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MICROSCOPE Mission: First Results of a Space Test of the Equivalence Principle

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Physical Review Letters

American Physical Society (APS)

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      Observation of Gravitational Waves from a Binary Black Hole Merger

      On September 14, 2015 at 09:50:45 UTC the two detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory simultaneously observed a transient gravitational-wave signal. The signal sweeps upwards in frequency from 35 to 250 Hz with a peak gravitational-wave strain of \(1.0 \times 10^{-21}\). It matches the waveform predicted by general relativity for the inspiral and merger of a pair of black holes and the ringdown of the resulting single black hole. The signal was observed with a matched-filter signal-to-noise ratio of 24 and a false alarm rate estimated to be less than 1 event per 203 000 years, equivalent to a significance greater than 5.1 {\sigma}. The source lies at a luminosity distance of \(410^{+160}_{-180}\) Mpc corresponding to a redshift \(z = 0.09^{+0.03}_{-0.04}\). In the source frame, the initial black hole masses are \(36^{+5}_{-4} M_\odot\) and \(29^{+4}_{-4} M_\odot\), and the final black hole mass is \(62^{+4}_{-4} M_\odot\), with \(3.0^{+0.5}_{-0.5} M_\odot c^2\) radiated in gravitational waves. All uncertainties define 90% credible intervals.These observations demonstrate the existence of binary stellar-mass black hole systems. This is the first direct detection of gravitational waves and the first observation of a binary black hole merger.
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        The Confrontation between General Relativity and Experiment

        The status of experimental tests of general relativity and of theoretical frameworks for analyzing them is reviewed and updated. Einstein’s equivalence principle (EEP) is well supported by experiments such as the Eötvös experiment, tests of local Lorentz invariance and clock experiments. Ongoing tests of EEP and of the inverse square law are searching for new interactions arising from unification or quantum gravity. Tests of general relativity at the post-Newtonian level have reached high precision, including the light deflection, the Shapiro time delay, the perihelion advance of Mercury, the Nordtvedt effect in lunar motion, and frame-dragging. Gravitational wave damping has been detected in an amount that agrees with general relativity to better than half a percent using the Hulse-Taylor binary pulsar, and a growing family of other binary pulsar systems is yielding new tests, especially of strong-field effects. Current and future tests of relativity will center on strong gravity and gravitational waves.
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          Chameleon Fields: Awaiting Surprises for Tests of Gravity in Space

          We present a novel scenario where a scalar field acquires a mass which depends on the local matter density: the field is massive on Earth, where the density is high, but is essentially free in the solar system, where the density is low. All existing tests of gravity are satisfied. We predict that near-future satellite experiments could measure an effective Newton's constant in space different than that on Earth, as well as violations of the equivalence principle stronger than currently allowed by laboratory experiments.
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            Author and article information

            Journal
            PRLTAO
            Physical Review Letters
            Phys. Rev. Lett.
            American Physical Society (APS)
            0031-9007
            1079-7114
            December 2017
            December 4 2017
            : 119
            : 23
            10.1103/PhysRevLett.119.231101
            © 2017

            https://link.aps.org/licenses/aps-default-license

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