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Deyan Mihaylov (CWRU)

Date: Tue. September 5th, 2023, 11:30 am-12:30 pm
Location: Rockefeller 221, Foldy Room

Gravitational waves with astrometry in the Gaia era
Gravitational waves have a periodic effect on the apparent positions of stars on the sky. This effect can be quantified and ultra-precise astrometric measurements (like the ones from Gaia) can be used as a new method to search for gravitational signals. I will describe the principles which give rise to the astrometric signature of gravitational waves, and examine this result in the context of Einsteinian and alternative polarization states. I will discuss some of the data analysis challenges that will have to be overcome when trying to search for GWs in the extremely large (>10^9 stars) Gaia data set, and will present some preliminary estimates of the sensitivity that may be achievable. I will also describe the significance of astrometric measurements for probing stochastic GW backgrounds, and derive the relevant response correlation functions for all polarization modes. I will also present a method for constraining the speed of gravity from these correlation curves, and suggest possible future avenues for exploration. Throughout, I will keep a parallel between our work and analogous results from the PTA community.
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