LISA Pathfinder, LISA and the dawn of the Universe

23 novembre 2016
23 November - at 14.30
Dipartimento di Fisica, Segreteria
via Sommarive, 14 - 38123 Povo (Trento)
+39 0461 281504 - 1575 - 2042 - 1545
+39 0461 281696

Venue: Room A205 - Polo Scientifico e Tecnologico Fabio Ferrari –  Povo 1

At: 14.30

  • Prof. Stefano Vitale

Both Europe and the USA have been putting a large effort, over the years, into the development of the spaceborne gravitational wave observatory known as LISA. In particular the European Space Agency (ESA) has decided to devote to such an observatory the third large mission of its current planning. In addition, in December 2015, ESA has launched a precursor mission, LISA Pathfinder, to demonstrate the feasibility of high accuracy free-fall of test-particles, which is at the basis of any gravitational-wave observatory and of any gravitational mission at large.
LISA will inaugurate gravitational wave astronomy in the milli-Hertz range, which is not accessible from ground. This frequency range includes the most powerful and abundant sources of gravitational waves one can predict. For instance, binaries of super-massive black-holes, formed during galaxy collisions, will be detectable with signal-to-noise ratio >100, out to a redshift >20, i.e. near the down of the Universe.
The talk will review the concept and the science potential of such a high accuracy, deep-Universe observatory. In addition it will report on the results of the successful flight of LISA Pathfinder, which has demonstrated the free-fall of test-particles with accuracy several orders of magnitudes better than anything previous achieved. Finally the talk will briefly illustrate the development of the final observatory, which has lately undergone a significant acceleration as a consequence of LISA Pathfinder success.