Michael Coughlin - Caltech

Tue, 03/26/2019 - 1:00pm
705 Pupin Hall


"Before and after merger: Multi-messenger searches for compact binaries"

Binary neutron star mergers provide one of the richest laboratories for studying physics with ground-based interferometric gravitational-wave detectors such as advanced LIGO and Virgo. After such a merger, a compact remnant is left over whose nature depends primarily on the masses of the inspiralling objects and on the equation of state of nuclear matter. We will discuss the search for post-merger signals from GW170817. In addition, we will describe ongoing searches for the detection of transients likeGW170817 in electromagnetic wavelengths. With the Zwicky TransientFacility (ZTF) recently achieving first light, it is now fruitful to use its unprecedented combination of depth, field of view, and survey cadence to perform Target of Opportunity observations. We will demonstrate on short gamma-ray bursts how it is possible to use this system to do follow-up on this scale. Finally, we will discuss the ongoing efforts to use ZTF and a new instrument at the Kitt Peak 2.1m to find and characterize white dwarf binaries.

About the speaker

Michael Coughlin was an undergraduate at Carleton College, where he started in LIGO, performing detector characterization and unmodeled search related studies and also spent a summer doing seismic site analyses at Virgo. Afterwards, as a Churchill scholar at the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge, he worked on parameter estimation of gravitational wave data, in particular compact binary coalescences. During graduate school at Harvard, he joined LSST, where he built and characterized a prototype calibration system for LSST, in addition to working with Pan-STARRS and ATLAS to search for gravitational-wave counterparts. He is now a prize post-doc at the California Institute of Technology, where he continues working on bridging the gap between gravitational-wave and observational astronomers with ZTF and KPED.