People

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Dr. Maria Alessandra Papa
Group leader
Phone:+49 511 762-17160Fax:+49 511 762-17182

Personal homepage

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Dr. Gregory Ashton
Phone:+49 511 762-17186Fax:+49 511 762-2784

Member of Observational Relativity and Cosmology

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Dr. Vladimir Dergachev
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Christoph Dreißigacker

Member of Observational Relativity and Cosmology

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Heinz-Bernd Eggenstein
Phone:+49 511 762-17098Fax:+49 511 762-2784
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Dr. Yi-Ming Hu
Phone:+49 511 762-17153Fax:+49 511 762-2784

Member of Observational Relativity and Cosmology

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Dr. Grant David Meadors
Phone:+49 511 762-3437Fax:+49 511 762-2784
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Jing Ming
Phone:+49 511 762-17190Fax:+49 511 762-2784
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Dr. Arunava Mukherjee
Phone:+49 511 762-17153Fax:+49 511 762-2784

Member of Observational Relativity and Cosmology

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Dr. Reinhard Prix
Phone:+49 511 762-17154Fax:+49 511 762-2784

Member of Observational Relativity and Cosmology

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Avneet Singh
Phone:+49 511 762-17150Fax:+49 511 762-2784
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Benjamin Steltner
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Dr. Sinéad Walsh
Phone:+49 511 762-17120Fax:+49 511 762-2784
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Dr. Karl Wette
Phone:+49 511 762-17181Fax:+49 511 762-2784

Member of Observational Relativity and Cosmology

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Dr. Sylvia Zhu
Phone:+49 511 762-17169Fax:+49 511 762-2784

Searching for Continuous Gravitational Waves from Compact Objects

Neutron stars, the targets of this research program, are extreme objects formed in supernova explosions. They typically have around 40 % more mass than the Sun, but are only about 20 kilometers in diameter: the only objects that are known to be more compact than this are black holes. Until now, the vast majority of neutron stars have been found via the pulsations that result from their beamed electromagnetic emission periodically sweeping past the Earth; for this reason they are often called pulsars. However, while it is believed that the Milky Way contains about a hundred million neutron stars, fewer than 3000 have been detected so far. Gravitational waves might well be the only way to unveil this invisible population of extreme objects.

The primary goal of our research is now to make the first direct detection of gravitational waves from spinning neutron stars, and thus to observe these stars via a completely different physical mechanism, which would carry important new information about their internal structure and composition.

In 2016, the LIGO Scientific Collaboration announced the first direct observations of short bursts of gravitational waves, emitted during the inspiral and merger of black holes of tens of solar masses. Here we target a different type of gravitational wave signal: the long continuous waveform expected from a rapidly spinning neutron star. Because the star's sky location, spin rate, and deformation from axisymmetry are unknown, there is a large parameter space to search, and the sensitivity is limited by the amount of computing power available. The Einstein@Home volunteer computing project provides the lion's share of our compute cycles and on it we deploy our state-of-the-art search techniques.

The direct detection of gravitational waves has opened a new window on the Universe, providing a new tool for astrophysical observation. The detection of continuous gravitational waves will provide glimpses in the invisible population of neutron stars that inhabits our Galaxy, improve our understanding of stellar evolution and populations and shed light on the internal structure and evolutionary history on these extraordinary objects.

Recently submitted papers

1.
D. I. Jones, G. Ashton, and R. Prix
On the occurrence of glitches in pulsar free precession candidates

Recently published papers

2.
Grant David Meadors, Evan Goetz, Keith Riles, Teviet Creighton, Florent Robinet
Searches for continuous gravitational waves from Scorpius X-1 and XTE J1751-305 in LIGO's sixth science run
3.
Avneet Singh
Gravitational wave transient signal emission via Ekman pumping in neutron stars during post-glitch relaxation phase
4.
G. Ashton, D. I. Jones, and R. Prix
On the free-precession candidate PSR B1828-11: Evidence for increasing deformation
5.
M.A. Papa et al.
Hierarchical follow-up of sub-threshold candidates of an all-sky Einstein@home search for continuous gravitational waves on LIGO S6 data
6.
Karl Wette

Empirically extending the range of validity of parameter-space metrics for all-sky searches for gravitational-wave pulsars

7.
Sinead Walsh et al.
A comparison of methods for the detection of gravitational waves from unknown neutron stars
8.
LIGO Scientific Collaboration
Results of the deepest all-sky survey for continuous gravitational waves on LIGO S6 data running on the Einstein at Home volunteer distributed computing project
9.
Sylvia J. Zhu et al.
Results of the deepest Einstein@Home search for continuous gravitational waves from CasA from the S6 LIGO Science Run
10.
Avneet Singh et al.
Results of an all-sky high-frequency Einstein@Home search for continuous gravitational waves in LIGO 5th Science Run
11.
Grant David Meadors, Evan Goetz, and Keith Riles
Tuning into Scorpius X-1: adapting a continuous gravitational-wave search for a known binary system
12.
David Keitel
Robust semicoherent searches for continuous gravitational waves with noise and signal models including hours to days long transients
13.
Jing Ming, Badri Krishnan, Maria Alessandra Papa, Carsten Aulbert, and Henning Fehrmann
Optimal directed searches for continuous gravitational waves
14.
Miroslav Shaltev
Optimizing StackSlide setup and data selection for continuous-gravitational-wave searches in realistic detector data
15.
G. Ashton, D. I. Jones, and R. Prix
Comparing models of the periodic variations in spin-down and beamwidth for PSR B1828-11
 
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