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Astronomy Colloquium
The next generation of gravitational wave counterpart discovery
Date: Thursday, February 23rd
Time: 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Place: 4421 Sterling Hall
Speaker: Charlie Kilpatrick, Northwestern University
Abstract: The promise of multi-messenger astronomy was spectacularly realized in 2017 with the detection of a binary neutron star merger, GW170817, simultaneously localized by LIGO/Virgo in gravitational waves and telescopes observing across the electromagnetic spectrum. This single event led to ground-breaking new discoveries in the physics of compact objects, synthesis of heavy elements, and cosmology. The challenges of extending these discoveries to a large population of electromagnetic counterparts will require new observing and analysis techniques, instrumentation, and collaborations. On the heels of this seminal discovery, I will discuss our results from the most recent LIGO/Virgo observing run to detect new gravitational wave counterparts and the ongoing efforts to rapidly coordinate a global networks of telescopes, identify their multi-wavelength counterparts, and use these observations to further expand our understanding of compact objects and fundamental physics. I will then discuss new facilities and observational programs, where I am leading efforts to extend search and follow up into the X-ray, ultraviolet, and infrared. These include wide-field, multi-wavelength counterpart searches in the ground and space, JWST imaging and spectra for well-localized counterparts, and an ongoing infrared time-domain survey with hundreds of infrared spectra for comparison to candidate gravitational wave counterparts.
Host: Ke Zhang
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