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Music from the heavens - Gravitational waves from supermassive black hole mergers in the EAGLE simulations

Salcido, J and Bower, RG and Theuns, T and McAlpine, S and Schaller, M and Crain, RA and Schaye, J and Regan, J (2016) Music from the heavens - Gravitational waves from supermassive black hole mergers in the EAGLE simulations. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. ISSN 0035-8711

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We estimate the expected event rate of gravitational wave signals from mergers of supermassive black holes that could be resolved by a space-based interferometer, such as the Evolved Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (eLISA), utilising the reference cosmological hydrodynamical simulation from the EAGLE suite. These simulations assume a $\Lambda$CDM cosmogony with state-of-the-art subgrid models for radiative cooling, star formation, stellar mass loss, and feedback from stars and accreting black holes. They have been shown to reproduce the observed galaxy population with unprecedented fidelity. We combine the merger rates of supermassive black holes in EAGLE with the latest phenomenological waveform models to calculate the gravitational waves signals from the intrinsic parameters of the merging black holes. The EAGLE models predict $\sim2$ detections per year by a gravitational wave detector such as eLISA. We find that these signals are largely dominated by mergers between seed mass black holes merging at redshifts between $z\sim2$ and $z\sim1$. In order to investigate the dependence on the assumed black hole seed mass, we introduce an additional model with a black hole seed mass an order of magnitude smaller than in our reference model. We also consider a variation of the reference model where a prescription for the expected delays in the black hole merger timescale has been included after their host galaxies merge. We find that the merger rate is similar in all models, but that the initial black hole seed mass could be distinguished through their detected gravitational waveforms. Hence, the characteristic gravitational wave signals detected by eLISA will provide profound insight into the origin of supermassive black holes and the initial mass distribution of black hole seeds.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society following peer review. The version of record Jaime Salcido, Richard G. Bower, Tom Theuns, Stuart McAlpine, Matthieu Schaller, Robert A. Crain, Joop Schaye, and John Regan. Music from the heavens - Gravitational waves from supermassive black hole mergers in the EAGLE simulations is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stw2048
Uncontrolled Keywords: astro-ph.GA; astro-ph.GA; astro-ph.CO; astro-ph.IM
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Divisions: Astrophysics Research Institute
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2016 11:23
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2016 11:23
DOI or Identification number: 10.1093/mnras/stw2048
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/4073

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