Gravitational Wave Telescope

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Gravitational Wave Telescope

Postby afennah » Mon Feb 15, 2016 7:42 pm

It was about forty six years after the discovery of radio waves that we saw the first radio telescopes. So, how long before we get a Gravitational Wave Telescope? More importantly, at fifty five, will I be around to see it!
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Re: Gravitational Wave Telescope

Postby dave.b » Mon Feb 15, 2016 8:48 pm

We do, it's called LIGO. Now all we need to do is increase its sensitivity.
Last edited by dave.b on Thu Feb 18, 2016 12:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Gravitational Wave Telescope

Postby afennah » Tue Feb 16, 2016 11:51 pm

Hi Dave,
I'm just comparing LIGO to the early experimental detection equipment used by Hertz to discover radio waves (pre Jansky and Reber) and assuming LIGO's purpose is to simply detect gravitational waves. Now we know they exist, How long before a dedicated gravitational wave telescope is built that can peer back to the moment of the Big Bang?
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Re: Gravitational Wave Telescope

Postby Supercooper » Wed Feb 17, 2016 3:51 pm

Gravitational waves only occur when large quantities of matter are lost. There's nothing to focus and no data beyond the fact that it happened can be got from it. There's no steady stream. Mostly the universe is flat space-time with dents where the heavy things are. If two really heavy things conjoin there can be matter turned to energy and the gravity loss from the new lower mass propergates at the speed of light. Once that has been witnessed as passing by, there's nothing else to see. Though you could ascertain direction.

Edited - With corrections suggested by Gfamily2 below.
Last edited by Supercooper on Wed Feb 17, 2016 11:33 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Gravitational Wave Telescope

Postby Gfamily2 » Wed Feb 17, 2016 11:13 pm

Supercooper wrote:Gravitational waves only occur when large quantities of matter are created. There's nothing to focus and no data beyond the fact that it happened can be got from it. There's no steady stream. Mostly the universe is flat space-time with dents where the heavy things are. If two really heavy things conjoin there can be matter created and the gravity from the new mass propergates at the speed of light from the new matter. Once that has been witnessed as passing by, there's nothing else to see.


Hmmm, it's not true that gravitational waves only occur "when large quantities of matter are created". I'm not even sure what exactly you mean by that, because the detection event GW150914 actually represented about 3 solar Masses of matter being 'lost' (rather than created). The 'loss' of mass was actually a conversion to the energy of gravitational wave itself as the two black holes merged

It's been well known for a while that the decay of the orbit of the binary pulsar PSR B1913+16 is well matched by the energy loss predicted from the emission of gravitational waves - and there's no mass created or destroyed there - most of the GW energy comes from gravitational potential energy .

And it's simply incorrect to say that "there's ... no data beyond the fact it happened can be got from it". If you read the published paper, you'll see they've found lots of information about the event. If there had been a third detector available at the time, they could have been able to get a better idea of the location - even with only 2 detectors they only have it to within about 600 square degrees (that's an area in the sky comparable to the area of a constellation such as Orion or Cassiopeia).

Having proven the possibility of detecting GWs, the interesting prospect is for the development of different types of gravitational wave detectors, including ones in space; as each detector will have its own range of sensitivity in terms of frequency and amplitudes.

The paper
https://journals.aps.org/prl/pdf/10.110 ... 116.061102
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