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A galactic-scale gravitational-wave detector for the biggest black holes in the universe

Friday May 7, 2021
3:30 pm


 Presenter:  Sarah Burke-SpolaorAssistant ProfessorDepartment of Physics and AstronomyWest Virginia University
 Series:  Physics and Astronomy Colloquium
 Abstract:  We are seeking both electromagnetic and gravitational waves from binary supermassive black holes, the biggest, discrete binary systems in the Universe. When galaxies merge, these giant binaries can form. During their inspiral and coalescence phases, they will produce intense gravitational radiation, which we expect to detect with gravitational-wave observatories like Pulsar Timing Arrays and LISA in the coming decade. Pulsar timing arrays use distributed networks of pulsars to sense these waves as they pass through our galaxy; in effect, they are an observatory on a Galactic scale. This talk will discuss the exciting latest results from pulsar timing arrays, including an interesting "noise signal" and what our latest, most stringent limits on gravitational waves mean for galaxy evolution and supermassive binary black holes. I will also briefly discuss efforts to discover both gravitational and electromagnetic waves from binary supermassive black holes.
 Host:  Ylva Pihlstrom
 Location:  Via Zoom. Contact the department for password

Disability Notice Individuals with disabilities who need an auxiliary aid or service to attend or participate in P&A events should contact the Physics and Astronomy Department (phone: 505 277-2616, email: physics@unm.edu) well in advance to ensure your needs are accommodated. Event handouts can be provided in alternative accessible formats upon request. Please contact the Physics and Astronomy Department if you need written information in an alternative format.