Tuesday, March 8, 2016
4:00 pm
Cahill, Hameetman Auditorium – Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics

Gravitational-Wave Research Seminar

Sarah Burke Spolaor, National Radio Astronomy Observatory
We are seeking both light and gravitational waves from binary supermassive black holes, the biggest, meanest discrete binary systems in the Universe. When two supermassive binary black holes pair up as a binary at the center of a merger remnant, they may ignite as active nuclei and send off unique electromagnetic signatures as they consume the ambient matter from the remnant's core. During their inspiral and coalescence phases, they will produce intense gravitational radiation, which we expect to detect with Pulsar Timing Arrays in the coming ~decade.

If observed, such emission would represent direct probes of late-stage merger dynamics, and could provide a smoking gun for gravitational wave emitters detectable by Pulsar Timing Arrays. However, as of yet no small-orbit binary systems have yet been conclusively confirmed. We are investigating the use of both electromagnetic observations and Pulsar Timing Arrays to constrain, support, or disprove the binary SMBH hypothesis in candidate systems. I will present results from several ongoing searches for binary supermassive black holes, and will consider the prospects of Pulsar Timing Arrays to detect or place physically interesting gravitational wave limits on these targets.
Contact Jonah Kanner jkanner@caltech.edu
For more information see CaJAGWR Home Page
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