Self-force for generic orbits around a Schwarzschild black hole

The self-force that drives the inspiral of a compact object into a massive black hole is usually calculated along a fixed geodesic of the background spacetime. In order to compute an inspiral with an osculating element scheme you need to move smoothly through the orbital parameter space. In practice we calculute the self-force along thousands of geodesics and interpolate between them. This was first done for generic inspirals into a Schwarzschild black hole in our work `Evolution of inspiral orbits around a Schwarzschild black hole‘. Using this below we computed the first inspirals which went beyond the leading-order flux balance approximation and included important subleading conservative effects. The below figure is a snapshot of a sample inspiral generated using the code.

Screenshot 2016-09-02 14.58.30

The code that interpolates the self-force is called lib_Sch_GSF and is freely available under the LGPL licence. The lib_Sch_GSF tarball can be downloaded here. It includes a README file that explains the usage of the library, how much of the parameter space it covers and what accuracy you can expect from it.

More recently I have worked with collaborators at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to extend our original work to the full astrophysical range of orbital eccentricities. We hope to release the GSF interpolation code from that work soon.