2009 Student Research Conference:
22nd Annual Student Research Conference

Simulating the Gravitational Wave Signal from a Population of Binary Stars
Jacob A. Hummel
Dr. Vayujeet Gokhale and Dr. Michael Goggin, Faculty Mentors

Gravitational waves are a prediction of Einsteins general theory of relativity. Black holes, neutron stars, close binary star systems and supernovae are expected to be strong sources of gravitational radiation. By studying a population of these objects, we can predict the expected gravitational wave signal from the Galaxy. To this end, we generate a population of 106 binary star systems with masses distributed according to the Initial Mass Function (IMF) of the Galaxy, using an analytic form of the IMF drawn from the literature. This population is then evolved to the present using the binary star evolution algorithm of Hurley et al. (2002). Out of the various possible outcomes of binary evolution, we concentrate on the gravitational wave signal from the population of white dwarf binaries, as these objects are expected to be ideal sources for the gravitational wave detector LISA, due to be launched in the coming decade.

Keywords: Gravitational Waves, Astronomy, Astrophysics, General Relativity, Population Modeling

Topic(s):Physics

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 38-3
Location: VH 1412
Time: 1:45

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