Disks Around Merging Binary Black Holes: From GW150914 to Supermassive Black Holes

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


We perform magnetohydrodynamic simulations in full general relativity of disk accretion onto nonspinning black hole binaries with mass ratio 36:29. We survey different disk models which differ in their scale height, total size and magnetic field to quantify the robustness of previous simulations on the initial disk model. Scaling our simulations to LIGO GW150914 we find that such systems could explain possible gravitational wave and electromagnetic counterparts such as the Fermi GBM hard X-ray signal reported 0.4s after GW150915 ended. Scaling our simulations to supermassive binary black holes, we find that observable flow properties such as accretion rate periodicities, the emergence of jets throughout the inspiral, merger and post-merger phases, disk temperatures, thermal frequencies, and the time-delay between merger and the boost in jet outflows that we reported in earlier studies display only modest dependence on the initial disk model we consider here.



These visualizations were created using VisIt software on the Blue Waters supercomputer at NCSA.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Initial Configuration
Evolution of Matter and Magnetic Fields
Gravitational Waveforms