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.