AAS 205th Meeting, 9-13 January 2005
Session 149 Gravitational Wave Astronomy
Poster, Thursday, January 13, 2005, 9:20am-4:00pm, Exhibit Hall

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[149.03] LISA, Little Stars, and Big Black Holes: Improving extreme mass ratio inspiral estimates

S. L. Larson (CGWP, Penn State)

An important prospective source of gravitational waves for the forthcoming LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna) mission will be the capture and subsequent inspiral of compact stellar mass objects (black holes, neutron stars, white dwarfs, even stars in some cases) into supermassive black holes in galactic nuclei. These sources are called "extreme mass ratio inspirals" (EMRIs). Current simulations aimed at predicting the expected LISA event rate for these sources are based on models of the EMRI rates for the Milky Way, and are designed around simplifying assumptions which make calculating the gravitational wave emission computationally tractable. The work presented here seeks to provide improved inputs for these simulations in two ways: first by developing new models of the possible distribution of stellar mass objects calibrated to observations of the stars near Sgr A*, and secondly by developing new computational tools which can be quickly executed in simulation codes but account for the presence of a supermassive black hole in the calculation of the gravitational wave emission.

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© 2004. The American Astronomical Society.