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*Fr.: relaxation résonnante*
A process whereby stellar orbit relaxation can be dramatically enhanced in
orbits in a nearly Keplerian star cluster close to a
→ *massive black hole* (MBH).
This process can modify
the angular momentum distribution and affect the interaction rates of
the stars with the MBH more efficiently than non-resonant
relaxation.
In the standard relaxation picture, each
encounter is random and uncorrelated, so stars undergo a random
walk. Relaxation is driven by the diffusion of energy which then
leads to angular momentum transfer. However, in a stellar cluster
around a MBH, each star will be on a Keplerian orbit, which is a fixed
ellipse in space. The orbits of two nearby stars will thus exert
correlated torques on one another, which can lead to a direct resonant
evolution of the angular momentum.
Since resonant relaxation increases the rate of angular momentum
scattering, stars reach highly eccentric orbits more rapidly where they can become
→ *extreme mass ratio inspiral (EMRI)*s
(Rauch, K.P., Tremaine, S., 1996, arXiv:astro-ph/9603018;
Gair J.R. et al. 2013, Living Rev. Relativity, 16, (2013), 7
http://www.livingreviews.org/lrr-2013-7, doi:10.12942/lrr-2013-7). → *resonant*; → *relaxation*. |