Using analogies with electromagnetic radiation, we present a calculation of the properties of gravitational radiation emitted by orbiting binary objects. The calculation produces results that have the same dependence on the masses of the orbiting objects, the orbital frequency, and the mass separation as do the results from the linear version of general relativity (GR). However, the calculation yields polarization, angular distributions, and overall power results that differ from those of GR. Nevertheless, the calculation produces waveforms that are very similar to those observed by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO-VIRGO) gravitational wave collaboration in 2015 up to the point at which the binary merger occurs. The details of the calculation should be understandable by upper-level physics students and physicists who are not experts in GR.
The American Journal of Physics – American Association of Physics Teachers
Published: Mar 29, 2018
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