Solving the flatness problem with an anisotropic instanton in Hořava-Lifshitz gravity [CL]

In Ho\v{r}ava-Lifshitz gravity a scaling isotropic in space but anisotropic in spacetime, often called anisotropic scaling with the dynamical critical exponent z=3, lies at the base of its renormalizability. This scaling also leads to a novel mechanism of generating scale-invariant cosmological perturbations, solving the horizon problem without inflation. In this paper we propose a possible solution to the flatness problem, in which we assume that the initial condition of the Universe is set by a small instanton respecting the same scaling. We argue that the mechanism may be more general than the concrete model presented here, and rely simply on the deformed dispersion relations of the theory, and on equipartition of the various forms of energy at the starting point.

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S. Bramberger, A. Coates, J. Magueijo, et. al.
Fri, 22 Sep 17

Comments: 10 pages, 5 figures

Neutron star mergers as a probe of modifications of general relativity with finite-range scalar forces [CL]

Observations of gravitational radiation from compact binary systems provide an unprecedented opportunity to test General Relativity in the strong field dynamical regime. In this paper, we investigate how future observations of gravitational radiation from binary neutron star mergers might provide constraints on finite-range forces from a universally coupled massive scalar field. Such scalar degrees of freedom are a characteristic feature of many extensions of General Relativity. For concreteness, we work in the context of metric $f(R)$ gravity, which is equivalent to General Relativity and a universally coupled scalar field with a non-linear potential whose form is fixed by the choice of $f(R)$. In theories where neutron stars (or other compact objects) obtain a significant scalar charge, the resulting attractive finite-range scalar force has implications for both the inspiral and merger phases of binary systems. We first present an analysis of the inspiral dynamics in Newtonian limit, and forecast the constraints on the mass of the scalar and charge of the compact objects for the Advanced LIGO gravitational wave observatory. We then perform a comparative study of binary neutron star mergers in General Relativity with those of a one-parameter model of $f(R)$ gravity using fully relativistic hydrodynamical simulations. These simulations elucidate the effects of the scalar on the merger and post-merger dynamics. We comment on the utility of the full waveform (inspiral, merger, post-merger) to probe different regions of parameter space for both the particular model of $f(R)$ gravity studied here and for finite-range scalar forces more generally.

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L. Sagunski, J. Zhang, M. Johnson, et. al.
Thu, 21 Sep 17

Comments: 22 pages, 8 figures

Black hole lasers powered by axion superradiant instabilities [CL]

The superradiant instability can lead to the generation of extremely dense axion clouds around rotating black holes. We show that, despite the long lifetime of the QCD axion with respect to spontaneous decay into photon pairs, stimulated decay becomes significant above a minimum axion density and leads to extremely bright lasers. The lasing threshold can be attained for axion masses $\mu \gtrsim 10^{-8}\ \mathrm{eV}$, which implies superradiant instabilities around spinning primordial BHs with mass $\lesssim 0.01M_\odot$. We further show that lasing can be quenched by Schwinger pair production, which produces a critical electron-positron plasma within the axion cloud. Lasing can nevertheless restart once annihilation lowers the plasma density sufficiently, resulting in multiple laser bursts that repeat until the black hole spins down sufficiently to quench the superradiant instability. In particular, axions with a mass $\sim 10^{-5}\ \mathrm{eV}$ and primordial black holes with mass $\sim 10^{24}$ kg, which may account for all the dark matter in the Universe, lead to millisecond-bursts in the GHz radio-frequency range, with peak luminosities $\sim 10^{42}$ erg/s, suggesting a possible link to the observed fast radio bursts.

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J. Rosa and T. Kephart
Thu, 21 Sep 17

Comments: 6 pages, 2 figures

Is exponential gravity a viable description for the whole cosmological history? [CL]

Here we analysed a particular type of F(R) gravity, the so-called exponential gravity which includes an exponential function of the Ricci scalar in the action. Such term represents a correction to the usual Hilbert-Einstein action. By using Supernovae Ia, Barionic Acoustic Oscillations, Cosmic Microwave Background and H(z) data, the free parameters of the model are well constrained. The results show that such corrections to General Relativity become important at cosmological scales and at late-times, providing an alternative to the dark energy problem. In addition, the fits do not determine any significant difference statistically with respect to the LCDM model. Finally, such model is extended to include the inflationary epoch in the same gravitational Lagrangian. As shown in the paper, the additional terms can reproduce the inflationary epoch and satisfy the constraints from Planck data.

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S. Odintsov, D. Saez-Gomez and G. Sharov
Thu, 21 Sep 17

Comments: 19 pages, 6 figures

A modified Friedmann equation [CL]

We recently formulated a model of the universe based on an underlying W3-symmetry. It allows the creation of the universe from nothing and the creation of baby universes and wormholes for spacetimes of dimension 2, 3, 4, 6 and 10. Here we show that the classical large time and large space limit of these universes is one of exponential fast expansion without the need of a cosmological constant. Under a number of simplifying assumptions our model predicts that w=-1.2 in the case of four-dimensional spacetime. The possibility of obtaining a w-value less than -1 is linked to the ability of our model to create baby universes and wormholes.

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J. Ambjorn and Y. Watabiki
Wed, 20 Sep 17

Comments: N/A

Lensing and dynamics of ultra-compact bosonic stars [CL]

Spherically symmetric bosonic stars are one of the few examples of gravitating solitons that are known to form dynamically, via a classical process of (incomplete) gravitational collapse. As stationary solutions of the Einstein–Klein-Gordon or the Einstein–Proca theory, bosonic stars may also become sufficiently compact to develop light rings and hence mimic, in principle, gravitational-wave observational signatures of black holes (BHs). In this paper, we discuss how these horizonless ultra-compact objects (UCOs) are actually distinct from BHs, both phenomenologically and dynamically. In the electromagnetic channel, the light ring associated phenomenology reveals remarkable lensing patterns, quite distinct from a standard BH shadow, with an infinite number of Einstein rings accumulating in the vicinity of the light ring, both inside and outside the latter. The strong lensing region, moreover, can be considerably smaller than the shadow of a BH with a comparable mass. Dynamically, we investigate the fate of such UCOs under perturbations, via fully non-linear numerical simulations and observe that, in all cases, they decay into a Schwarzschild BH within a time scale of $\mathcal{O}(M)$, where $M$ is the mass of the bosonic star. Both these studies reinforce how difficult it is for horizonless UCOs to mimic BH phenomenology and dynamics, in all its aspects.

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P. Cunha, J. Font, C. Herdeiro, et. al.
Wed, 20 Sep 17

Comments: 13 pages, 9 figures

Adiabatic regularisation of power spectrum in nonminimally coupled general single-field inflation [CL]

We perform adiabatic regularisation of power spectrum in nonminimally coupled general single-field inflation with varying speed of sound. The subtraction is performed within the framework of earlier study by Urakawa and Starobinsky dealing with the canonical inflation. Inspired by Fakir and Unruh’s model on nonminimally coupled chaotic inflation, we find upon imposing near scale invariance condition, that the subtraction term exponentially decays with the number of $ e $-folds. As in the result for the canonical inflation, the regularised power spectrum tends to the “bare” power spectrum as the Universe expands during (and even after) inflation. This work justifies the use of the “bare” power spectrum in standard calculation in the most general context of slow-roll single-field inflation involving non-minimal coupling and varying speed of sound.

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A. Alinea
Wed, 20 Sep 17

Comments: version 1.0, 19 pages