Institute of Astronomy

A new perspective on the Universe in the era of multi-messenger astronomy

SpeakerTalk DateTalk Series
Samaya Nissanke (Amsterdam)2 May 2019Institute of Astronomy Colloquia


In the past three years, the LIGO and Virgo gravitational wave
(GW) detectors have announced the discovery of ten binary black hole mergers
as well as the the first binary neutron star merger GW170817. The discovery
of both gravitational wave and electromagnetic (EM) radiation from this
binary neutron star merger, GW170817, has opened up a new era of
multi-messenger GW+EM astronomy. The EM follow-up campaign for this single
event was unprecedented in terms of its scale, coordination
and the resulting observational data-sets. Although only a single event, the
follow-up and joint GW+EM characterization have offered us a new perspective
on the Universe enabling critical insights into diverse fields from gravity,
high-energy astrophysics, nuclear physics, to cosmology. In this talk, I
will give a brief overview of the GW discovery and EM follow-up of this
event, and then discuss how to place compact object mergers in their full
astrophysical and cosmological context using joint GW+EM measurements. I
will conclude by discussing the lessons that we are learning from this one
event and the remarkable opportunities and challenges that have emerged in
this new observationally-driven and fast-paced field as we move from the
discovery era to one of precision astrophysics in the next decade.


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