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Multi-Messenger Astrophysics

by Davis Murphy last modified Oct 03, 2018 by Mark Adams

Multi-Messenger Astrophysics: Insights from Combining Gravity and Radio Waves

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting

Washington, D.C.

Saturday, 16 February 2019, 10:00 - 11:30 AM

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory / next generation Very Large Array will host a special session at the 2019 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting to discuss the essential role radio astronomy plays in improving our understanding of the physics of gravitational wave events now being detected in the Universe. The field of multi-messenger astrophysics is rapidly advancing and maturing, with the first generation of gravitational wave telescopes now online, and the discovery of diverse numbers of gravitational wave events. The most recent detection with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) arose from the collision of two neutron stars in a distant galaxy, and is still being observed at radio wavelengths with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), yielding fundamental insights into the exotic merger physics. Joint analyses of gravitational and electromagnetic radiation from violent astrophysical events such as neutron star and black hole mergers significantly deepen and challenge current knowledge of the Universe.  This knowledge will only continue to broaden and expand when next-generation facilities that are more sensitive to gravitational and electromagnetic radiation are commissioned, such as the Advanced LIGO facility and a next-generation VLA. This session reports on recent developments in radio astronomy and how observations of astronomical phenomena via both gravitational and electromagnetic “messengers” are enabling major new physical insights into the cosmos.

The session will highlight these topics with the following invited presentations: 

  • Mapping Gravitational Bursts as Radio Wavelength AfterglowsKunal Mooley (Caltech/NRAO)
    Abstract: Telescopes around the globe are now in hot pursuit of electromagnetic counterparts to gravitational wave sources discovered by LIGO. Radio wavelength follow-up provides critical diagnostics of the dynamical sub-relativistic ejecta and any ultra-relativistic jet launched in binary neutron star mergers. In this talk, I will describe results from the Jansky Very Large Array mapping of Gravitational Wave bursts as Afterglows in Radio program, including GW170817.
  • Multi-messenger Time-domain Astronomy in the ngVLA eraAlessandra Corsi (Texas Tech University)
    Abstract: In 2017, the field of gravitational wave astronomy made the big leagues with the dazzling discovery of GW170817, a binary neutron star merger with an electromagnetic counterpart. I will review this discovery emphasizing areas of opportunity for the next generation Very Large Array, such as radio polarimetry and mapping of the merger ejecta, and host galaxy studies. I will also discuss the potential for future multi-messenger discoveries of binary black holes and relativistic stellar explosions.
  • Gravitational-wave Detectors: Roadmap and Capability in the 2030'sDavid Shoemaker (MIT/Kavli)
    Abstract: To precisely measure key physical parameters (e.g., Hubble Constant) and access all black hole binaries of ~100 solar masses requires third-generation gravitational-wave (GW) observatories that could be operable by the 2030s. The requisite major investments would yield a rich stand-alone science harvest and would also complement the anticipated palette of electromagnetic, cosmic ray, and neutrino instruments likely operating in the 2030s.