Cherenkov gravitational radiation during the radiation era

Yi Zen Chu, Yen Wei Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cherenkov radiation may occur whenever the source is moving faster than the waves it generates. In a radiation dominated universe, with equation-of-state w = 1/3, we have recently shown that the Bardeen scalar-metric perturbations contribute to the linearized Weyl tensor in such a manner that its wavefront propagates at acoustic speed w = 1/ 3. In this work, we explicitly compute the shape of the Bardeen Cherenkov cone and wedge generated respectively by a supersonic point mass (approximating a primordial black hole) and a straight Nambu-Goto wire (approximating a cosmic string) moving perpendicular to its length. When the black hole or cosmic string is moving at ultra-relativistic speeds, we also calculate explicitly the sudden surge of scalar-metric induced tidal forces on a pair of test particles due to the passing Cherenkov shock wave. These forces can stretch or compress, depending on the orientation of the masses relative to the shock front’s normal.

Original languageEnglish
Article number437
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Cherenkov radiation
  • Cosmology
  • Gravitational waves


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