Gravitational wave research no hum drum hunting – sciencedaily
Hunting for the never-heard “buzz” of gravitational waves caused by mysterious neutron stars just got a whole lot easier, thanks to an international team of researchers.
Gravitational waves have only been detected from black holes and colliding neutron stars, major cosmic events that cause huge bursts to ripple through space and time.
The research team, made up of scientists from the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC), the Virgo Collaboration and the Center for Gravitational Astrophysics (CGA) at the Australian National University (ANU), are now turning their eagle eye to spinning neutron stars to detect waves.
Unlike massive bursts caused by colliding black holes or neutron stars, researchers say that single-spinning neutron stars have a bulge or “mountain” only a few millimeters high, which can produce a flux. constant constant or “buzz” of gravitational waves.
Researchers are using their methods that first detected gravitational waves in 2015 to capture this steady soundtrack of stars to the deafening noise of massive black holes and dense neutron stars colliding.
They say it’s like trying to capture the squeal of a mouse in the middle of a herd of elephants.
If successful, this would be the first detection of a gravitational wave event that did not involve the collision of massive objects like black holes or neutron stars.
ANU Professor Emeritus, Susan Scott of the ANU School of Physics Research, said the collision of dense neutron stars caused a “burst” of gravitational waves rippling through the Universe .
“Neutron stars are mysterious objects,” said Professor Scott, also a senior researcher at the ARC Center of Excellence for the Discovery of Gravitational Waves (OzGrav).
“We don’t really understand what they’re made of, or how many types of them there are. But what we do know is that when they collide, they send incredible bursts of gravitational waves through the Universe.
“In contrast, the gentle hum of a spinning neutron star is very faint and almost impossible to detect.”
Three new papers have just been published by the LSC and Virgo collaborations detailing the most sensitive research to date for the weak buzzing of gravitational waves in rotating neutron stars.
Their work offers a “map of the El Dorado potential of gravitational waves”.
“One of our research targets young supernova remnants. These newly born neutron stars are more distorted and are expected to emit a more powerful gravitational wave flow,” said Dr. Lilli Sun, of CGA and associate researcher at OzGrav.
As this research becomes more sensitive, it provides more detail than ever before about the possible shape and composition of neutron stars.
“If we can detect this hum, we will be able to look deep into the heart of a neutron star and unlock its secrets,” said Dr Karl Wette, postdoctoral researcher at OzGrav and CGA.
Professor Scott, who is also the head of the General Relativity Theory and Data Analysis group at ANU, added: “Neutron stars represent the densest form of matter in the Universe before the formation of a black hole. “
“Researching their gravitational waves allows us to probe states of nuclear matter that simply cannot be produced in laboratories on Earth.”