Welcome to Gravity is Talking. Gravitational wave astronomy is still a fledgling observational science, and like all new branches of scientific exploration grows in bursts and non-linear jumps. This has particularly been the case over the past two years with the low-frequency gravitational wave community that had collected around the LISA mission concept.
A robust community grew around the joint NASA/ESA LISA mission concept, including astronomers, astrophysicists, general relativity theorists, data analysis experts, spacecraft designers, and experimental physicists; sometimes members of this community wear these different hats at the same time. Although that mission concept is no longer being pursued, the community has forged to ahead, examining the low-frequency gravitational wave science that can be done and the feasibility of new and creative mission concepts.
In Europe, those efforts have led to the creation of the eLISA consortium (http://elisa-ngo.org), which is currently working toward competing in Europe’s upcoming competition for the expected “L2” mission. In the United States efforts have focused on the Gravitational Wave Mission Concept Study, which fielded some 20 different mission concepts, studied several in extreme detail, and produced a final report summarizing the findings.
All the while, new and interesting astrophysical results have emerged that continue to support our basic premise here at Gravity is Talking: low-frequency gravitational wave astronomy will be an important tool for probing the Cosmos, supplementing what we can learn from traditional astronomical observations, as well as expanding the scope of our understanding by probing high-energy astrophysical systems in ways that have never been possible before.
Our primary interest here at Gravity is Talking is the low-frequency part of the gravitational wave spectrum, covered by space-based observatory concepts like the long-standing LISA concept. Here, we will feature the latest news about the evolution of mission concepts, both in Europe and the United States, as well as news from the broader scientific community that is engaged in research related to astrophysical sources, data analysis, and technology. We will also feature news, as it emerges, from our colleagues working on high-frequency ground-based efforts like LIGO and Virgo, as well as the pulsar-timing-array efforts around the world.
“We” are currently a small group of low-frequency gravitational wave scientists and astrophysicists. Our team, the principal instigators and contributors to this forum, includes Scott Hughes (MIT), Shane Larson (Utah State University), and Michele Vallisneri (JPL). Over time, we expect this cabal to grow, and welcome interest and inquiries.
In the meantime, if you have interesting information to share, or new scientific results that you would like to broadcast to our larger community, please contact us!