The general relativistic (Mercury-type) periastron advance is calculated here for the first time with exquisite precision in full general relativity. We use accurate numerical relativity simulations of spinless black-hole binaries with mass ratios 1/8≤m1/m2≤1 and compare with the predictions of several analytic approximation schemes. We find the effective-one-body model to be remarkably accurate and, surprisingly, so also the predictions of self-force theory [replacing m1/m 2→m1m2/(m1+m2)2]. Our results can inform a universal analytic model of the two-body dynamics, crucial for ongoing and future gravitational-wave searches.
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