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News Picks : Paired pulsars provide indirect evidence of gravitational waves

By: Physics Today
23 December 2015

Science News: The first, and so far only, gravitationally bound pair of pulsars was found in 2003. For the past 10 years, Michael Kramer of the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, and his colleagues have been observing the pair and tracking the deterioration of the stars' orbits. According to general relativity, as the massive stars orbit each other, they create gravitational waves—wakes in spacetime. As the stars pass through each other's wakes, they lose momentum, causing them to slowly spiral toward each other. According to Kramer's team, the loss of energy that the two pulsars have experienced closely matches the loss predicted by general relativity.


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