March 20, 2016

Astro-GR@Barcelona 2009: From Astrophysics to Fundamental Physics



from the merger of compact objects by supermassive black holes. Organised by Pau Amaro-Seoane, Priscilla Cañizares, Carlos F. Sopuerta, Alberto Lobo and Bernard F. Schutz.

The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) is the future ESA-NASA Gravitational Wave Observatory. It will look for GW signals in the low-frequency band (0.1 mHz – 1 Hz), mainly from the following sources: galactic binaries, the coalescence and merger of massive black holes in galaxies at cosmological distances, the capture and inspiral of stellar compact objects into massive black holes at galactic centers and even from cosmological stochastic backgrounds.

These observations promise to open a completely new window to the exploration of the Universe, which is expected will have important consequences for our knowledge in astrophysics, cosmology, and fundamental physics. This edition of the Astro-GR meetings will focus again (like the first meeting in the series) on the third source above, (iii), which due to the mass ratio of these binaries they are commonly known as Extreme-Mass-Ratio Inspirals (EMRIs). Considering the possible existence of intermediate-mass black holes, an additional source of gravitational waves for LISA will the inspiral of stellar-mass compact objects into an IMBH or the inspiral of an IMBH into a MBH. These sources, again due to the mass ratio of the binaries, are known as an intermediate-mass ratio inspirals (IMRIs).

These are one of the main sources of gravitational waves expected for LISA and their observations will produce spectacular science. In particular, with EMRI observations we will be able to map isolated black holes with high precision, obtaining very accurate values of their mass, spin, and some gravitational multipoles that will allow us to verify whether they are the stationary solutions predicted by General Relativity and described by the Kerr metric.

We can also try to use these sources to test General Relativity and alternative theories of gravity. In addition, LISA will provide information from hundreds (or even more) of massive black holes from the low redshift Universe (z < 1). This information should allow us to get information of the history of these black holes and from here we could test models of galaxy formation. Moreover, given that LISA will measure precise luminosity distances to these EMRIs, there is the possibility of doing precision cosmology with these sources (correlating the information with galaxy catalogs as has been proposed recently). The meeting will focus on the following topics:

  1. Astrophysical mechanisms that produce EMRI-LISA events
  2. Astrophysical mechanisms that can produce Intermediate-Mass-Ratio Inspirals (IMRIs)
  3. Modelling of EMRI-IMRI waveforms
  4. Data Analysis for EMRI-LISA sources
  5. Cosmology and Fundamental Physics with EMRI-IMRI observations


Pau Amaro-Seoane, Theocharis Apostolatos, Gerard Auger, Stas Babak, Leor Barack, Matt Benacquista, Tamara Bogdanovic, Jeandrew Brink, Chris van den Broeck, Priscilla Cañizares, Roberto Capuzzo, Monica Colpi, Neil Cornish, Nicolas Douillet, Steve Drasco, Emili Elizalde, Marc Favata, Guillaume Faye, Valeria Ferrari, Jonathan Gair, Leonardo Gualtieri, Mark Hannam, Sascha Husa, Jose Luis, Oliver Jennrich, Philippe Jetzter, Antoine Klein, Badri Krishnan, Yuri Levin, Alberto Lobo, Ilya Mandel, Frank Ohme, Eric Plagnol, Antoine Petiteau, Eduardo Portero, Miguel Preto, Constanze Rödig, Lucia Santamaria, Misao Sasaki, Bangalore Sathyaprakash, Rainer Schödel, Bernard Schutz, Deirdre Shoemaker, Alicia Sintes, Carlos Sopuerta, Alessandro Spallicci, Ulrich Sperhake, Miquel Trias, Michele Vallisneri, Shang Yu, Nico Yunes


Addressed and worked out partially in the satellite sessions. Download here.


Carlos F. Sopuerta, Bernard F. Schutz and Pau Amaro-Seoane: “What is all this about? A Howto to the meeting”
Pau Amaro-Seoane: “Astrophysics of EMRIs and their event rate for dummies” (slides)
Eduardo Portero (aka Ed Porter): “Detecting Gravitational Wave signals with LISA” (slides)
Leor Barack: “Finite-mass correction to the ISCO of a Schwarzschild black hole” (slides)
Neil Cornish: “Detecting EMRI signals with LISA” (slides)
Michele Vallisneri: “Introduction to parameter estimation for GW sources” (slides)
Oliver Jennrich: “Status of the technology for LISA” (slides)
Theocharis Apostolatos: “A method to discern a Kerr metric from other kind of metrics through GWs from EMRIs” (slides)
Rainer Schödel: “Stars, stellar and intermediate mass black holes near Sagittarius A*” (slides)
S. B. Sathyaprakash: “Fundamental physics and cosmology with supermassive black holes” (slides)
Nico Yunes: “Post-Newtonian modeling of EMRIs and IMRIs” (slides)
Miquel Trias: “Delayed rejection schemes for efficient Markov-Chain Monte-Carlo sampling of multimodal distributions” (slides)
Pau Amaro-Seoane: “IMBHs and clusters: Sources of GWs” (slides)
Tamara Bogdanovic: “Search for SMBH binaries: Understanding observational evidence” (slides)
Matt Benacquista: “Galactic compact object binary contributions to the foreground signal” (slides)
Antoine Klein: “Measuring SMBH mergers with LISA: the importance of the waveform accuracy” (slides)
Constanze Rödig: “Multiwavelength periodicity study of Markarian 501” (slides)
Ulrich Sperhake: “Numerical simulations of BH binaries as sources of GWs” (slides)
Monica Colpi: “Binary black holes in gaseous nuclear discs: linking spin and accretion to dynamics” (slides)
Carlos Sopuerta: “Testing a class of alternative theories of gravity with LISA” (slides)
Antoine Petiteau: “Detecting spinning BH binaries with LISA” (slides)
Guillaume Faye: “Spin of inspiraling compact binaries” (slides)
Jon Gair: “Testing Fundamental Physics using LISA EMRI observations” (slides)
Satellite A: “Conclusions A” (slides)
Satellite B: “Conclusions B” (slides)