Article: Black hole kicks as new gravitational wave observables
Authors: Davide Gerosa, Christopher J. Moore
Reference: arXiv:1606.04226; Phys. Rev. Lett. 117, 011101 (2016)
On September 14 2015, something really huge happened in physics: the first direct detection of gravitational waves happened. But measuring a single gravitational wave was never the goal—.though freaking cool in and of itself of course! So what is the purpose of gravitational wave astronomy?
The idea is that gravitational waves can be used as another tool to learn more about our Universe and its components. Until the discovery of gravitational waves, observations in astrophysics and astronomy were limited to observations with telescopes and thus to electromagnetic radiation. Now a new era has started: the era of gravitational wave astronomy. And when the space-based eLISA observatory comes online, it will begin an era of gravitational wave cosmology. So what is it that we can learn from our universe from gravitational waves?
First of all, the first detection aka GW150914 was already super interesting:
It was the first observation of a binary black hole system (with unexpected masses!).
It put some strong constraints on the allowed deviations from Einstein’s theory of general relativity.
What is next? We hope ...