Physical Sciences and Mathematics


Brett Bolen


Shane Larson


The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) is a conguration of three satellites that will very precisely measure the distance between each satellite in order to detect gravitational waves, small undulations in spacetime.[1] Therefore, the stability of LISA satellite conguration will be crucial to its ability to measure gravitational waves, as will understanding the noise introduced in the measured gravitational wave signal from various environmental accelerations. Although solar irradiance will most denitely be a great source of noise in the desired frequency band and will greatly attempt to disrupt the satellite conguration, previous research has only considered zeroth order calculations of force on the satellites by irradiance in static systems. To remedy this, we used a geometric and material based approach to calculate the force on the satellites solar arrays, the only component facing the sun. Running our simulation of LISA based on irradiance data from the VIRGO (Variability of solar IRadiance and Gravity Oscillations) experiment, we examined the Fourier transform of force to and the associated acceleration noise expected in the LISA frequency band due to solar irradiance.[2] This research will help engineers in the construction of the solar array as well as help isolate the gravitational wave signal when LISA is own.

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