Author's School

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Author's Department/Program



English (en)

Date of Award

Summer 8-22-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

Clifford Martin Will


This thesis includes two main projects. In the first part, we assess the feasibility of a recently suggested strong-field general relativity test, in which future observations of a hypothetical class of stars orbiting very close to the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy, known as Sgr A*, could provide tests of the so-called no-hair theorem of general relativity through the measurement of precessions of their orbital planes. By considering how a distribution of stars and stellar mass black holes in the central cluster would perturb the orbits of those hypothetical stars, we show that for stars within about 0.2 milliparsecs: about 6 light-hours) of the black hole, the relativistic precessions dominate, leaving a potential window for tests of no-hair theorems. Our results are in agreement with N-body simulation results.

In the second part, we develop a fully general relativistic phase-space formulation to consider the effects of the Galactic center supermassive black hole Sgr A* on the dark-matter density profile and its applications in the indirect detection of dark matter. We find significant differences from the non-relativistic result of Gondolo and Silk: 1999), including a higher density for the spike and a larger degree of central concentration. Having the dark matter profile density in the presence of the massive black hole, we calculate its perturbing effect on the orbital motions of stars in the Galactic center, and find that for the stars of interest, relativistic effects related to the hair on the black hole will dominate the effects of dark matter.



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