Astrophysics

Guiding the Gravity Wave Search

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Science  06 Jul 2007:
Vol. 317, Issue 5834, pp. 18-19
DOI: 10.1126/science.317.5834.18d

General relativity predicts that when massive objects crash into each other, they should emit ripples in the spacetime fabric called gravitational waves. Detection of these waves is an eagerly pursued but as yet elusive goal. The merger of binary black holes is one example of a powerful event that has been well studied theoretically in the hopes of identifying a clear gravitational wave signature. Supernovae and collapsing stars may also provide strong gravitational wave signals and thus an enlarged set of targets for detection. Dimmelmeier et al. performed computer simulations of fusion-burning stars progressing toward their golden years as nonburning neutron stars. The authors paid special attention to the particularly strong gravitational wave burst expected just after collapse, as the in-falling material slams against the hard iron core of the dying star. Exploring a wide range of parameters, they found a clear set of waveform templates that should expedite the search for gravitational waves. — DV

Phys. Rev. Lett. 98, 251101 (2007).

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