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Gravitational radiation from freely-falling bodies

Naturevolume 266pages609610 (1977) | Download Citation



THE problem of determining the gravitational radiation from freely-falling bodies is almost as old as general relativity itself. Investigators have deduced an energy loss, an energy gain and no radiation at all1. Although Eddington2 foresaw the difficulties a half century ago, many now believe that the Einstein quadrupole formula correctly describes the rate of energy loss3. Cooperstock initiated a new approach to the problem by considering two bodies in an initially static configuration by virtue of an intervening strut4. The strut was severed and the dynamical perturbation to the gravitational field was analysed. During the stress-breaking period, the radiated energy loss agreed with the quadrupole formula. During free fall, however, the model with two point masses proved inadequate and an interior metric was required. Even then, there were indications of a breakdown of the quadrupole formula and a much larger energy flux. A model of realistic sources has now been constructed and the previous indications have been realised. The free-fall energy loss rate exceeds that which would be anticipated by the quadrupole formula by a factor of (α/ρ0)4, where ρ0 is the characteristic size of the bodies and 2α is their separation.

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  1. 1

    Bonnor, W. B. Br. J. appl. Phys. 14, 555 (1963).

  2. 2

    Eddington, A. S. The Mathematical Theory of Relativity, 251 (Cambridge University, 1965).

  3. 3

    Infeld, L. & Michalska-Trautman, R. Ann. Phys. 55, 561 (1969) 55, 576 (1969).

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    Cooperstock, F. I. Phys. Rev. D10, 3171 (1974); Gen. Rel. Grav. 6, 91 (1975).

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    Synge, J. L. Relativity: The General Theory, Ch. VIII (North-Holland, Amsterdam, 1960).

  6. 6

    Cooperstock, F. I. & Lim, P. H. Phys. Rev. D15 (in the press).

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  1. Department of Physics, University of Victoria, Victoria, B.C., Canada, V8W 2Y2

    •  & P. H. LIM


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