The LISA Newsletter

The LISA International Science Community has just announced its LISC web portal. It will hopefully become the place for coordinating all LISA related resources, and, although it’s still much under construction, you’ll already find there the pretty neat first issue of the LISA Newsletter, which covers, in a very accessible way, a lot of interesting topics:

  • Introduction to Extreme-Mass-Ratio Inspirals. EMRIs (the capture of a stellar-mass body by a super-massive black hole) are one of the most important gravitational wave sources detectable in the frequency range (peaked at 3 mHz) covered by LISA. Here you’ll find a short and well-written introduction to their properties. If they capture your fancy, Eric Poisson‘s living review and this review article by Kostas Glampedakis are a good way of learning more. For non-experts, see also the less specialized presentations by Poisson.
  • Status Report on LISA Pathfinder. Pathfinder (the project i work on) was started in 2004 and aims at testing some of the technologies to be used in the real LISA experiment. The article is written by the mission’s principal investigator Stephano Vitale and (besides a good overview of our current efforts) contains nice pictures of some of the widgets that we plan to put up there by late 2009.
  • A Year of Breakthroughs in Numerical Relativity. This article gives an overview of the impressive progress last year in calculating waveforms of gravitational waves (see, e.g., Goddard’s black hole mergers). Knowing what kind of signals we are looking for will be extremely helpful in data-analysis activities once LISA is operational. Warm-up work in the latter area is also reviewed.

And there’s more! As i said, the newsletter is beautifully edited and aimed at non-specialists. Thus, it’s an excellent way of getting acquainted with the current status and prospects of our quest for these elusive waves.

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