Binary-induced collapse of a compact, collisionless cluster

Matthew D. Duez, Eric T. Engelhard, John M. Fregeau, Kevin M. Huffenberger, Stuart L. Shapiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We improve and extend Shapiro’s model of a relativistic, compact object which is stable in isolation but is driven dynamically unstable by the tidal field of a binary companion. Our compact object consists of a dense swarm of test particles moving in randomly oriented, initially circular, relativistic orbits about a nonrotating black hole. The binary companion is a distant, slowly inspiraling point mass. The tidal field of the companion is treated as a small perturbation on the background Schwarzschild geometry near the hole; the resulting metric is determined by solving the perturbation equations of Regge and Wheeler and Zerilli in the quasi-static limit. The perturbed spacetime supports Bekenstein’s conjecture that the horizon area of a near-equilibrium black hole is an adiabatic invariant. We follow the evolution of the system and confirm that gravitational collapse can be induced in a compact collisionless cluster by the tidal field of a binary companion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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