Dec. 6, Department of Physics Colloquium

Tides in Coalescing Neutron Star Binaries

Nevin Weinberg
Asst. Professor / Dept. of Physics
MIT

Friday,  6 December 2013

3 p.m.  (coffee/cookies at 2:45 p.m.)

Physics – Room 135

 

Within the next few years, advanced versions of ground-based gravitational wave observatories such as LIGO and Virgo are expected to detect the first gravitational waves from the merger of neutron star binaries.  Tidal interactions in such systems extract energy from the orbit and, at some level, modify the gravitational wave signal.   Previous studies found that tidal effects are probably too small to be detected with advanced LIGO and Virgo.  However, these studies all assumed that the tide can be treated as a linear perturbation to the star.

 

In this talk I will show that the linear approximation is invalid even during the early stages of inspiral and that nonlinear effects might become important around the time the binary first enters LIGO’s bandpass.   Although the precise influence of nonlinear effects is not yet well constrained, I will show that they may significantly modify the gravitational wave signal and electromagnetic emission from coalescing neutron star binaries.