Article

# Secular Stellar Dynamics near a Massive Black Hole

The Astrophysical Journal (Impact Factor: 6.28). 10/2010; 738(1). DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/738/1/99

Source: arXiv

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**ABSTRACT:**Stars around a massive black hole (MBH) move on nearly fixed Keplerian orbits, in a centrally-dominated potential. The random fluctuations of the discrete stellar background cause small potential perturbations, which accelerate the evolution of orbital angular momentum by resonant relaxation. This drives many phenomena near MBHs, such as extreme mass-ratio gravitational wave inspirals, the warping of accretion disks, and the formation of exotic stellar populations. We present here a formal statistical mechanics framework to analyze such systems, where the background potential is described as a correlated Gaussian noise. We derive the leading order, phase-averaged 3D stochastic Hamiltonian equations of motion, for evolving the orbital elements of a test star, and obtain the effective Fokker-Planck equation for a general correlated Gaussian noise, for evolving the stellar distribution function. We show that the evolution of angular momentum depends critically on the temporal smoothness of the background potential fluctuations. Smooth noise has a maximal variability frequency $\nu_{\max}$. We show that in the presence of such noise, the normalized angular momentum $j=\sqrt{1-e^{2}}$ of a relativistic test star, undergoing Schwarzschild (in-plane) General Relativistic precession with frequency $\nu_{GR}/j^{2}$, is exponentially suppressed for $j<j_{b}$, where $\nu_{GR}/j_{b}^{2}\sim\nu_{\max}$, due to the adiabatic invariance of the precession against the slowly varying random background torques. This results in an effective Schwarzschild precession-induced barrier in angular momentum. When $j_{b}$ is large enough, this barrier can have significant dynamical implications for processes near the MBH.Classical and Quantum Gravity 12/2014; 31(24):244003. · 3.10 Impact Factor - [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]

**ABSTRACT:**We present 3D kinematic observations of stars within the central 0.5 pc of the Milky Way nuclear star cluster using adaptive optics imaging and spectroscopy from the Keck telescopes. Recent observations have shown that the cluster has a shallower surface density profile than expected for a dynamically relaxed cusp, leading to important implications for its formation and evolution. However, the true three dimensional profile of the cluster is unknown due to the difficulty in de-projecting the stellar number counts. Here, we use spherical Jeans modeling of individual proper motions and radial velocities to constrain for the first time, the de-projected spatial density profile, cluster velocity anisotropy, black hole mass ($M_\mathrm{BH}$), and distance to the Galactic center ($R_0$) simultaneously. We find that the inner stellar density profile of the late-type stars, $\rho(r)\propto r^{-\gamma}$ to have a power law slope $\gamma=0.05_{-0.60}^{+0.29}$, much more shallow than the frequently assumed Bahcall $\&$ Wolf slope of $\gamma=7/4$. The measured slope will significantly affect dynamical predictions involving the cluster, such as the dynamical friction time scale. The cluster core must be larger than 0.5 pc, which disfavors some scenarios for its origin. Our measurement of $M_\mathrm{BH}=5.76_{-1.26}^{+1.76}\times10^6$ $M_\odot$ and $R_0=8.92_{-0.55}^{+0.58}$ kpc is consistent with that derived from stellar orbits within 1$^{\prime\prime}$ of Sgr A*. When combined with the orbit of S0-2, the uncertainty on $R_0$ is reduced by 30% ($8.46_{-0.38}^{+0.42}$ kpc). We suggest that the MW NSC can be used in the future in combination with stellar orbits to significantly improve constraints on $R_0$.The Astrophysical Journal 11/2013; 779(1). · 6.28 Impact Factor - [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]

**ABSTRACT:**The X-ray nova 4U 1543–47 was in a different physical state (low/hard, high/soft, and very high) during the acquisition of each of the three time series analyzed in this paper. Standard time series models of the autoregressive moving average (ARMA) family are fitted to these series. The low/hard data can be adequately modeled by a simple low-order model with fixed coefficients, once the slowly varying mean count rate has been accounted for. The high/soft series requires a higher order model, or an ARMA model with variable coefficients. The very high state is characterized by a succession of "dips," with roughly equal depths. These seem to appear independently of one another. The underlying stochastic series can again be modeled by an ARMA form, or roughly as the sum of an ARMA series and white noise. The structuring of each model in terms of short-lived aperiodic and "quasi-periodic" components is discussed.The Astrophysical Journal 02/2013; 765(1):53. · 6.28 Impact Factor

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