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Published March 21, 2009 | public
Journal Article

The gravitational-wave signature of core-collapse supernovae


We review the ensemble of anticipated gravitational-wave (GW) emission processes in stellar core collapse and postbounce core-collapse supernova evolution. We discuss recent progress in the modeling of these processes and summarize most recent GW signal estimates. In addition, we present new results on the GW emission from postbounce convective overturn and protoneutron star g-mode pulsations based on axisymmetric radiation-hydrodynamic calculations. Galactic core-collapse supernovae are very rare events, but within 3–5 Mpc from Earth, the rate jumps to 1 in ~2 years. Using the set of currently available theoretical gravitational waveforms, we compute upper-limit optimal signal-to-noise ratios based on current and advanced LIGO/GEO600/VIRGO noise curves for the recent SN 2008bk which exploded at ~3.9 Mpc. While initial LIGOs cannot detect GWs emitted by core-collapse events at such a distance, we find that advanced LIGO-class detectors could put significant upper limits on the GW emission strength for such events. We study the potential occurrence of the various GW emission processes in particular supernova explosion scenarios and argue that the GW signatures of neutrino-driven, magneto-rotational, and acoustically-driven core-collapse SNe may be mutually exclusive. We suggest that even initial LIGOs could distinguish these explosion mechanisms based on the detection (or non-detection) of GWs from a galactic core-collapse supernova.

Additional Information

© 2009 IOP Publishing Ltd. Received 3 September 2008, in final form 2 December 2008. Published 23 February 2009. The author wishes to thank A Burrows, L Lehner and B Schutz for encouraging him to write this topical review. The author is indebted to his collaborators A Burrows, L Dessart, E Livne and J Murphy for letting him use previously unpublished theoretical GW signal data in this paper. He also thanks K Kotake for providing him with the derivation of equation (7) and for helpful exchanges. Furthermore, the author finds it a pleasure to acknowledge helpful discussions with S Akiyama, S Ando, E Berti, A Burrows, A Calder, P Cerd´a-Dur´an, L Dessart, H Dimmelmeier, L S Finn, H-T Janka, E Katsavounidis, M Landry, A Marek, T Marquart, M Marschall, R O'Shaugnessy, E M¨uller, J Murphy, E O'Connor, B Schutz, E Seidel, E Schnetter, K S Thorne and L Wen. Part of this work was carried out during the Gravitational-Wave Astronomy Workshop at the Aspen Center of Physics, May–June 2008. This work was supported by a Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics postdoctoral fellowship, sub-award no 61–5292UA of NFS award no 86-6004791 at the University of Arizona, by a Sherman Fairchild postdoctoral fellowship at Caltech, by an Otto Hahn Prize awarded to the author by the Max Planck Society, and by a research fellowship from the Albert Einstein Institute.

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August 21, 2023
October 18, 2023