Editors: Pau Amaro-Seoane & Bernard Schutz
The last GW Note is a Special Issues on eLISA/NGO

Probing Stellar Dynamics in Galactic Nuclei


by Miller, M. Coleman and Alexander, Tal and Amaro-Seoane, Pau and Barth, Aaron J. and Cutler, Curt and Gair, Jonathan R. and Hopman, Clovis and Merritt, David and Phinney, E. Sterl and Richstone, Douglas O.
8 pages, Science white paper for the Astro2010 Decadal Survey

Electromagnetic observations over the last 15 years have yielded a growing appreciation for the importance of supermassive black holes (SMBH) to the evolution of galaxies, and for the intricacies of dynamical interactions in our own Galactic center. Here we show that future low-frequency gravitational wave observations, alone or in combination with electromagnetic data, will open up unique windows to these processes. In particular, gravitational wave detections in the 10^{-5}-10^{-1} Hz range will yield SMBH masses and spins to unprecedented precision and will provide clues to the properties of the otherwise undetectable stellar remnants expected to populate the centers of galaxies. Such observations are therefore keys to understanding the interplay between SMBHs and their environments.

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