Department of Physics & Astronomy
University of New Mexico

Center for Astrophysics Research and Technologies Seminar Series

Uncovering the Progenitors of the Universe's Most Extreme Explosions

Presented by Roseanne Cheng, LANL

We investigate the origin of astrophysical gamma-ray bursts (GRB), the most extreme explosions in the universe. These events are characterized by a highly variable gamma-ray flash followed by a long-lived, broadband afterglow. To identify the progenitors of these events, theoretical models must that explain how complex multi-physics processes lead to the extreme release of energy (~1052 ergs) across multi-scales and accommodate the observed variation in multi-wavelength emission. Using a numerical code-bridging approach, we explore the mechanisms that produce radio loud, long GRB events. These explosions are characterized by emission in gamma-rays greater than two seconds and in radio lasting days to months. We test the hypothesis that the progenitors of radio loud, long GRB events are massive stars (MS) collapsing into a black hole (BH) within an interacting binary system with another BH or MS-BH binary. We provide theoretical predictions of radio emission for these events while leveraging the recently observed dichotomy between the radio loud and radio quiet population of long GRBs. In studying these progenitors, we address fundamental questions in our understanding of stellar evolution in binaries and rates of binary black hole mergers for future gravitational wave detectors.

2:00 pm, Thursday, November 2, 2023

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