LISA Will Detect Binaries from Globular Clusters in the Milky Way


The European Space Agency mission called Laser Interferometer Space Antenna – or LISA will be able to detect and precisely measure gravitational waves. Astronomers define gravitational waves as tiny ripples in the fabric of space-time. LISA will help astronomers to understand the universe better.

A study conducted at the Northwestern University (Illinois, US) used realistic globular cluster models for the first time to predict what data can LISA send back to astronomers. Researchers discovered that LISA would be able to communicate new sources of phenomena that contain a big combination of black holes, neutron stars, and white dwarf components. The findings point out that astronomers and astrophysicists will get tons of exciting new data to analyze.

Better Than What the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO)

The lead author of the study is Kyle Kremer, a doctoral student in physics and astronomy (Northwestern University). Kremer explains what LISA’s purpose is:

“LISA is sensitive to Milky Way systems and will expand the breadth of the gravitational wave spectrum, allowing us to explore different types of objects that aren’t observable with LIGO.”

Globular clusters contain hundreds of thousands to millions of stars, that are bound by gravity, creating that round shape.

The study predicts that LISA will be able to detect eight black hole binaries in the Andromeda galaxy and 80 more in Virgo.

Shane L. Larson, is an author of the study and their study helps them understand what LISA can do before she gets ready to fly:

“We do our computer simulations and analysis at the same time our colleagues are bending metal and building spaceships so that when LISA finally flies, we’re all ready at the same time. This study is helping us understand what science is going to be contained in the LISA data.”

LISA is expected to get into space in 2034, but until then, you can read more on this study in the journal Physical Review Letters.


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