LIGO Document T1900360-v1

Electromagnetic Follow-Up of Gravitational Wave Sources

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T - Technical notes
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Many inspiraling and merging stellar remnants emit both gravitational and electromagnetic radiation as they orbit or collide. These gravitational-wave events together with their associated electromagnetic counterparts provide insight about the nature of the merger, allowing us to further constrain parameters about the properties of the binary object. With the start of the third observation run of the Laser Interferometric Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and the future launch of the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA), follow-up observations are needed of both transient objects, like the kilonova counterparts to the gravitational-wave events detected by LIGO, and of ultracompact binary (UCB) systems, as will be detected by LISA. Using instruments including Palomar Observatory’s Zwicky Transient Facility and Triple Spectrograph, and Kitt Peak’s Electron Multiplying CCD, we observe and analyze light curves and spectra of these UCBs. With collaborators at Northwestern University, we also generate a catalog of gravitational-waveforms for compact white dwarf binaries in decaying orbits informed by Galactic binary population models, and simulate their light curves. These simulations help constrain the range of UCBs we expect to detect with future time domain surveys and follow-up observations.
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Olivia Cooper SURF19 project material

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