|Sun Yat-sen University
| gravitational-wave observatory
The TianQin Project (Chinese :天琴计划) is a proposed space-borne gravitational-wave observatory (gravitational-wave detector) consisting of three spacecraft in Earth orbit. The TianQin project is being led by Professor Luo Jun (Chinese :罗俊), President of Sun Yat-sen University, and is based in the university's Zhuhai campus. Construction on project-related infrastructure, which will include a research building, ultra-quiet cave laboratory, and observation center, began in March 2016. The project is estimated to cost 15 billion RMB (US$2.3 billion), with a projected launch date in 2030s. In December 2019, China launched "Tianqin-1, its first satellite for space-based gravitational wave detection."
The project's name combines the Chinese words "Tian" (天), meaning sky or heavens, and "Qin" (琴), meaning stringed instrument. This name refers to the metaphorical concept of gravitational waves "plucking the strings" by causing fluctuations in the 100,000 kilometer laser beams stretching between each of the three TianQin spacecraft.
The observatory will consist of three identical drag-free controlled spacecraft in high Earth orbits at an altitude of about 100,000 km. The nominal source of the observatory is a white-dwarf binary RX J0806.3+1527 (also known as HM Cancri). This could serve as a good calibration source for the TianQin gravitational wave observatory. Similar configuration of geocentric orbit space-borne gravitational wave detectors have been developed since 2011, and was shown to have favorable properties for observing intermediate-mass and massive black-hole binaries.
Apart from Galactic binaries, the TianQin observatory can also detect sources like massive black hole binaries, extreme mass ratio inspirals, stellar-mass black hole binary inspirals, and stochastic gravitational wave background, etc.
The detection rate for massive black hole binaries is expected to be as high as about 60 per year,and TianQin would have accurate estimate to the source's parameters, which enable the potential for distinguishing the seed models for massive black holes, as well as issuing early warning for nearby mergers. It can also be used to test the no-hair theorem or constrain modified gravity.
The following is a timeline of gravitational physics and general relativity.
The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) is a large-scale physics experiment and observatory designed to detect cosmic gravitational waves and to develop gravitational-wave observations as an astronomical tool. Two large observatories were built in the United States with the aim of detecting gravitational waves by laser interferometry. These observatories use mirrors spaced four kilometers apart which are capable of detecting a change of less than one ten-thousandth the charge diameter of a proton.
The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) is a proposed space probe to detect and accurately measure gravitational waves—tiny ripples in the fabric of spacetime—from astronomical sources. LISA would be the first dedicated space-based gravitational wave detector. It aims to measure gravitational waves directly by using laser interferometry. The LISA concept has a constellation of three spacecraft arranged in an equilateral triangle with sides 2.5 million kilometres long, flying along an Earth-like heliocentric orbit. The distance between the satellites is precisely monitored to detect a passing gravitational wave.
Einstein@Home is a volunteer computing project that searches for signals from spinning neutron stars in data from gravitational-wave detectors, from large radio telescopes, and from a gamma-ray telescope. Neutron stars are detected by their pulsed radio and gamma-ray emission as radio and/or gamma-ray pulsars. They also might be observable as continuous gravitational wave sources if they are rapidly spinning and non-axisymmetrically deformed. The project was officially launched on 19 February 2005 as part of the American Physical Society's contribution to the World Year of Physics 2005 event.
Tests of general relativity serve to establish observational evidence for the theory of general relativity. The first three tests, proposed by Albert Einstein in 1915, concerned the "anomalous" precession of the perihelion of Mercury, the bending of light in gravitational fields, and the gravitational redshift. The precession of Mercury was already known; experiments showing light bending in accordance with the predictions of general relativity were performed in 1919, with increasingly precise measurements made in subsequent tests; and scientists claimed to have measured the gravitational redshift in 1925, although measurements sensitive enough to actually confirm the theory were not made until 1954. A more accurate program starting in 1959 tested general relativity in the weak gravitational field limit, severely limiting possible deviations from the theory.
Numerical relativity is one of the branches of general relativity that uses numerical methods and algorithms to solve and analyze problems. To this end, supercomputers are often employed to study black holes, gravitational waves, neutron stars and many other phenomena governed by Einstein's theory of general relativity. A currently active field of research in numerical relativity is the simulation of relativistic binaries and their associated gravitational waves.
The gravitational wave background is a random gravitational-wave signal potentially detectable by gravitational wave detection experiments. Since the background is supposed to be statistically random, it has yet been researched only in terms of such statistical descriptors as the mean, the variance, etc.
