Will Farr, Flatiron Institute


Past Event

Will Farr, Flatiron Institute

December 7, 2020
2:10 PM - 3:10 PM

Ringing Black Holes, Massive Neutron Stars, and Black Hole Cosmology: Recent Results and Future Directions from LIGO and Virgo's Observations of Gravitational Waves

In the past five years, the exciting new field of gravitational wave astronomy has delivered many "firsts."  The first detection of gravitational waves---from a pair of black holes merging---in 2015; the first detection of gravitational waves from a merging pair of neutron stars---an event which also produced electromagnetic emission that was ultimately observed in various ways by ~30% of the global astronomical community---in 2017; the first catalog of binary black hole mergers that provided evidence for a maximum stellar-origin black hole mass due to an unusual type of supernova explosion in 2018; the first detection of multiple gravitational wave "spectral lines" from a "ringing" black hole announced in 2019; a number of "oddities" in 2020, including a black hole merger with masses above the stellar-origin limit, a detection of an unusually massive neutron star merger, and a detection of a merger with one object with a mass that is larger than expected for a neutron star but smaller than expected for a black hole; and just last month, the release of LIGO and Virgo's latest catalog with around 50 observations of compact object mergers. I will discuss some of these exciting results in detail and explain the bright future of this fast-moving new field.