Ruling Out Chaos in Compact Binary Systems

J. D. Schnittman, F. A. Rasio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


We investigate the orbits of compact binary systems during the final inspiral stage before coalescence by integrating the post-Newtonian equations of motion. We include spin-orbit and spin-spin coupling, which, according to a recent study [J. Levin, Phys. Rev. Lett. 84, 3515 (2000)], may cause the orbits to appear chaotic. To examine this claim, we calculate the divergence of nearby trajectories and attempt to measure the Lyapunov exponent γ. For all systems considered, we find no chaotic behavior, placing a lower limit on the divergence time tL≡1/γ that is many times greater than the typical inspiral time, suggesting that chaos should not adversely affect the detection of inspiral events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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