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Center for Astrophysics Research and Technologies Seminar Series Information


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Supermassive black hole binaries and Pulsars as a tool to detect them

Thursday October 19, 2017
2:00 pm

 Presenter:  Karishma Bansal (UNM)
 Series:  Center for Astrophysics Research and Technologies Seminar Series
 Abstract:  Gravitational waves are a prediction of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. The main sources of gravitational waves are binary mergers.  The frequency of these waves depends on the interacting systems ranging from white dwarfs to supermassive black holes.  Unlike electromagnetic waves these waves do not interact with matter which makes it difficult to detect them. With the advance in technology, astronomers have come up with various ways to detect them. Among these methods, LIGO tops the lists which detects frequencies of the order of few Hz, emitted by stellar mass black hole binaries. We are interested in Supermassive black hole binaries (SMBHB) which are believed to emit from nano to micro Hz. Gravitational waves cause the time of arrival of the pulses from pulsars to vary on timescales of 10 nanoseconds, which can be detected by pulsar timing arrays (PTAs). 
 However, when a pulsar signal traverses through the Interstellar medium, it interacts with the ionized plasma. Observable ISM affects are dispersion, scattering, angular broadening, and interstellar scintillation. At lower frequencies these effects are more apparent. The focus of this talk concerns a confirmed SMBHB 0402+379, and ways to overcome ISM effects in pulsar signal using the LWA while attempting to detect gravitational waves using PTAs.
 Host:  Gregory Taylor
 Location:  Room 190, Physics & Astronomy

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