(ORDO NEWS) — American astrophysicists have determined the exact location of the center of gravity of the solar system, to which all measurements of gravitational waves are attached, according to which scientists record the presence of black holes. The results are published in The Astrophysical Journal.
Gravitational waves are space-time pulsations predicted by Einstein’s general theory of relativity. When black holes rotate in pairs, they emit gravitational waves that deform space-time, stretching and compressing it. For the first time, gravitational waves were detected using the LIGO laser interferometric gravitational-wave observatory in 2015.
US astronomers from the NANOGrav project are looking for gravitational waves by observing regular bursts of radio waves from millisecond pulsars – rapidly rotating neutron stars. Data from 15 years of observation showed that pulsars are extremely stable in the frequency of arrival of pulses, and can be considered not only as interstellar beacons, but also as a galactic clock. Any temporary deviations in the pulses of pulsars, according to scientists, signal the influence of gravitational waves, distorting our Galaxy.
However, scientists found that the existing gravitational models of the solar system are not suitable for analyzing NANOGrav data, since they regularly give conflicting results.
“It would seem that the more data, the more accurate the result should be. But we always got big systematic differences in our calculations,” the words of the lead author of the article, Michele Vallisneri, an astronomer from the Jet Laboratory, are quoted in a press release from Vanderbilt University NASA Movement (JPL).
“The bottom line is that errors in masses and orbits are converted into pulsar synchronization artifacts that may very well look like gravitational waves,” explains JPL astronomer and study co-author Joe Simon.
Then the researchers decided to independently calculate the location of the barycenter – the center of gravity of the solar system, the place where the masses of the sun itself, all the planets, moons and asteroids are balanced.
It turned out that it is not in the center of the Sun, as one might assume, but closer to the surface of the star. This is due to the large mass of Jupiter and insufficient consideration in the models of its orbit. The NANOGrav project has been collecting data for 15 years.
Jupiter makes a complete revolution around the Sun in 12 years.
By making adjustments to the model, the researchers obtained the center of gravity of the solar system with an accuracy of 100 meters. According to the authors, this is comparable to the thickness of a human hair on a football field.
Scientists hope that now they can more accurately capture gravitational waves from pulsars and discover many new black holes, as well as form a more accurate picture of the shape of our Galaxy.
“Now we are localized in space to observe pulsars scattered across the galaxy, much better than before,” said research leader Stephen Taylor, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Vanderbilt University and former JPL astronomer. – Using pulsars, we look like on a spider sitting in silence in the center of the web and
catching the slightest of her movements. Knowing where the barycenter of the solar system is located, we can feel even the slightest “tingling” in the network.”
The NANOGrav project is ongoing, and scientists are confident that unknown massive black holes will soon unambiguously be found in the new data.
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