Supermassive black hole binaries (SMBHBs) are a product of galaxy mergers and progenitors of coalescing binaries, considered to be the prime sources for future gravitational wave (GW) detectors. Expectations for detection of gravitational radiation from SMBHBs have recently been raised by the success of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, by the increasing sensitivity of the Pulsar Timing Arrays, and by selection of the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna for a large-class mission in the European Space Agency science program. In light of these developments, the rates at which SMBHBs form and evolve to coalescence remain important open questions in black hole astrophysics. Presently, the best avenue to address them is through electromagnetic observations and theoretical modeling. I will discuss how recent and anticipated advances in multi-messenger observational searches and modeling can help us to piece together the evolution of SMBHBs from galactic mergers all the way to the GW regime.
Host: Erin Kara