Advanced LIGO has completed construction and is now collecting gravitational wave data with unprecedented sensitivity. Advanced LIGO will soon be sensitive enough to detect gravitational waves from several potential sources, the most promising of which are compact binary mergers. Measuring gravitational waves will broaden our understanding of fundamental physics and give birth to a new branch of astronomy whereby we can infer the dynamics of distant objects not only through their electromagnetic signatures, but through their imprint on space-time itself. The LIGO Scientific Collaboration has already established partnerships with observing facilities spanning the electromagnetic spectrum, as well as several astroparticle observatories, in the hopes of detecting transient sources through a variety of channels. In this seminar, I will give an update on the progress of our first ever advanced LIGO observing run, focusing specifically on searches for colliding neutron stars and black holes and their even more elusive electromagnetic counterparts.
Talk Host: Nergis Mavalvala