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Journal Articles The Astrophysical Journal Year : 2015

Nearby Stars as Gravitational Wave Detectors

Ilídio Lopes
  • Function : Author


Sun-like stellar oscillations are excited by turbulent convection and have been discovered in some 500 main-sequence and sub-giant stars and in more than 12,000 red giant stars. When such stars are near gravitational wave sources, low-order quadrupole acoustic modes are also excited above the experimental threshold of detectability, and they can be observed, in principle, in the acoustic spectra of these stars. Such stars form a set of natural detectors to search for gravitational waves over a large spectral frequency range, from {10}-7 to {10}-2 Hz. In particular, these stars can probe the {10}-6-{10}-4 Hz spectral window which cannot be probed by current conventional gravitational wave detectors, such as the Square Kilometre Array and Evolved Laser Interferometer Space Antenna. The Planetary Transits and Oscillations of State (PLATO) stellar seismic mission will achieve photospheric velocity amplitude accuracy of {cm} {{{s}}}-1. For a gravitational wave search, we will need to achieve accuracies of the order of {10}-2 {cm} {{{s}}}-1, i.e., at least one generation beyond PLATO. However, we have found that multi-body stellar systems have the ideal setup for this type of gravitational wave search. This is the case for triple stellar systems formed by a compact binary and an oscillating star. Continuous monitoring of the oscillation spectra of these stars to a distance of up to a kpc could lead to the discovery of gravitational waves originating in our galaxy or even elsewhere in the universe. Moreover, unlike experimental detectors, this observational network of stars will allow us to study the progression of gravitational waves throughout space.

Dates and versions

insu-03644907 , version 1 (19-04-2022)



Ilídio Lopes, Joseph Silk. Nearby Stars as Gravitational Wave Detectors. The Astrophysical Journal, 2015, 807, ⟨10.1088/0004-637X/807/2/135⟩. ⟨insu-03644907⟩
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