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Present and Future of Gravitational Wave Astronomy

Vajente, Gabriele (2022) Present and Future of Gravitational Wave Astronomy. Galaxies, 10 (4). Art. No. 91. ISSN 2075-4434. doi:10.3390/galaxies10040091.

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Gravitational waves (GW) are propagating perturbations of the space-time metric, generated by time-varying mass distributions. Their existence was predicted more than 100 years ago, in 1916, as a consequence of the General Relativity theory of gravitation [1]. The most intense sources of gravitational waves are astrophysical objects such as neutron stars and black holes. Despite the large amount of energy emitted in the form of gravitational waves by the coalescence of compact binary systems, the radiation has to travel tens or thousands of Mpc before reaching earth, where it can be detected. This, and the weakness of the coupling to matter, are the reasons why the direct observation of gravitational waves has been such a challenging scientific endeavor, and why the signal from the first binary black hole coalescence, detected in 2015, produced a relative change in the local earth space-time metric of only about 10−21 [2], see Figure 1. Many sources of noises had to be understood and overcome [3], so that the two Advanced LIGO observatories [4,5] were sensitive enough to detect this event with high signal-to-noise ratio, opening the era of gravitational-wave astronomy and astrophysics. This event was the first demonstration of the existence of binary black holes, and the first confirmation that General Relativity is still valid in the intense-field regime involved in the collision of two compact objects such as black holes.

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Vajente, Gabriele0000-0002-7656-6882
Additional Information:This material is based upon work supported by NSF’s LIGO Laboratory, which is a major facility fully funded by the National Science Foundation. The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the United States National Science Foundation (NSF) for the construction and operation of the LIGO Laboratory and Advanced LIGO, as well as the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) of the United Kingdom, and the Max-Planck-Society (MPS) for support of the construction of Advanced LIGO. Additional support for Advanced LIGO was provided by the Australian Research Council. LIGO was constructed by the California Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology with funding from the National Science Foundation, and operates under cooperative agreement PHY-1764464. Advanced LIGO was built under award PHY-0823459.
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Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)UNSPECIFIED
Max-Planck-Society (MPS)UNSPECIFIED
Australian Research CouncilUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220906-252571000
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:116719
Deposited By: Olivia Warschaw
Deposited On:09 Sep 2022 19:36
Last Modified:09 Sep 2022 19:36

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