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Author Topic: What are the odds of detecting gravitational waves?  (Read 317 times)

Offline thedoc

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Luke Pullar asked the Naked Scientists:
   What are the odds of detecting gravitational waves? It's almost too coincidental that we only recently developed sensors accurate enough to measure this, and then we got "hit" by some from an object close enough to be felt. Surely the chances of this would be so minuscule as to be virtually impossible/improbable?
What do you think?
« Last Edit: 23/09/2016 11:23:04 by _system »


 

Offline sciconoclast

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Re: What are the odds of detecting gravitational waves?
« Reply #1 on: 23/09/2016 17:14:56 »
The gravitational waves that are presently anticipated to be detected would be from extreme masses undergoing extreme turbulence.

When I was at the University of Maryland in the sixties there was a doctor Weber ( maybe it was doctor Web ) who had an aluminium sphere covered with liquid nitrogen ( could have been a cylinder; this is a long time ago for me to remember specifics) and another one more than a thousand miles away. They were monitored for simultaneous distortions. He was able to detect gravitational waves and to show that there was extreme gravitational turbulence near the center of our galaxy.

The recent successful detection of gravitational waves by the first element of what will later be a large net was the astrophysical news of the year. For comparison earlier devices could be called gravitational antennas and the new ones a gravitational telescope. However, nearby commits and dust clouds will not be detected; the whole point is to see past them.      At least that is how I see it.
 

Offline syhprum

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Re: What are the odds of detecting gravitational waves?
« Reply #2 on: 23/09/2016 17:21:51 »
The devices mentioned had a very narrow bandwidth and as far as I know there was never confirmed detections
 

Offline evan_au

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Re: What are the odds of detecting gravitational waves?
« Reply #3 on: 24/09/2016 00:02:34 »
Ironically, the gravitational wave detection announced early this year occurred before LIGO was planned to start an observation run. It was still in engineering validation phase when this "hit" occurred.

There are many events that could produce gravitational waves, at many different frequencies, received power levels and duty cycle (from brief blip to continuous).

For example, it is thought that there are several supernovas in our galaxy every century, and an asymmetrical supernova can produce a (weak) burst of gravitational waves. But there are many galaxies, so potential events are happening continually.

Other types of gravity wave detectors could detect other sources, with much greater sensitivity. One of the more promising is a space-based constellation of 3 satellites. Earlier this year they ran a pilot program to see if the basic technology could work, and this was considered a success.

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolved_Laser_Interferometer_Space_Antenna
 

Offline sciconoclast

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Re: What are the odds of detecting gravitational waves?
« Reply #4 on: 24/09/2016 22:44:24 »
Thanks evan_au for further clarification. Your post was much more specific than mine and I am sure it was much more helpful.
 

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Re: What are the odds of detecting gravitational waves?
« Reply #4 on: 24/09/2016 22:44:24 »

 

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