Also archived in: arXiv:astro-ph/0107569 v2 7 Dec 2001 AND Rutgers Astrophysics Preprint Series No. 323 The orientation of a massive binary undergoes a random walk due to gravitational encounters with field stars. The rotational diffusion coefficient for a circular-orbit binary is derived via scattering experiments. The binary is shown to reorient itself by an angle of order pm/M during the time that its semi-major axis shrinks appreciably, where M is the binary mass and m the perturber mass. Implications for the orientations of rotating black holes are discussed. (Refer to PDF file for exact formulas).
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School of Physics and Astronomy (COS)
Merritt, David, "Rotational Brownian motion of a massive binary" (2002). Astrophysical Journal, vol. 568 (), 998. Accessed from
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