Northwestern Events Calendar


Colloquium: Maura McLaughlin: Pulsar Timing Arrays See Red: Entering the Era of Low-Frequency Gravitational Wave Detection

When: Friday, May 6, 2022
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM Central

Where: Online

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Samantha Westlake  

Group: Physics and Astronomy Colloquia

Category: Academic


Abstract: Millisecond pulsars are rapidly rotating neutron stars with phenomenal rotational stability. Pulsar timing arrays world-wide monitor over 100 of these cosmic clocks in order to detect perturbations due to gravitational waves at nanohertz frequencies. These gravitational waves will most likely result from an ensemble of supermassive black hole binaries. Their detection and subsequent study will offer unique insights into galaxy growth and evolution over cosmic time. I will present the most recent NANOGrav and International Pulsar Timing Array datasets and the results of gravitational wave analyses which suggests the presence of a common "red" spectral signature in the data that could be the first hints of a gravitational wave background. I will then describe the gains in sensitivity that are expected from additional data, discoveries of millisecond pulsars, more sensitive instrumentation, and international collaboration and discuss prospects for detection in the next several years.

Speaker: Maura McLaughlin, West Virginia University

Hosts: Vicky Kalogera and Claude-André Faucher-Giguère

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