Institute of Astronomy

Transient Sources (theory) - The Astrophysics of Compact Object Mergers

SpeakerTalk DateTalk Series
Samaya Nissanke28 July 2016Binary Stars Talks


New Astrophysics of Compact Object Mergers from Gravitational Wave and Electromagnetic Observations From September 2015 to January 2016, the first observational run of the Advanced LIGO detectors saw the first detections of gravitational waves from binary black holes. Future observational runs by advanced gravitational wave detectors should measure not only binary black hole mergers but compact object mergers that comprise neutron stars. These cosmic laboratories present us now with both a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge is to explain the rich physics at play in high velocity, strongly-curved spacetime in Universe for the first time. The opportunity is to detect both the accompanying electromagnetic and gravitational radiation for the first time with a suite of new time-domain telescopes and gravitational wave detectors.  In this talk, I will first give an introduction to optical and radio counterparts of neutron star binary mergers and then discuss the challenges that lie ahead in pinpointing and fully characterising the events on the sky. I will outline these efforts within the context of the recent efforts in the broadband follow-up of the binary black hole gravitational-wave transients GW150914 and GW151226.