Publications by Joseph Conlon

Can black hole superradiance be induced by galactic plasmas?

Physics Letters B Elsevier BV (2018)

JP Conlon, CAR Herdeiro

Highly spinning Kerr black holes with masses $M = 1 - 100\ M_{\odot}$ are subject to an efficient superradiant instability in the presence of bosons with masses $\mu \sim 10^{-10} - 10^{-12}\ {\rm eV}$. We observe that this matches the effective plasma-induced photon mass in diffuse galactic or intracluster environments ($\omega_{\rm pl} \sim 10^{-10} - 10^{-12}\ {\rm eV}$). This suggests that bare Kerr black holes within galactic or intracluster environments, possibly even including the ones produced in recently observed gravitational wave events, are unstable to formation of a photon cloud that may contain a significant fraction of the mass of the original black hole. At maximal efficiency, the instability timescale for a massive vector is milliseconds, potentially leading to a transient rate of energy extraction from a black hole in principle as large as $\sim 10^{55} \ {\rm erg \, s}^{-1}$. We discuss possible astrophysical effects this could give rise to, including a speculative connection to Fast Radio Bursts.

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