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Journal Article

Gravitational Wave Astronomy - Potential and Possible Realisation


Schutz,  Bernard F.
Astrophysical Relativity, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;
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Schutz, B. F., Hough, J., Meers, B. J., Newton, G. P., Robertson, N. A., Ward, H., et al. (1987). Gravitational Wave Astronomy - Potential and Possible Realisation. Vistas in Astronomy, 30(2), 109-134. doi:10.1016/0083-6656(87)90012-2.

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Since the pioneering work of Joseph Weber more than a decade ago there has been a continuing effort towards the development of more sensitive gravitational wave detectors. There are a number of interesting astrophysical sources of gravitational waves including coalescing compact binary star systems, stellar collapses and rotating neutron stars, and to detect all of these is likely to require a strain sensitivity better than 10-22 over a bandwidth of a few hundred Hz at frequencies at or below 1kHz. To achieve such sensitivity requires considerable experimental ingenuity; however work in a number of laboratories suggests that such performance should be attainable using laser interferometry between freely suspended masses separated by a distance of the order of a kilometre. This paper includes a review of possible sources and outlines methods of detection currently being developed or planned, with particular emphasis on long baseline laser interferometers.