AAS 199th meeting, Washington, DC, January 2002
Session 114. HEAD II: Gravitational Wave and High Energy Astrophysics
Special Session Oral, Wednesday, January 9, 2002, 2:00-3:30pm, International Ballroom Center

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[114.04] Mapping black hole spacetimes with gravitational waves

S. Hughes (ITP, UC Santa Barbara)

The space-based gravitational-wave detector LISA will be sensitive to the radiation generated when a stellar mass object spirals into a massive (105 - 106 Msun) black hole. These waves are generated as the small body orbits 105 - 106 times in the black hole's very strong field, near its event horizon. Measuring these waves will make possible precise determinations of the hole's properties, probing the influence of the hole's event horizon and testing how accurately it is described by the Kerr metric. In this talk, I will review the rate at which these ``extreme mass ratio inspirals'' are likely to occur, and outline how these measurements are made. I will discuss what work has been done to date to make these measurements possible, and what challenges lie ahead.

This work is supported by NSF Grant PHY-9907949 at the ITP.

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