A gap in phase space is opened up by a binary supermassive black hole as it ejects stars in a galactic nucleus. This gap must be refilled before the single black hole that subsequently forms can disrupt or accrete stars. We compute loss cone refilling rates for a sample of elliptical galaxies as a function of the mass ratio of the binary that preceded the current, single black hole. Refilling times are of order 1010 yr or longer in bright elliptical galaxies. Tidal flaring rates in these galaxies might be much lower than predicted using steady-state models.
Department, Program, or Center
School of Physics and Astronomy (COS)
Astrophys.J. 621 (2005) L101
RIT – Main Campus