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Hands-On Gravitational Wave Astronomy: Extracting Astrophysical Information from Simulated Signals
The American Journal of Physics
  • Louis J. Rubbo, Penn State
  • Shane L. Larson, Utah State University
  • Michelle B. Larson, Utah State University
  • Dale R. Ingram, LIGO Hanford Observatory
Document Type
American Association of Physics Teachers
Publication Date

In this article we introduce an activity in which introductory astronomy students act as gravitational wave astronomers by extracting information from simulated gravitational wave signals. The process mimics the way real gravitational wave analysis is handled by using plots of a pure gravitational wave signal. The students measure the properties of the simulated signal and use these measurements to evaluate standard relations for astrophysical source parameters. Although the activity described focuses on circular binaries, the techniques described can be applied to other gravitational wave sources as well. A problem based on the discussion in this paper is available for use in introductory laboratory courses.

Originally published by the American Association of Physics Teachers. HTML fulltext can be accessed through the American Journal of Physics.
Note: At time of publication, Shane Larson was affiliated with the Department of Physics at Weber State University.
Citation Information
Louis J. Rubbo, Shane L. Larson, Michelle B. Larson and Dale R. Ingram. "Hands-On Gravitational Wave Astronomy: Extracting Astrophysical Information from Simulated Signals" The American Journal of Physics Vol. 75 Iss. 7 (2007) p. 597 - 601
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