Optical Counterparts to Gravitational Waves

Date
2017
Authors
Beroiz, Martin
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Abstract

The novel field of Gravitational Wave Astronomy has opened a new window to the universe. Never before had we received gravitational waves from the distant celestial bodies carried away by space-time perturbations, until the detection of GW150914 on September 14, 2015. But these signals, however faint, carry very little information about their positions on the sky. The sky localization can have uncertainties that span up to a few hundreds square degrees, which makes locating the sources very difficult.

Traditional Astronomy can complement this limitation of gravitational wave detection where optical astronomy is stronger: localization. However, this poses other technological challenges of a different kind. In the era of multi-messenger Astronomy, a low latency response time after detection is crucial in order to have any hope of detecting the optically faint electromagnetic counterparts of the event.

The mission of the Transient Optical Robotic Observatory of the South (TOROS), in the context of multi-messenger and time-domain astronomy, is to create a facility ready to respond to gravitational wave detections for prompt follow-up observations searching for optical counterparts.

This dissertation discusses the implementation of a software pipeline for the TOROS project and the results obtained during the O1 campaign of Advanced LIGO.

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This item is available only to currently enrolled UTSA students, faculty or staff.
Keywords
Gravitational Waves, Image Difference, Kilonova, Machine Learning, Optical Counterparts, TOROS
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Department
Physics and Astronomy