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The Einstein@Home Arecibo Radio Pulsar search: Topic 6


How does this project help searching for Gravitational Waves?

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When matter accelerates through space, it changes the curvature of spacetime. These changes propagate through space at the speed of light in form of gravitational waves. The more compact and massive the matter is and the more it accelerates, the more intense are the gravitational waves that are emitted. Therefore, close binary systems with compact components like neutron stars and/or black holes are a strong, continuous source for gravitational waves.

With the results from this pulsar search, we improve our understanding of how many binaries with neutron stars may be out there in total. Moreover, we get a set of pulsar binaries with known sky positions and orbital parameters. Pulsars can emit gravitational waves by a variety of mechanisms in the sensitive frequency range of ground-based detectors.The results from the radio pulsar search enable us to carry out so-called "targeted searches" for gravitational waves from binary pulsars in data of the LIGO, VIRGO, or GEO 600 gravitational wave observatories.

Furthermore, these new pulsars can serve as calibration sources for the gravitational wave space observatory LISA which should be launched by the end of this decade. Here, the gravitational waves emitted from the orbital motion in the mHz range would be detectable.

Gravitational Wave Observatories

LIGO Homepage

VIRGO Homepage

GEO 600 Homepage

LISA Homepage

When two neutron stars orbit each other — regardless if the act as pulsars or not — they stir up the spacetime fabric and emit strong gravitational waves.
Credit: John Rowe Animation/Australia Telescope National Facility, CSIRO
LIGO Hanford
Gravitational Waves Observatories like LIGO at Hanford, Washington, are kilometers long Michelson-type laser interferometers. They detect minuscule phase shifts between the splitted laser beams if a gravitational wave distorts the local spacetime.
Credit: LIGO Laboratory

Last updated on 10 June 2009

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Grants PHY-1104902, PHY-1104617 and PHY-1105572 and by the Max Planck Gesellschaft (MPG). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the investigators and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF or the MPG.

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