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Living Rev Relativ. 2013;16(1):7. doi: 10.12942/lrr-2013-7. Epub 2013 Sep 12.

Testing General Relativity with Low-Frequency, Space-Based Gravitational-Wave Detectors.

Author information

1
Institute of Astronomy, Madingley Road, Cambridge, CB3 0HA UK.
2
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91109 USA.
3
Center for Interdisclipinary Research and Exploration in Astrophysics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208 USA.
4
Gravitational Astrophysics Lab, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, 8800 Greenbelt Rd., Greenbelt, MD 20771 USA.

Abstract

We review the tests of general relativity that will become possible with space-based gravitational-wave detectors operating in the ∼ 10-5 - 1 Hz low-frequency band. The fundamental aspects of gravitation that can be tested include the presence of additional gravitational fields other than the metric; the number and tensorial nature of gravitational-wave polarization states; the velocity of propagation of gravitational waves; the binding energy and gravitational-wave radiation of binaries, and therefore the time evolution of binary inspirals; the strength and shape of the waves emitted from binary mergers and ringdowns; the true nature of astrophysical black holes; and much more. The strength of this science alone calls for the swift implementation of a space-based detector; the remarkable richness of astrophysics, astronomy, and cosmology in the low-frequency gravitational-wave band make the case even stronger.

KEYWORDS:

LISA; black holes; data analysis; eLISA; general relativity; gravitation; gravitational waves

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