Testing general relativity with present and future astrophysical observations

Emanuele Berti, Enrico Barausse, Vitor Cardoso, Leonardo Gualtieri, Paolo Pani, Ulrich Sperhake, Leo C. Stein, Norbert Wex, Kent Yagi, Tessa Baker, C. P. Burgess, Flávio S. Coelho, Daniela Doneva, Antonio De Felice, Pedro G. Ferreira, Paulo C.C. Freire, James Healy, Carlos Herdeiro, Michael Horbatsch, Burkhard KleihausAntoine Klein, Kostas Kokkotas, Jutta Kunz, Pablo Laguna, Ryan N. Lang, Tjonnie G.F. Li, Tyson Littenberg, Andrew Matas, Saeed Mirshekari, Hirotada Okawa, Eugen Radu, Richard O'Shaughnessy, Bangalore S. Sathyaprakash, Chris Van Den Broeck, Hans A. Winther, Helvi Witek, Mir Emad Aghili, Justin Alsing, Brett Bolen, Luca Bombelli, Sarah Caudill, Liang Chen, Juan Carlos Degollado, Ryuichi Fujita, Caixia Gao, Davide Gerosa, Saeed Kamali, Hector O. Silva, João G. Rosa, Laleh Sadeghian, Marco Sampaio, Hajime Sotani, Miguel Zilhao

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


One century after its formulation, Einstein's general relativity (GR) has made remarkable predictions and turned out to be compatible with all experimental tests. Most of these tests probe the theory in the weak-field regime, and there are theoretical and experimental reasons to believe that GR should be modified when gravitational fields are strong and spacetime curvature is large. The best astrophysical laboratories to probe strong-field gravity are black holes and neutron stars, whether isolated or in binary systems. We review the motivations to consider extensions of GR. We present a (necessarily incomplete) catalog of modified theories of gravity for which strong-field predictions have been computed and contrasted to Einstein's theory, and we summarize our current understanding of the structure and dynamics of compact objects in these theories. We discuss current bounds on modified gravity from binary pulsar and cosmological observations, and we highlight the potential of future gravitational wave measurements to inform us on the behavior of gravity in the strong-field regime.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number243001
JournalClassical and Quantum Gravity
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • black holes
  • compact binaries
  • general relativity
  • gravitational waves
  • neutron stars

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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