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Using dead stars to spot gravitational waves

New technique could tune into cosmic symphony on the cheap

5:21pm, May 6, 2009

DENVER — A bunch of dead stars could serve as ready-made recorders for gravitational waves — subtle ripples in spacetime that if discovered would be the crowning achievement of Einstein’s theory of general relativity, astronomers propose. Researchers have been spending billions of dollars to perfect sensitive, kilometer-long devices on the ground and launch even more sophisticated experiments in space to detect this cosmic symphony.

The new search technique would instead rely on radio waves generated like clockwork by millisecond pulsars — the collapsed remnants of ma

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