As the impact parameter decreases, so that black holes pass within a few times their Schwarzschild radii, we find that the post-Newtonian prediction becomes quite inaccurate, while the effective-one-body one keeps showing a good agreement with numerical results. Because we have explored a regime which is very different from the one considered so far with binaries in quasi-circular orbits, our results open a new avenue to improve analytic representations of the general-relativistic two-body Hamiltonian.