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Astronomers spot never-before-seen gravitational wave source from binary white dwarf stars

Dec 20, 2019
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I pay less attention to your otherwise decent articles because of your Click Bait titles. Please tone it down. The info is interesting in its own right. It is important to have this binary as a calibrator for LISA but your title implies the waves are already discovered gravitationally. Bad dog!
 
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Jan 4, 2020
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This is a matter of personal opinion, in a context of that titles aim to be click baits. In my eyes the title is descriptive of the article, so I'm happy with that. It would be even better if the title was neutral, of course, but it's a readers market. So like JPL-ACE, I vote with my feet - the articles appears in my feed, I can browse titles and source, and try to assess real click value.

I look forward to an AI pre-reader app, that tries to weed the chaff to my liking, but at the same time balance the unavoidable bias market pressures puts on web browsers and their search mechanisms based on my previous reading. I would want to switch between a narrow "nerd" and a neutral "news" mode. Even better, the app would do it for me at some preset ratio of my choosing (unless I override).
 
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Mar 19, 2020
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"Astronomers spot never-before-seen gravitational wave source from binary white dwarf stars"

Actually the title is completely accurate, and very interesting. Few (if any) with significant knowledge of gravitational waves (GWs) would find this article to be click bait. Most would find it to be very interesting. If it is bait, it is fishing for some major data!

The title clearly states that the binary is a "source", but does not indicate that the system produces currently detectable GWs, which is also clearly noted in the article. All astronomical systems with mass produce GWs. According to the link below, our solar system puts out 5000 watts in GWs, trace levels to be sure. Nothing in the title suggests they have measured waves from these dwarfs, merely that they are a "source" (which they certainly are!).

I was in fact surprised to see that such small orbiting objects would produce detectable GWs. Then realized that they could not be observed using LIGO. My reading in the past is that GWs have only been seen in mergers of large black holes and neutron stars, where massive objects rapidly accelerate at the moment of merging to create powerful GWs. Our observations of GWs from these events is limited to the low sensitivity of the LIGO instruments, and distance and masses to the merging objects.

In order for the white dwarf star binary to be emitting significant, detectable levels of GWs, the orbit must be decaying (as noted) and therefore the dwarf stars are accelerating more and more rapidly, thereby generating ever stronger GWs. The point of the article is the binary may be a source for GWs that more advanced instruments could detect and measure, without requiring a merger. Such a quasi-stable GW source is likely to be of significant observational value. But you need to find such a binary first, and now they have. Nothing in the title suggests they detected GWs, only that the dwarfs' would be a source for future study (with more sensitive instruments like LISA).

There is another binary, a neutron binary, which actually was the first to demonstrate, although less directly than LIGO, GWs from two orbiting neutron stars. At least the Nobel Committee was impressed by this discovery (whatever that is worth):


The present observation makes the discovery (or title) of two close and rapidly orbiting dwarf stars significantly more than click bait.
 
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Apr 6, 2020
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Nope it is definitely clickbait. The article title says they spot the gravitational waves source from the binary. Quite different from spotting a potential gravitational wave source that is a binary. And I'm familiar with gravitational waves as I do have a MS in physics.
 
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Mar 19, 2020
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The title refers to a source for GWs. The binary dwarf stars do not have "potential" to create GWs. They WILL create GWs. (To clarify - there is no option B.)

One needs a sensitive enough instrument to detect them. They are emitting these GWs as I write this!

How could this be more obvious?
 
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Mar 19, 2020
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An interesting note on the energy from gravitational wave sources:

GW150914, a merger of two black holes of about 30 SMs each, spit out intense GWs during merger, losing ca. 3 SMs with a peak power output of 3.6 × 10^49 watts. This is claimed to be "more than the combined power of all light radiated by all the stars in the observable universe put together."


That compares with 5 x 10^3 watts for GWs from our solar system. A tad more to be sure!
 
Apr 6, 2020
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Perhaps you need to go back to school. The title refers to a source for GWs. The binary dwarf stars do not have "potential" to create GWs. They WILL create GWs. (To clarify - there is no option B.)

One needs a sensitive enough instrument to detect them. They are emitting these GWs as I write this!

How could this be more obvious?
"Spotting" a gravitational source did not occur if the detector isn't capable/didn't detect it, which was the point of the article. You assume LIGO and such can detect GW that feeble.
 
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Mar 19, 2020
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I specifically said that LIGO could not detect them*, but that a more sensitive instrument would be needed. ::: Directly from your above repeat of my post - "One needs a sensitive enough instrument to detect them. "

* And from my post of Monday @1:31 pm

"I was in fact surprised to see that such small orbiting objects would produce detectable GWs. Then realized that they could not be observed using LIGO. "

So "Spotting" a gravitational source" is not the same as getting the GW signal. The source is certainly generating GWs - the title merely noted a source. Which of course it is. And there is still no option B, and never will be.
 
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Mar 19, 2020
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Hopefully, to close out this "controversy", one should read the entire article and note the definitive comments relating to its content. That this pair of dwarfs are currently emitting GWs is best spelled out by Warren Brown, Ph.D. (Harvard University, lead investigator for these observations) in the closing statement of this article:

"This binary won't be a binary forever, though, as a consequence of the very gravitational waves the scientists hope to someday detect. "The orbit of this pair of objects is decaying," Brown said. "The gravitational waves that are being emitted are causing the pair to lose energy; in six or seven million years they will merge into a single, more massive white dwarf.""

I have to believe that a Ph.D. in Astrophysics from Harvard likely has his act together on GWs, and their sources.
 
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Apr 6, 2020
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I specifically said that LIGO could not detect them*, but that a more sensitive instrument would be needed. ::: Directly from your above repeat of my post - "One needs a sensitive enough instrument to detect them. "

* And from my post of Monday @1:31 pm

"I was in fact surprised to see that such small orbiting objects would produce detectable GWs. Then realized that they could not be observed using LIGO. "

So "Spotting" a gravitational source" is not the same as getting the GW signal. The source is certainly generating GWs - the title merely noted a source. Which of course it is. And there is still no option B, and never will be.
The only way to spot a GW source is via LIGO, hence it was clickbait as noted by the original poster who recognized it as such. Try not to be so insulting, it is a minor misinterpretation on your part, not a big deal.
 
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Actually, the only current way to detect GWs is with LIGO. Let's not forget about future projects, which is the focus of the story:

"The instrument, LISA (the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna) gravitational wave observatory, will use the J2322+0509 system to essentially train with. Because they already know they exist, it's a good test to make sure the instrument can correctly spot it. "

And clickbait is defined as "false advertisement". I had to look it up to be sure, eliminating such articles from the definition, assuming you are into accurate interpretations. I have read many articles on this site and have never heard anyone use such a term for them, nor have I ever thought of any that way.

Sorry for the attitude problem. It goes way back to grad school and lots of wrong people. Hard to get over. Being wrong is the worst fate for any scientist. Fortunately my dissertation was right, as I figured out what those screwballs at Cornell had gotten wrong.
 
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