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Relativity, Gravitation and CosmologyA Basic Introduction$
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Ta-Pei Cheng

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199573639

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199573639.001.0001

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Linearized theory and gravitational waves

Linearized theory and gravitational waves

(p.337) 15 Linearized theory and gravitational waves
Relativity, Gravitation and Cosmology

Ta-Pei Cheng

Oxford University Press

In the weak-field limit Einstein's equation can be linearized and it takes on form of the familiar wave equation. Gravitational waves may be viewed as ripples of curvature propagating in a background of flat spacetime. The strategy of detecting such tidal forces by a gravitational wave interferometer is outlined. The rate of energy loss due to the quadrupole radiation by a circulating binary system is calculated, and found in excellent agreement with the observed orbit decay rate of the Hulse-Taylor binary pulsar.

Keywords:   Einstein's equation, linearized theory of metric field, gravitational wave, polarization, detection by interferometer, quadrupole radiation, Hulse-Taylor binary pulsar

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