Department of Physics & Astronomy
University of New Mexico

Special Talk

Cosmic Explorer: a next-generation gravitational-wave observatory

Presented by Dr. Joshua Smith (Cal State Fullerton) and Dr. Kathryne Daniel (U Arizona)

Albert Einstein predicted gravitational waves in 1916, as a consequence of his general relativity theory. A century later, gravitational-wave observations of black hole and neutron star mergers by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and its European partner Virgo have opened a new window on the universe. These observatories achieve their extreme sensitivity through cutting-edge physics and engineering including high laser power, pristine optical coatings, and squeezed light. But today’s observatories are only sensitive enough to see the loudest gravitational-wave signals. Cosmic Explorer (CE) is a next-generation ground-based gravitational-wave observatory that is being designed now and is envisioned to begin operations in the 2030s. With its spectacular sensitivity, CE will peer deeply into the universe’s dark side—observing gravitational waves from remnants of the first stars—and open a wide discovery aperture to the novel and unknown. In addition to pushing the reach of gravitational-wave astronomy, Cosmic Explorer endeavors to approach the lifecycle of large scientific facilities in a way that prioritizes mutually beneficial relationships with local and Indigenous communities. Building these relationships is an important part of how we will evaluate and identify locations for a Cosmic Explorer observatory.

1:30 pm, Wednesday, April 3, 2024

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