Attention US researchers! The NASA LISA Study Team is requesting your input regarding the future use of data from the LISA gravitational wave observatory. Even if your research area is not directly related to gravitational waves, we welcome your feedback to gauge the needs and interests of the broad US astronomical research community. This 16 question survey should take 5 or 10 minutes to complete. We welcome your input by Friday, January 10, 2020.
LISA has successfully completed the Mission Consolidation Review (MCR), a review conducted by the European Space Agency (ESA) to assess progress at the middle of Phase A. The review team examined the current state of the mission design, payload developments, and programatic planning at this early stage in the mission formulation process. NASA supported ESA in this review by providing inputs on NASA technology development activities as well as subject matter experts who assisted in reviewing materials. The LISA team will now focus on the activities for the remainder of mission Phase A.
The NASA LISA Study Team welcomes seven new members to it's ranks! For information about the current NLST membership and alumni who have stepped down, please consult the Study Team Roster.
NASA welcomes nominations, including self-nominations, for new members of the NASA LISA Study Team (deadline: October 11, 2019). We particularly encourage people of diverse backgrounds, skills, career stages, and viewpoints to apply. See the full text of the call and application instructions for more information.
Astronomers using the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) have announced the discovery of ZTFJ1539+5027, a pair of white dwarfs that orbit one another roughly every seven minutes. This system will be a strong LISA source, detecable after roughly one week of observing and with a total signal-to-noise ratio of nearly 200 in a four-year LISA mission.
The first results from the Laser Ranging Instrument (LRI) on the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow On (GRACE-FO) mission were published in Physical Review Letters on July 19th, 2019. The GRACE-FO mission maps the Earth's gravity field by precisely tracking the relative positions of a pair of spacecraft that orbit the Earth. The LRI makes these measurements using heterodyne laser interferometry, the same technique that will be used for LISA. These first results from LRI demonstrate nanometer-level precision over the 220km range between the GRACE-FO satellites.
The Event Horizon Telescope project, an international effort to link radio telescopes across Earth to build a planet-sized telescope with superb angular resolution has made the first image of a black hole. The image is of gas surrounding a black hole of nearly six billion solar masses in the galaxy M87. LISA will measure the mergers of massive black holes which are the ancestors of these supermassive black holes.
O3, the third observing run of the advanced ground-based gravitational wave detectors has begun after the LIGO and Virgo teams have spent over a year upgrading their instruments to improved sensitivities. O3 is expected to last for a full year with increased event rates. O3 will also feature low-latency, public alerts which will enable follow-up of gravitational wave events by a variety of astronomical facilities.
The LIGO Scientific Collaboration has released the results from their first two observing runs which includes four new black hole mergers in addition to the six previously-announced black hole mergers and the one neutron star merger. Details can be found on LIGO's O1/O2 catalog page.
The first data set for the LISA Data Challenge has been released by the LISA Consortium. If you'd like to try your hand at extracting gravitational wave sources from simulated LISA data, you can download tools and data at the Data Challenge Website. The deadline for entries to this first challenge will be near the end of 2018.