Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Physics & Astronomy

Reader 1

Thomas A. Moore

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2007 C.L. Wainwright. Pomona College has non-exclusive publication rights. Permission is granted to quote from the thesis with the customary acknowledgment of the source. Republication in any form requires permission from the author of the thesis.


Paper discusses the expected uncertainty of orbital parameters of binary stars as measured by the space-based gravitational wave observatory LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna) and how the inclusion of spin in the model of the binary stars affects the uncertainty. The uncertainties are found by calculating the received gravitational wave from a binary pair and then performing a linear least-squares parameter estimation. The case of a 1500 solar mass black hole that is 20 years from coalescing with a 1000 solar mass black hole--both of which are 50 x 10^6 light years away--is analyzed, and the results show that the inclusion of spin has a negligible effect upon the angular resolution of LISA but can increase the accuracy in mass and distance measurements by factors of 15 and 65, respectively.


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Previously linked to as,26 (video) and,20 (paper).

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