Session: Data Analysis and Multi-Messenger Astronomy Workshop (February 24, 2010)  

Title: Tuning up for Gravitational Wave Detection in Accreting Neutron Stars

  Speaker: Duncan Galloway    

Rapidly-rotating neutron stars are the only candidates for persistent gravitational wave emission, for which a targeted search can be performed based on the spin period measured from electromagnetic (e.g. radio and X-ray) observations. Apart from the expected weakness of the emission, the principal difficulty for such searches is the lack of precision in measurements of the spin as well as the other physical parameters of the system. I present a pilot program of optical and infra-red observations of the stellar counterparts to X-ray bright accreting neutron stars, in order to measure (or improve the precision of) the binary parameters. These measurements will allow optimisation of future gravitational wave searches, and will also facilitate searches of the extensive X-ray timing data from NASA's Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer, to measure the spin frequency (for those systems where it is not precisely known). Observations such as these will provide the best possible chance for detecting the gravitational wave emission from these systems.

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