Authors: S. V. Dhurandhar
Date: 15 Apr 2011
Abstract: An enigmatic prediction of Einstein's general theory of relativity is gravitational waves. With the observed decay in the orbit of the Hulse-Taylor binary pulsar agreeing within a fraction of a percent with the theoretically computed decay from Einstein's theory, the existence of gravitational waves was firmly established. Currently there is a worldwide effort to detect gravitational waves with interferometric gravitational wave observatories or detectors and several such detectors have been built or being built. The initial detectors have reached their design sensitivities and now the effort is on to construct advanced detectors which are expected to detect gravitational waves from astrophysical sources. The era of gravitational wave astronomy has arrived. This article describes the worldwide effort which includes the effort on the Indian front - the IndIGO project -, the principle underlying interferometric detectors both on ground and in space, the principal noise sources that plague such detectors, the astrophysical sources of gravitational waves that one expects to detect by these detectors and some glimpse of the data analysis methods involved in extracting the very weak gravitational wave signals from detector noise.
© M. Vallisneri 2012 — last modified on 2010/01/29
Tantum in modicis, quantum in maximis