AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 57. Stellar Black Holes
Oral, Tuesday, January 7, 2003, 10:00-11:30am, 6AB

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[57.07] Information about Intermediate Mass Black Hole Growth from Gravitational Waves

P. L. Bender (JILA, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO), R. T. Stebbins (Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD)

It is likely that coalescences of roughly 10 M/sun and probably 100 M/sun black holes (BHs) with intermediate mass black holes (IMBHs) occurred during the growth of the IMBHs in galactic nuclei and/or globular clusters. Thus it is interesting to review the types of associated gravitational wave (GW) signals that may be observable by the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA), a planned joint ESA/NASA mission, or by a later follow-on mission. For example, simulations by Abel, Bryan and Norman indicate high masses for the first stars, and a substantial fraction may form roughly 100 M/sun BHs. Madau and Rees have suggested that, if this occurs, perhaps a few tens of them can get to the nucleus in a Hubble time for Milky Way type galaxies. If some arrive while IMBHs are growing there and don't plunge in rapidly, they could give detectable GW signals. LISA could observe such signals for 100 M/sun BHs coalescing with non-rotating 10,000 M/sun or larger IMBHs even at z = 5, in agreement with the conclusions of Madau and Rees.

In the future, if a high-frequency LISA follow-on mission is chosen, it might have 1 m diam. telescopes (instead of 0.3 m diam.), 10 W lasers, and 500,000 km arm lengths. With our present estimate of the GW background due to extragalactic white dwarf binaries, such a mission could observe 10 M/sun BHs coalescing with nonrotating IMBHs at z = 5 for IMBH masses between about 1,500 and 20,000 M/sun. Similar events could be observed out to z = 10 for Kerr IMBHs.

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