Recent advances in gravitational wave detectors mean that we can start to make astrophysically important statements about the physics of neutron stars based on observed upper limits to their gravitational luminosity. Here we consider statements we can already make about a selection of known radio pulsars, based on data from the LIGO and GEO600 detectors, and look forward to what could be learned from the first detections.
The GEO 600 laser interferometer with 600m armlength is part of a worldwide network of gravitational wave detectors. GEO 600 is unique in having advanced multiple pendulum suspensions with a monolithic last stage and in employing a signal recycled optical design. This paper describes the recent commissioning of the interferometer and its operation in signal recycled mode.
The GEO600 laser interferometric gravitational wave detector is approaching the end of its commissioning phase which started in 1995.
During a test run in January 2002 the detector was operated for 15 days in a power-recycled michelson configuration. The detector and environmental data which were acquired during this test run were used to test the data analysis code. This paper describes the subsystems of GEO600, the status of the detector by August 2002 and the plans towards the first science run.