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Journal Article

The missing link in gravitational-wave astronomy: discoveries waiting in the decihertz range


Tamanini,  Nicola
Astrophysical and Cosmological Relativity, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Sedda, M. A., Berry, C., Jani, K., Amaro-Seoane, P., Auclair, P., Baird, J., et al. (2020). The missing link in gravitational-wave astronomy: discoveries waiting in the decihertz range. Classical and Quantum Gravity, 37(21): 215011. doi:10.1088/1361-6382/abb5c1.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-1775-E
The gravitational-wave astronomical revolution began in 2015 with LIGO's observation of the coalescence of two stellar-mass black holes. Over the coming decades, ground-based detectors like LIGO will extend their reach, discovering thousands of stellar-mass binaries. In the 2030s, the space-based LISA will enable gravitational-wave observations of the massive black holes in galactic centres. Between LISA and ground-based observatories lies the unexplored decihertz gravitational-wave frequency band. Here, we propose a Decihertz Observatory to cover this band, and complement observations made by other gravitational-wave observatories. The decihertz band is uniquely suited to observation of intermediate-mass ($\sim 10^2-10^4$ M$_\odot$) black holes, which may form the missing link between stellar-mass and massive black holes, offering a unique opportunity to measure their properties. Decihertz observations will be able to detect stellar-mass binaries days to years before they merge and are observed by ground-based detectors, providing early warning of nearby binary neutron star mergers, and enabling measurements of the eccentricity of binary black holes, providing revealing insights into their formation. Observing decihertz gravitational-waves also opens the possibility of testing fundamental physics in a new laboratory, permitting unique tests of general relativity and the Standard Model of particle physics. Overall, a Decihertz Observatory will answer key questions about how black holes form and evolve across cosmic time, open new avenues for multimessenger astronomy, and advance our understanding of gravitation, particle physics and cosmology.