Over the past few years, astronomers have reached a remarkable milestone: the discovery of gravitational waves, the disappearance of weak waves in space, and the timing of some of the worst events in the universe, including the collision between black holes and neutron stars. So far, more than 90 gravity waves of such events have appeared in only ~ 0.1 to 100 seconds. However, there may be other sources of gravity, and astronomers are still searching for continuous gravitational waves.

Continuous gravitational waves should be easy to spot because they are much longer than signals from a collision object. A possible source of constant waves is the neutron stars, the “carcasses” of the stars left in a massive explosion of giant stars. After the first explosion, the star folds itself in, breaking atoms into a tiny dense ball of particles called “neutrons” – hence the term “neutron star.” A continuous wave signal is related to how fast a neutron star rotates, so accurate measurements of frequency using regular telescopes can significantly improve the chance of detecting these mysterious waves.

In a recent study led by OzGrav Ph.D. student Shanika Galaudage of Monash University, scientists aimed to determine the spin frequencies of neutron stars to help detect continuous gravitational waves.

Potential sources of continuous gravitational waves
In this study, scientists hypothesized that endless gravitational waves indirectly cause matter to accumulate in the nucleus of a neutron star from a low-lying star – these binary systems of the neutron star and the companion star are called X-ray binaries (LMXB).

If a neutron star maintains a massive “mountain” of matter (even a few inches high!), It will produce continuous waves. The frequency of these waves is related to how fast a neutron star turns. The “mountain” becomes more extensive and impressive as you quickly comprehend the story. The systems that compile this matter very also rapidly shine with X-ray light. Light-emitting LMXBs are, therefore, a very promising target for continuous waves.

Scorpius X-1 (Sco X-1) and Cygnus X-1 (Cyg X-2) are two of the most prominent LMXB systems – Sco X-1 is ranked second in X-ray brightness compared to the Sun. . In addition to their extreme light, scientists know a lot about these two LMXB systems, which makes them ideal sources for continuous study. However, their spin frequencies are unknown.

“How we can determine how fast these neutron stars turn by looking for X-ray pulsations,” said study lead Shanika Galaudage. “X-ray radiation of neutron stars is like cosmic lamps. If we set the heart rate we will be able to quickly detect the frequency of the spin and get closer to getting a continuous gravitational-wave signal.”

“The SCO X-1 is one of the best prospects we have for making continuous gravitational detection, but it is a challenging data analysis task,” said OzGrav researcher and research co-author Karl Wette of the Australian National University. “Finding the spin frequency on X-ray data can be like lighting up the gravitational data: ‘here, this is where we should look.’

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Alice is the Chief Editor with relevant experience of three years, Alice has founded Galaxy Reporters. She has a keen interest in the field of science. She is the pillar behind the in-depth coverages of Science news. She has written several papers and high-level documentation.


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