Abstract:
We measure the gravitational recoil for unequal-mass-black- hole-binary mergers, with the larger BH having spin a/m^H=0.8, and the smaller BH non-spinning. We choose our configurations such that, initially, the spins lie on the orbital plane. The spin and orbital plane precess significantly, and we find that the out-of plane recoil (i.e. the recoil perpendicular to the orbital plane around merger) varies as \eta^2 / (1+q), in agreement with our previous prediction, based on the post-Newtonian scaling.

Abstract:
We present results from fully nonlinear simulations of unequal mass binary black holes plunging from close separations well inside the innermost stable circular orbit with mass ratios q = M_1/M_2 = {1,0.85,0.78,0.55,0.32}, or equivalently, with reduced mass parameters $\eta=M_1M_2/(M_1+M_2)^2 = {0.25, 0.248, 0.246, 0.229, 0.183}$. For each case, the initial binary orbital parameters are chosen from the Cook-Baumgarte equal-mass ISCO configuration. We show waveforms of the dominant l=2,3 modes and compute estimates of energy and angular momentum radiated. For the plunges from the close separations considered, we measure kick velocities from gravitational radiation recoil in the range 25-82 km/s. Due to the initial close separations our kick velocity estimates should be understood as a lower bound. The close configurations considered are also likely to contain significant eccentricities influencing the recoil velocity.

Abstract:
We review the developments in modeling gravitational recoil from merging black-hole binaries and introduce a new set of 20 simulations to test our previously proposed empirical formula for the recoil. The configurations are chosen to represent generic binaries with unequal masses and precessing spins. Results of these simulations indicate that the recoil formula is accurate to within a few km/s in the similar mass-ratio regime for the out-of-plane recoil.

Abstract:
We test the accuracy of our recently proposed empirical formula to model the recoil velocity imparted to the merger remnant of spinning, unequal-mass black-hole binaries. We study three families of black-hole binary configurations, all with mass ratio q=3/8 (to maximize the unequal-mass contribution to the kick) and spins aligned (or counter aligned) with the orbital angular momentum, two with spin configurations chosen to minimize the spin-induced tangential and radial accelerations of the trajectories respectively, and a third family where the trajectories are significantly altered by spin-orbit coupling. We find good agreement between the measured and predicted recoil velocities for the first two families, and reasonable agreement for the third. We also re-examine our original generic binary configuration that led to the discovery of extremely large spin-driven recoil velocities and inspired our empirical formula, and find reasonable agreement between the predicted and measured recoil speeds.

Abstract:
We perform a set of 36 nonprecessing black-hole binary simulations with spins either aligned or counteraligned with the orbital angular momentum in order to model the final mass, spin, and recoil of the merged black hole as a function of the individual black hole spin magnitudes and the mass ratio of the progenitors. We find that the maximum recoil for these configurations is $V_{max}=526\pm23\,km/s$, which occurs when the progenitor spins are maximal, the mass ratio is $q_{max}=m_1/m_2=0.623\pm0.038$, the smaller black-hole spin is aligned with the orbital angular momentum, and the larger black-hole spin is counteraligned ($\alpha_1=-\alpha_2=1$). This maximum recoil is about $80\,km/s$ larger than previous estimates, but most importantly, because the maximum occurs for smaller mass ratios, the probability for a merging binary to recoil faster than $400\,km/s$ can be as large as $17\%$, while the probability for recoils faster than $250\, km/s$ can be as large as $45\%$. We provide explicit phenomenological formulas for the final mass, spin, and recoil as a function of the individual BH spins and the mass difference between the two black holes. Here we include terms up through fourth-order in the initial spins and mass difference, and find excellent agreement (within a few percent) with independent results available in the literature. The maximum radiated energy is $E_{\rm rad}/m\approx11.3\%$ and final spin $\alpha_{\rm rem}^{\rm max}\approx0.952$ for equal mass, aligned maximally spinning binaries.

