DDA 33rd Meeting, Mt. Hood, OR, April 2002
Session 13. Missions, etc.
Wednesday, April 24, 2002, 8:00-9:50am

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[13.01 I] Dynamical Astronomy with LISA

P. L. Bender (JILA. Univ. of Colorado)

The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) is a gravitational wave mission that is being planned jointly by ESA and NASA for launch about 2010-2011. Laser heterodyne measurements will be made between carefully shielded test masses inside a triangular array of spacecraft separated by 5 million km distances. The spurious acceleration level for each test mass is planned to be less than 3 femtometers per second squared per root Hz from 0.1 to 3 millihertz, and may be within a factor 5 of this value down to 3 microhertz. Proceedures developed by Armstrong, Estabrook and Tinto will be used to remove the effects of laser phase noise on the desired gravitational wave observables.

Three particular areas of dynamical studies to which LISA is expected to make unique and important contributions will be discussed. All three involve massive black holes at cosmological distances. One is the formation of intermediate mass seed black holes from which the massive and supermassive black holes observed in galactic nuclei grew. Several different types of formation scenarios involving collisional or gas dynamics have been proposed. A second area is the dynamical evolution of compact object populations in the cusps around massive black holes. The third area is the development of pregalactic and galactic structures. In this case, massive black holes pre-existing in merging structures may coalesce, and provide tracers of the structure formation process.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34, #3
© 2002. The American Astronomical Society.