Gravitational self-force on a particle in eccentric orbit around a Schwarzschild black hole

Leor Barack, Norichika Sago

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

136 Citations (Scopus)


We present a numerical code for calculating the local gravitational self-force acting on a pointlike particle in a generic (bound) geodesic orbit around a Schwarzschild black hole. The calculation is carried out in the Lorenz gauge: For a given geodesic orbit, we decompose the Lorenz-gauge metric perturbation equations (sourced by the delta-function particle) into tensorial harmonics, and solve for each harmonic using numerical evolution in the time domain (in 1+1 dimensions). The physical self-force along the orbit is then obtained via mode-sum regularization. The total self-force contains a dissipative piece as well as a conservative piece, and we describe a simple method for disentangling these two pieces in a time-domain framework. The dissipative component is responsible for the loss of orbital energy and angular momentum through gravitational radiation; as a test of our code we demonstrate that the work done by the dissipative component of the computed force is precisely balanced by the asymptotic fluxes of energy and angular momentum, which we extract independently from the wave-zone numerical solutions. The conservative piece of the self-force does not affect the time-averaged rate of energy and angular-momentum loss, but it influences the evolution of the orbital phases; this piece is calculated here for the first time in eccentric strong-field orbits. As a first concrete application of our code we recently reported the value of the shift in the location and frequency of the innermost stable circular orbit due to the conservative self-force. Here we provide full details of this analysis, and discuss future applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number084021
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Apr 12 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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