Kavli Affiliate: Ulrich Sperhake

| First 5 Authors: Davide Gerosa, Alicia Lima, Emanuele Berti, Ulrich Sperhake, Michael Kesden

| Summary:

Within the framework of 2PN black-hole binary spin precession, we explore

configurations where one of the two spins oscillates from being completely

aligned with the orbital angular momentum to being completely anti-aligned with

it during a single precession cycle. This "wide nutation" is the extreme limit

of the generic phenomenon of spin nutation in black-hole binaries. Crucially,

wide nutation happens on the short precession time scale and it is not a

secular effect due to gravitational-wave radiation reaction. The spins of these

binaries, therefore, flip repeatedly as one of these special configurations is

entered. Binaries with total mass $M$, mass ratio $q$, and dimensionless spin

$chi_1$ ($chi_2$) of the more (less) massive black hole are allowed to

undergo wide nutation at binary separations $r leq r_{rm wide} equiv [(q

chi_2 – chi_1)/(1-q)]^2 M$. Sources that are more likely to nutate widely

have similar masses and effective spins close to zero.

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