Relativistic black hole-neutron star binaries in quasiequilibrium: Effects of the black hole excision boundary condition

Keisuke Taniguchi, Thomas W. Baumgarte, Joshua A. Faber, Stuart L. Shapiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We construct new models of black hole-neutron star binaries in quasiequilibrium circular orbits by solving Einstein's constraint equations in the conformal thin-sandwich decomposition together with the relativistic equations of hydrostationary equilibrium. We adopt maximal slicing, assume spatial conformal flatness, and impose equilibrium boundary conditions on an excision surface (i.e., the apparent horizon) to model the black hole. In our previous treatment we adopted a "leading-order" approximation for a parameter related to the black hole spin in these boundary conditions to construct approximately nonspinning black holes. Here we improve on the models by computing the black hole's quasilocal spin angular momentum and setting it to zero. As before, we adopt a polytropic equation of state with adiabatic index Γ=2 and assume the neutron star to be irrotational. In addition to recomputing several sequences for comparison with our earlier results, we study a wider range of neutron star masses and binary mass ratios. To locate the innermost stable circular orbit we search for turning points along both the binding energy and total angular momentum curves for these sequences. Unlike for our previous approximate boundary condition, these two minima now coincide. We also identify the formation of cusps on the neutron star surface, indicating the onset of tidal disruption. Comparing these two critical binary separations for different mass ratios and neutron star compactions we distinguish those regions that will lead to a tidal disruption of the neutron star from those that will result in the plunge into the black hole of a neutron star more or less intact, albeit distorted by tidal forces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number044003
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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