The Einstein Telescope is one of the most important research facilities to invest in for astronomy. So says the European partnership of astronomers and research funders Astronet in its new roadmap for future telescopes.
What are the big questions in astronomy and what kind of equipment is needed to answer them? To be able to see ever sharper and farther, astronomers like to plan far ahead. The European partnership Astronet recently released its new Roadmap 2022 – 2035, listing the most important research facilities to equip future astronomers with. The Einstein Telescope is prominently mentioned as an essential part of future observatories. Its inclusion in this independent roadmap underlines the importance of the Einstein Telescope for astronomy.
Gravitational waves occur during violent shock motions in the universe. Colliding black holes and neutron stars, for example, as the existing US observatory LIGO can already see. Because gravitational waves slip through normal matter without weakening, they are an ideal way to investigate phenomena that are invisible to normal telescopes.
The Einstein Telescope is expected to become operational around 2035. According to the Astronet Roadmap: “With detectors like the Einstein Telescope, we can hear compact objects colliding almost anywhere in the universe” – the remnants of massive stars such as black holes, neutron stars and white dwarfs. “Then we can reconstruct how such binary stars form and how the partners influence each other during their lifetimes.”
“The technique being developed for the Einstein Telescope and the Cosmic Explorer [counterpart in the US] will become as much as ten times more sensitive than that of their predecessors,” Astronet states in its new Roadmap. As a result, the Einstein Telescope is expected to be able to hear the rumbling of the Universe just after the big bang, and even bumps on orbiting neutron stars: “A new way to investigate how the universe works in situations of extreme gravity.”