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Astron. Astrophys. 339, 921-928 (1998)

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6. Are observational tests possible?

It follows from our formulae that the scintillation effects specifically predicted by scalar-tensor theories are proportional to the amplitude of the scalar field perturbation at the observer. This local character casts a serious doubt on the detectability of these effects, since the scalar field perturbation is very small for a localized source of gravitational waves.

Indeed, one can put in most cases [FORMULA], where [FORMULA] is a dimensionless constant coupling the scalar field with the metric gravitational field (see, e.g. , Damour & Esposito-Farèse 1992). Experiments in the solar system and observations of binary pulsars like PSR 1913+16 indicate that [FORMULA]. Consequently, setting [FORMULA] for gravitational waves emitted by localized sources gives [FORMULA] and the effect is much too weak to be detected.

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1998

Online publication: October 22, 1998