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Gravitational waves from coalescing neutron stars encode information about nuclear matter at extreme densities, inaccessible by laboratory experiments. The late inspiral is influenced by the presence of tides, which depend on the neutron star equation of state. Neutron star mergers are expected to often produce rapidly rotating remnant neutron stars that emit gravitational waves. These will provide clues to the extremely hot post-merger environment. This signature of nuclear matter in gravitational waves contains most information in the 2–4 kHz frequency band, which is outside of the most sensitive band of current detectors. We present the design concept and science case for a Neutron Star Extreme Matter Observatory (NEMO): a gravitational-wave interferometer optimised to study nuclear physics with merging neutron stars. The concept uses high-circulating laser power, quantum squeezing, and a detector topology specifically designed to achieve the high-frequency sensitivity necessary to probe nuclear matter using gravitational waves. Above 1 kHz, the proposed strain sensitivity is comparable to full third-generation detectors at a fraction of the cost. Such sensitivity changes expected event rates for detection of post-merger remnants from approximately one per few decades with two A+ detectors to a few per year and potentially allow for the first gravitational-wave observations of supernovae, isolated neutron stars, and other exotica.
The first observations by a worldwide network of advanced interferometric gravitational wave detectors offer a unique opportunity for the astronomical community. At design sensitivity, these facilities will be able to detect coalescing binary neutron stars to distances approaching 400 Mpc, and neutron star–black hole systems to 1 Gpc. Both of these sources are associated with gamma-ray bursts which are known to emit across the entire electromagnetic spectrum. Gravitational wave detections provide the opportunity for ‘multi-messenger’ observations, combining gravitational wave with electromagnetic, cosmic ray, or neutrino observations. This review provides an overview of how Australian astronomical facilities and collaborations with the gravitational wave community can contribute to this new era of discovery, via contemporaneous follow-up observations from the radio to the optical and high energy. We discuss some of the frontier discoveries that will be made possible when this new window to the Universe is opened.
Formulating a dust-filled spherically symmetric metric utilizing the 3 + 1 formalism for general relativity, we show that the metric coefficients are completely determined by the matter distribution throughout the spacetime. Furthermore, the metric describes both inhomogeneous dust regions and also vacuum regions in a single coordinate patch, thus alleviating the need for complicated matching schemes at the interfaces. In this way, the system is established as an initial boundary value problem, which has many benefits for its numerical evolution. We show the dust part of the metric is equivalent to the class of Lemaitre-Tolman-Bondi (LTB) metrics under a coordinate transformation. In this coordinate system, shell crossing singularities (SCS) are exhibited as fluid shock waves, and we therefore discuss possibilities for the dynamical extension of shell crossings through the initial point of formation by borrowing methods from classical fluid dynamics. This paper fills a void in the present literature associated with these collapse models by fully developing the formalism in great detail. Furthermore, the applications provide examples of the benefits of the present model.
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