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Multiple Messengers from the Universe: Gravitational Waves and Light from Neutron Star Mergers

Event Details

Event Dates: 

Monday, January 29, 2018 - 4:00pm

Seminar Location: 

  • JILA Auditorium

Speaker Name(s): 

Wen-fai Fong

Speaker Affiliation(s): 

University of Arizona
Seminar Type/Subject

Scientific Seminar Type: 

  • Astrophysical & Planetary Sciences Seminar

Event Details & Abstract: 

The detection of gravitational waves and light from the same cosmic source has become one of the most highly-anticipated discoveries in physics and astronomy. Thanks to the recent onset of Advanced LIGO/Virgo, on August 17, 2017, this discovery came to fruition with the first direct detection of a merger of two neutron stars, followed by the detection of electromagnetic emission across ten orders of magnitude in wavelength. The merger, termed GW170817, was localized to a galaxy in our own cosmic neighborhood, allowing us to study the properties of the merger and its environment in unprecedented detail. Here, I describe efforts to localize GW170817 and uncover its properties through gravitational wave and electromagnetic observations. I also discuss the host galaxy and broad properties of GW170817 in the context of cosmological short gamma-ray bursts. Finally, I concentrate on open questions raised by GW170817 and the bright future ahead for multi-messenger astronomy.