gravitation wave: strength and instrumentation

merle van osdol
merle van osdol
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Topic 197938

Do we have ANY idea as to how "large" an "event" would have to be to register on our instrumentation that we now have?

Like for example 2 binary pulsars or black holes with a mass of x and velocities in their orbits of y at a distance from each other of z at a distance of q from earth.

And if I stumble again - it's only a short drop. :-)


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Mike Hewson
Mike Hewson
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gravitation wave: strength and instrumentation

Indeed there is all of that. Much thinking has gone into such hypotheses. It began decades ago during the LIGO design phase ie. would there be any point building it at all ? There is a raft of estimates out there as to what celestial events would cause a given response from the interferometers. It is worth emphasising that the interferometers were always going to go through phases of progressive upgrade until design specifications were finally reached ie. about now.

Oddly enough ( weird really ) many have seen the lack of GW detection thus far as failure. Probably one important reason for that view is their failure to do any meaningful homework ie. research the enterprise properly before commenting. As the saying goes, one can't let truth get in the way of a good story. By that measure the LHC would have failed before it was turned on ! The second reason is simple misunderstanding of scientific process on the measurement side. If no GW's are found then it is not a well performed experiment that has gone begging, but theory constructs due for revision. Even then that is a good thing for we learn. However in the last couple of years that type of commentary has settled. About two years ago I saw that New Scientist even had realised what was actually being built, perhaps they did some inquiries outside of their office. Who can say ? So it seems that even Fleet Street is capable of addressing truth, but they do have to make the effort. I think if the current New Scientist mob were about during the Apollo landings they presumably would have criticised NASA for falling short of Mars .... :-)

[ By and large there is a deeper issue I feel : the human tendency to 'flatten' difficult questions and problems into linear constructs and silly dichotomies, while ignoring/forgetting such flattening has been performed. ]

Cheers, Mike.

I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter. Blaise Pascal

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