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Astrophysical black holes

Working Groups

Astrophysical Black Holes

Arp 299 (also known as IC 694 and NGC 3690) is a pair of colliding galaxies. Credit: L. Ballo et al.

Colliding Galaxies Arp 299

Studying massive black holes as sources of low frequency gravitational waves.

All science objectives of LISA have been redefined in the document written in response to the ESA call for the L3 mission concept.

Within the theme “Astrophysical black holes”:

  • LISA will let us observe coalescing massive binary black holes by measuring with exquisite precision their masses and spins to unveil their origin and growth across all cosmic ages.
  • LISA will let us observe the mergers of Milky-Way type massive black holes around the peak of the star formation epoch to enable the issuing of alerts to electromagnetic observatories to inform us on the astrophysical environment of these events, and have a new (the gravitational waves)  tool for measuring the rate of expansion of the Universe.
  • LISA will let us observe heavy stellar-origin black holes, as those hosted in GW150914, months or weeks prior coalescence providing accurate sky location and time of coalescence to alert ground-based interferometers and enable multi-band gravitational wave observations.

The working group on “Astrophysical Black Holes” has as main aim to boost and report on progress in this field, by informing the community on new advances through the wiki inside the LISA Consortium Website. The working group also aims at giving recommendations considered strategic for LISA during the development of the mission. The working group on “Astrophysical Black Holes” aims at coordinating and promoting activities that go in the direction of improving our understanding of the science with LISA.

Ground-based interferometers are expected soon to shed light on the nature of stellar-origin black holes. Our working group will continue to investigate on the detectability of stellar-origin black hole with LISA by organizing meeting and workshops with scientists of the LIGO and Virgo collaboration. Multi-band electromagnetic observations of galaxies at different cosmic epochs will continue to improve our understanding of the joint evolution of massive black holes and galaxies. Studies on the nature of galaxies undergoing mergers from current and forthcoming galaxy’s surveys will inform us on the dynamics and morphology of the interacting galaxies. This will shed light on the physical processes which shape the masses and spins of the black holes that inhabit the galaxies, and which guide their pairing from galactic scales down to the scale where gravitational wave emission drives their inspiral and coalescence. This will let us improve our knowledge and estimate of the merger rates of massive black holes in different astrophysical settings. The working group takes the responsibility of creating conditions for fruitful collaborations with astrophysics active in the field of AGN, galaxy and galaxy’s structure evolution, with dedicated meetings. The group collaborates actively with all LISA working groups. LISA science is not a series of closed-box science packages: massive black holes are important for EMRIs, cosmography and fundamental physics. Data analysis strategies must be shared among all groups.

All interested scientists world-wide are welcome to join this working group by applying to the Consortium and then for WG Membership. Once you are a registered scientist, you can go to your account and use the Apply for Working Group button at the top to access the list of available working groups.

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