Identifying and characterizing millihertz gravitational wave sources and other minute to hour timescale compact object variables with synoptic surveys

Jan 30, 2023 - 11:00 am to 12:00 pm

Campus, PAB 102/103

Kevin Burdge (MIT) In Person and zoom

Zoom Recording

I discuss ongoing work using the Zwicky Transient Facility and other synoptic surveys to discover and characterize sources of millihertz gravitational radiation and other minute to hour timescale compact object variables, in preparation for the Vera Rubin Observatory. The core of this work focuses on discovering "multi-messenger" sources of simultaneously detectable gravitational radiation and electromagnetic flux, astrophysical laboratories that can be used to perform precision characterization of some of the most extreme forms of matter in the universe, testing properties such as their equation of state and the physical mechanism underlying Type Ia supernovae. Highly optimized algorithms implemented on graphics processing units underly this work, and the resultant analysis has uncovered a diverse range of astrophysical laboratories, including dozens of new millihertz gravitational wave sources, as well as black widow pulsars, black widow pulsar "imposters", white dwarf "pulsars", cataclysmic variables transitioning from hydrogen to helium accretion, and rapidly rotating highly magnetic white dwarf merger remnants. I will conclude by demonstrating why current work clearly indicates that the Vera Rubin Observatory will transform this field.​