Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute)
What are neutron stars?
Neutron stars, the targets of this research program, are extreme objects formed in supernova explosions.
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.
While it is believed that the Milky Way contains about a hundred million neutron stars, fewer than 3000 have been detected so far. Either because they do not emit electromagnetically at all, or because their beamed radiation misses this Earth or is absorbed by interstellar matter.
Gravitational waves might well be the only way to unveil this invisible population of extreme objects.