Black Hole Spectroscopy

03/28/2022 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Abstract: According to general relativity, the remnant of a binary black hole merger should be a perturbed Kerr black hole. Perturbed Kerr black holes emit “ringdown” radiation which is well described by a superposition of quasinormal modes, with frequencies and damping times that depend only on the mass and spin of the remnant. Therefore the observation of gravitational radiation emitted by black hole mergers might finally provide direct evidence of black holes with the same certainty as, say, the 21 cm line identifies interstellar hydrogen. I will review the current status of this “black hole spectroscopy” program. I will focus on two important open issues: (1) When is the waveform well described by linear black hole perturbation theory? (2) What is the current observational status of black hole spectroscopy?