Gravitational waves are waves of the intensity of gravity generated by the accelerated masses of an orbital binary system that propagate as waves outward from their source at the speed of light. They were first proposed by Oliver Heaviside in 1893 and then later by Henri Poincaré in 1905 as waves similar to electromagnetic waves but the gravitational equivalent. Gravitational waves were later predicted in 1916 by Albert Einstein on the basis of his general theory of relativity as ripples in spacetime. Later he refused to accept gravitational waves. Gravitational waves transport energy as gravitational radiation, a form of radiant energy similar to electromagnetic radiation. Newton's law of universal gravitation, part of classical mechanics, does not provide for their existence, since that law is predicated on the assumption that physical interactions propagate instantaneously – showing one of the ways the methods of Newtonian physics are unable to explain phenomena associated with relativity.
A gravitational-wave detector is any device designed to measure tiny distortions of spacetime called gravitational waves. Since the 1960s, various kinds of gravitational-wave detectors have been built and constantly improved. The present-day generation of laser interferometers has reached the necessary sensitivity to detect gravitational waves from astronomical sources, thus forming the primary tool of gravitational-wave astronomy.
Gravitational-wave astronomy is an emerging branch of observational astronomy which aims to use gravitational waves to collect observational data about objects such as neutron stars and black holes, events such as supernovae, and processes including those of the early universe shortly after the Big Bang.
Primordial black holes are hypothetical black holes that formed soon after the Big Bang. Due to the extreme environment of the newly born universe, extremely dense pockets of sub-atomic matter had been tightly packed to the point of gravitational collapse, creating a primordial black hole that bypasses the density needed to make black holes today due to the densely packed, high-energy state present in the moments just after the Big Bang. Seeing as the creation of primordial black holes pre-date the creation of known stars, they can be formed with less mass than what are known as stellar black holes. Yakov Borisovich Zel'dovich and Igor Dmitriyevich Novikov in 1966 first proposed the existence of such black holes, while the first in-depth study was conducted by Stephen Hawking in 1971. However, their existence has not been proven and remains theoretical.
The Story of Han Dynasty is a Chinese television series based on the events in the Chu–Han Contention, an interregnum between the fall of the Qin dynasty and the founding of the Han dynasty in Chinese history. The series was first broadcast on CCTV in China in 2003. Directed by Wei Handao, the series starred Hu Jun, Xiao Rongsheng, Jacklyn Wu, Kristy Yang, Wang Gang and Li Li-chun.
A binary black hole (BBH) is a system consisting of two black holes in close orbit around each other. Like black holes themselves, binary black holes are often divided into stellar binary black holes, formed either as remnants of high-mass binary star systems or by dynamic processes and mutual capture; and binary supermassive black holes, believed to be a result of galactic mergers.
In astrophysics the chirp mass of a compact binary system determines the leading-order orbital evolution of the system as a result of energy loss from emitting gravitational waves. Because the gravitational wave frequency is determined by orbital frequency, the chirp mass also determines the frequency evolution of the gravitational wave signal emitted during a binary's inspiral phase. In gravitational wave data analysis it is easier to measure the chirp mass than the two component masses alone.
The first direct observation of gravitational waves was made on 14 September 2015 and was announced by the LIGO and Virgo collaborations on 11 February 2016. Previously, gravitational waves had been inferred only indirectly, via their effect on the timing of pulsars in binary star systems. The waveform, detected by both LIGO observatories, matched the predictions of general relativity for a gravitational wave emanating from the inward spiral and merger of a pair of black holes of around 36 and 29 solar masses and the subsequent "ringdown" of the single resulting black hole. The signal was named GW150914. It was also the first observation of a binary black hole merger, demonstrating both the existence of binary stellar-mass black hole systems and the fact that such mergers could occur within the current age of the universe.
GW 170817 was a gravitational wave (GW) signal observed by the LIGO and Virgo detectors on 17 August 2017, originating from the shell elliptical galaxy NGC 4993. The signal was produced by the last minutes of a binary pair of neutron stars' inspiral process, ending with a merger. It is the first GW observation that has been confirmed by non-gravitational means. Unlike the five previous GW detections, which were of merging black holes not expected to produce a detectable electromagnetic signal, the aftermath of this merger was also seen by 70 observatories on 7 continents and in space, across the electromagnetic spectrum, marking a significant breakthrough for multi-messenger astronomy. The discovery and subsequent observations of GW 170817 were given the Breakthrough of the Year award for 2017 by the journal Science.
PyCBC is an open source software package primarily written in the Python programming language which is designed for use in gravitational-wave astronomy and gravitational-wave data analysis. PyCBC contains modules for signal processing, FFT, matched filtering, gravitational waveform generation, among other tasks common in gravitational-wave data analysis.
The Taiji Program in Space, or Taiji, is a proposed Chinese satellite-based gravitational-wave observatory. It is scheduled for launch in 2033 to study ripples in spacetime caused by gravitational waves. The program consists of a triangle of three spacecraft orbiting the sun linked by laser interferometers.
Lisa Barsotti is a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Kavli Institute.