Why LISA is important
Ed Porter
APC Paris
Wed, Nov. 17th 2010, 14:15
Salle Claude Itzykson, Bât. 774, Orme des Merisiers
While there are currently a number of gravitational wave detectors operating on Earth, they are limited to frequencies above 10 Hz due to tectonic plate movement, weather patterns and other noise sources that disturb the local Newtonian potential. In order to search for sources of gravitational waves at lower frequencies we are forced to go into space. The proposed space based detector LISA is one such mission. The goals of this mission are the detection of supermassive black hole mergers to a redshift of z $\sim$ 20, the plunge of stellar mass objects into supermassive black holes in galactic centers to a redshift of z $\sim$ 1 and bursts from possible phase transitions such as cosmic string cusps and kinks. The predicted event rate for LISA is many thousands of sources per year. Simulated analysis predicts that we should be able to measure the component masses of the binary systems to one part in ten thousand, the spins of the black holes to one part in a thousand, and the luminosity distance of the sources to less than 1\%. This level of precision would enable us to determine the mechanisms of galaxy formation, investigate the black hole mass function, conduct cosmology of the local universe and test General Relativity by mapping out the spacetime around a supermassive black hole.
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