VR Grant to Project “GREAT”

In September 14, 2015 gravitational waves (GWs) were detected for the first time: the LIGO-VIRGO team monitored the “chirping signal” and subsequent ring-down from the merger of two black holes. This watershed event confirmed a 100-year-old prediction of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity; even more importantly, it opened up a completely new channel to observe the Universe. GW astronomy allows us to probe how the strongest gravitational fields warp space-time, how ultra-gravity binary stars contribute to the heaviest elements in Nature, how such binary systems form and, eventually, how their mergers can be used as probes of the expansion history of the Universe. These exciting prospects, however, hinge on the detection of the electromagnetic counterparts of the GW sources.

Bidrag till forskningsmiljöer (or Research Environment Grant) is a new Vetenskapsrådet (VR) initiative which aims to encourage larger research collaborations than are normally supported. Joining together for this proposal were Ariel Goobar and Hiranya Peiris from the Stockholm University Physics department along with Jesper Sollerman and Stephan Rosswog from the Astronomy department.

Hiranya Peiris, Jesper Sollerman, Stephan Rosswog, and Ariel Goobar are standing on one of the walking bridges between the two wings in the AlbaNova building.
From left to right, Hiranya Peiris, Jesper Sollerman, Stephan Rosswog, and Ariel Goobar.

With this newly VR-funded GREAT (Gravitational Radiation and Electromagnetic Astrophysical Transients) research environment they plan to carry out end-to-end simulations of the electromagnetic signals from scenarios involving mergers of compact objects accompanied by emission of gravitational radiation. Based on these simulations, they will optimize search strategies and perform searches for electromagnetic counterparts of GW events in leading time-domain astronomical surveys.

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