Abstract:
We present a multipolar analysis of the gravitational recoil computed in recent numerical simulations of binary black hole (BH) coalescence, for both unequal masses and non-zero, non-precessing spins. We show that multipole moments up to and including l=4 are sufficient to accurately reproduce the final recoil velocity (within ~2%) and that only a few dominant modes contribute significantly to it (within ~5%). We describe how the relative amplitudes, and more importantly, the relative phases, of these few modes control the way in which the recoil builds up throughout the inspiral, merger, and ringdown phases. We also find that the numerical results can be reproduced by an ``effective Newtonian'' formula for the multipole moments obtained by replacing the radial separation in the Newtonian formulae with an effective radius computed from the numerical data. Beyond the merger, the numerical results are reproduced by a superposition of three Kerr quasi-normal modes (QNMs). Analytic formulae, obtained by expressing the multipole moments in terms of the fundamental QNMs of a Kerr BH, are able to explain the onset and amount of ``anti-kick'' for each of the simulations. Lastly, we apply this multipolar analysis to help explain the remarkable difference between the amplitudes of planar and non-planar kicks for equal-mass spinning black holes.

Abstract:
We perform a set of 38 numerical simulations of equal-mass BH binaries in a configuration where the BH spins in the binary are equal in both magnitude and direction, to study precession effects. We vary the initial direction of the total spin S with respect to the orbital angular momentum L, covering the 2 dimensional space of orientation angles with 38 configurations consisting of 36 configurations distributed in the azimuthal angle phi and polar angle theta, and two configurations on the poles. In all cases, we set the initial dimensionless BH spins to 0.8. We observe that during the late-inspiral stage, the total angular momentum of the system J remains within 5 deg of its original direction, with the largest changes in direction occurring when the spins are nearly counter-aligned with the orbital angular momentum. We also observe that the angle between S and L is nearly conserved during the inspiral phase. These two dynamical properties allow us to propose a new phenomenological formula for the final mass and spin of merged BHs in terms of the individual masses and spins of the progenitor binary at far separations. We determine coefficients of this formula (in the equal-mass limit) using a least-squares fit to the results of this new set of 38 runs, an additional set of five new configurations with spins aligned/counteraligned with the orbital angular momentum, and over 100 recent simulations. We find that our formulas reproduce the remnant mass and spin of these simulations to within a relative error of 2.5%. We discuss the region of validity of this dynamical picture for precessing unequal-mass binaries. Finally, we perform a statistical study to see the consequence of this new formula for distributions of spin-magnitudes and remnant masses with applications to BH-spin distributions and gravitational radiation in cosmological scenarios involving several mergers.

Abstract:
We present results from an extensive study of 88 precessing, equal-mass black-hole binaries with large spins (83 with intrinsic spins of 0.8 and 5 with intrinsic spins of 0.9)and use these data to model new nonlinear contributions to the gravitational recoil imparted to the merged black hole. We find a new effect, the cross kick, that enhances the recoil for partially aligned binaries beyond the hangup kick effect. This has the consequence of increasing the probabilities of recoils larger than 2000 km/s by nearly a factor two, and, consequently, of black holes getting ejected from galaxies, as well as the observation of large differential redshifts/blueshifts in the cores of recently merged galaxies.

Abstract:
We present results from the first fully nonlinear numerical calculations of the head--on collision of two unequal mass black holes. Selected waveforms of the most dominant l=2, 3 and 4 quasinormal modes are shown, as are the total radiated energies and recoil velocities for a range of mass ratios and initial separations. Our results validate the close and distant separation limit perturbation studies, and suggest that the head--on collision scenario is not likely to produce an astrophysically significant recoil effect.

Abstract:
The inspiral and merger of a binary black hole system generally leads to an asymmetric distribution of emitted radiation, and hence a recoil of the remnant black hole directed opposite to the net linear momentum radiated. The recoil velocity is generally largest for comparable mass black holes and particular spin configurations, and approaches zero in the extreme mass ratio limit. It is generally believed that for extreme mass ratios eta<<1, the scaling of the recoil velocity is V {\propto} eta^2, where the proportionality coefficient depends on the spin of the larger hole and the geometry of the system (e.g. orbital inclination). Here we show that for low but nonzero inclination prograde orbits and very rapidly spinning large holes (spin parameter a*>0.9678) the inspiralling binary can pass through resonances where the orbit-averaged radiation-reaction force is nonzero. These resonance crossings lead to a new contribution to the kick, V {\propto} eta^{3/2}. For these configurations and sufficiently extreme mass ratios, this resonant recoil is dominant. While it seems doubtful that the resonant recoil will be astrophysically significant, its existence suggests caution when extrapolating the results of numerical kick results to extreme mass ratios and near-maximal spins.