Multi-messenger observations of cosmic collisions, relativistic blasts, and their remnants

Oct 06, 2022 - 11:00 am to 12:00 pm

Campus, PAB 102/103

Alessandra Corsi (Texas Tech) In Person and zoom

Zoom Recording


The deaths of massive stars seed our universe with black holes and neutron stars - the most exotic objects in the stellar graveyard. The births of these stellar remnants, as well as their mergers when paired in binaries, power explosions that can launch the most relativistic jets we know of in the universe (gamma-ray bursts) and shake the very fabric of space-time via gravitational waves. GW170817, the merger of two neutron stars witnessed through both its gravitational wave siren and its glow at all wavelengths of light, marked the beginning of a golden age in multi-messenger astronomy. Starting from the example of GW170817, I will discuss how radio observations can probe relativistic outflows from compact binary mergers and, together with gravitational wave observations, help unveil the nature of the merger remnants. I will conclude by highlighting opportunities and challenges ahead, as new observational facilities will transform a trickle of multi-messenger discoveries into a flood.


Alessandra Corsi is Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Texas Tech University (TTU), where she also holds a President’s Excellence in Research Professorship. Her research focuses on multi-messenger time-domain astronomy.  She received her Laurea in Physics in 2003 and her Ph.D. in Astronomy in 2007 from the University of Rome Sapienza and carried out post-doctoral research at Penn State and Caltech. She is an NSF CAREER awardee, a National (Italy) L’Oreal-Unesco awardee for Women in Science, a fellow of the Research Corporation for Science Advancement, and a fellow of the American Physical Society. In 2020 she was awarded the O’Donnell Award in Science of The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas (TAMEST), and was selected as one of “The SN 10:  Scientists to Watch” by Science News. She is one of the recipients of the 2022 New Horizons in Physics Prize “For leadership in laying foundations for electromagnetic observations of sources of gravitational waves, and leadership in extracting rich information from the first observed collision of two neutron stars.”