AAS 207th Meeting, 8-12 January 2006
Session 170 Cosmology, Early Universe, Cosmic Distance Scale
Poster, Thursday, 9:20am-4:00pm, January 12, 2006, Exhibit Hall

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[170.17] Massive Black Hole Merger Rates

E. Alicea-Munoz (Penn State, NASA/GSFC), J. Baker, J. Centrella (NASA/GSFC), P. Laguna (Penn State), M.C. Miller, M. Ricotti (UMD)

At redshifts ~5-20, structure formed and the universe was reionized, but there are few near-term observational probes of this critical era. Important clues will come from the rate and properties of the mergers of massive black holes. These mergers are expected to be electromagnetically quiet, but bright sources of gravitational radiation. They are thus prime targets for future space-based gravitational wave detectors such as LISA. However, estimating merger rates has proven to be problematic, with past estimates spanning a very wide range (0.1-104 mergers/year). We identify the underlying causes of these discrepancies and discuss what will be learned about structure formation from LISA detections of black hole mergers. This work is supported in part by the Cooperative Education Program at NASA/GSFC.

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