Abstract: Within the last few years, gravitational wave astronomy has progressed from notable single detections to a steady stream of events that provide a continually deeper view into the population of merging compact binaries in the universe. These detections are only possible due to sophisticated analyses of noisy interferometer strain data that were historically conducted within the LIGO-VIRGO collaboration (LVC). We developed an entirely independent analysis of LIGO data that improved its reach by identifying and rigorously accounting for systematics, and thereby identified several new binary black-hole mergers within. In this talk, I will provide a birds-eye view of the analysis, touch upon our improvements to the process of detecting as well as characterizing the events, and summarize the insights into the source population that we found. Our expanded catalog is broadly consistent with that of the LVC but with improved constraints on population parameters, and hints of a more complex distribution in the intrinsic parameters of binary black-holes. Time permitting, I will also describe an improved search for lensed binary black hole events in the O2 run of advanced LIGO-VIRGO.
Host: Scott Hughes