Gravitational Wave Astronomy
Prof Shiho Kobayashi
Gravitational waves (GWs) are one of the most remarkable predictions of Einstein's general theory of relativity. These ripples in the curvature of space-time are caused by some of the most violent and energetic processes in the Universe, such as coalescing compact binaries and core-collapse supernovae. Recently, 100 years after the prediction, GWs were finally detected by the LIGO GW observatory, marking the start of a new era of astronomy. The handful of events detected so far have already raised new astrophysical questions (e.g. the origin of black hole binaries). With further improvements planned for the LIGO and Virgo, and other GW detectors (LIGO India, Japanese KAGRA) coming online, a large number of gravitational-wave events are expected to be discovered in the coming years.
Of particular interest are compat stellar mergers including neutrons stars. These are leading candidates for short Gamma-Ray Burst (GRB) progenitors, and various electromagnetic (EM) signals should be associated with these GW events. With EM counterparts, we will be able to identify the host galaxy and its surrounding environment. It should also be possible to connect GW observations to a wealth of other transient phenomena. On 17th August 2017, the LIGO and Virgo GW observatories made the first detect of GW signals from a neutron star merger, and 2 sec later GRB 170817A was detected by the Fermi satellite. Astronomers around the globe including researchers at the Astrophysics Research institutes of LJMU have done extensive follow-up observations by using various telescopes and satellites. You will carry out theoretical projects on EM signals from compact stellar mergers and/or the physical processes related to relativistic objects.