By precisely monitoring the "ticks" of Nature's most precise clocks (millisecond pulsars), scientists are trying to detect the "ripples in spacetime" (gravitational waves) produced by the inspirals of supermassive black holes in the centers of distant merging galaxies. Here, we describe a relatively simple demonstration that uses two metronomes and a microphone to illustrate several techniques used by pulsar astronomers to search for and detect gravitational waves. An adapted version of this demonstration could be used as an instructional laboratory investigation at the undergraduate level.
American Journal of Physics
- Pub Date:
- October 2018
- Physics - Physics Education;
- Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics;
- General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology
- 21 pages, 9 figures, submitted to the American Journal of Physics