RSAA Colloquia / Seminars / Feast-of-Facts: Tuesday, 08 March 2016, 11:00-12:00; Duffield Lecture Theatre

Dick Manchester

"Pulsars and Gravity"

Pulsars are great probes for exploring theories of gravitation and detection of gravitational waves. Observations of binary pulsar systems, particularly the Double Pulsar system, have provided the most stringent tests of relativistic gravity in strong-field situations, confirming the accuracy of EinsteinĀ¹s general theory of relativity. Pulsar Timing Arrays (PTAs) have as a main aim the detection and study of nanohertz gravitational waves (GWs). With the exciting detection of audio-frequency GWs by the LIGO-Virgo team, the challenge for PTAs now is to complement this detection at nanohertz frequencies. Current limits on the background level of nanohertz GWs are significantly constraining models for the evolution of supermassive black holes in the cores of distant galaxies. Future developments , including progress on the International PTA and planned new instruments will be discussed.