In classical loss cone theory, stars are supplied to a central black hole via gravitational scattering onto low angular momentum orbits. Higher feeding rates are possible if the gravitational potential near the black hole is non-axisymmetric and the orbits are chaotic. Motivated by recently published, self-consistent models, we evaluate rates of stellar capture and disruption in triaxial nuclei. Rates are found to substantially exceed those in collisionally-resupplied loss cones, as long as an appreciable fraction of the orbits are centrophilic. The mass captured by a black hole after a given time in a steep (ρ ∼ r−2) nucleus scales as σ5 with σ the stellar velocity dispersion, and the accumulated mass in 1010 yr is of the correct order to reproduce the M• − σ relation. Triaxiality can solve the “final parsec problem” of decaying black hole binaries by increasing the flux of stars into the binary’s loss cone.
Department, Program, or Center
School of Physics and Astronomy (COS)
Astrophysical Journal vol. 606, no. 2, part 1, pps.788 - 798, May 10 2004
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