Center for AstroPhysical Surveys

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CAPS Seminar: Prospects for Finding Neutron Star Mergers without LIGO

Event Type
Center for AstroPhysical Surveys
NCSA - 1205 W Clark St, Urbana - RM 1040
wifi event
Apr 19, 2024   12:00 - 12:30 pm  
Haille Perkins, CAPS Graduate Student Fellow
Cynthia Trendafilova

Speaker: Haille Perkins, CAPS Graduate Student Fellow
Date/Time: April 19, 2024 / 12 noon central.
Location: NCSA, 1040.

Title: Prospects for Finding Neutron Star Mergers without LIGO

Abstract: GW170817 was the first confirmed binary neutron star merger (NSM) with an associated kilonova. Observations of this event was revolutionary as kilonovae and NSMs are excellent laboratories for studying r-process nucleosynthesis, multi-messenger astronomy, cosmology, the equation of state of neutron stars, and more. Its discovery was made possible by the LIGO-Virgo-KAGRA (LVK) gravitational wave network; however, based on recent predictions for Observing runs 4 and 5, there will only be a handful of EM counterparts will be detectable for LVK-detected NSMs. As a result, we cannot wholly rely on gravitational wave detections to do KN science. Given the faint nature of KN, we propose leveraging bright short gamma ray burst afterglows to identify candidate NSM events in large scale optical surveys like Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST). By overlaying existing afterglow and kilonova models, we find at ~5 days post-merger the combined UV emission can be up to 2 magnitudes brighter than the kilonova alone. This enhancement can enable a study of NSM hosts and their environments by expanding the possible search volume and the time to find these events.

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