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Searching for the Astrophysical Gravitational-Wave Background and Prompt Radio Emission from Compact Binaries

Citation

Callister, Thomas Alfred, III (2020) Searching for the Astrophysical Gravitational-Wave Background and Prompt Radio Emission from Compact Binaries. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/xthf-1p70. https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechTHESIS:05262020-184547015

Abstract

Gravitational-wave astronomy is now a reality. During my time at Caltech, the Advanced LIGO and Virgo observatories have detected gravitational waves from dozens of compact binary coalescences. All of these gravitational-wave events occurred in the relatively local Universe. In the first part of this thesis, I will instead look towards the remote Universe, investigating what LIGO and Virgo may be able to learn about cosmologically-distant compact binaries via observation of the stochastic gravitational-wave background. The stochastic gravitational-wave background is composed of the incoherent superposition of all distant, individually-unresolvable gravitational-wave sources. I explore what we learn from study of the gravitational-wave background, both about the astrophysics of compact binaries and the fundamental nature of gravitational waves. Of course, before we can study the gravitational-wave background we must first detect it. I therefore present searches for the gravitational-wave background using data from Advanced LIGO's first two observing runs, obtaining the most stringent upper limits to date on strength of the stochastic background. Finally, I consider how one might validate an apparent detection of the gravitational-wave background, confidently distinguishing a true astrophysical signal from spurious terrestrial artifacts.

The second part of this thesis concerns the search for electromagnetic counterparts to gravitational-wave events. The binary neutron star merger GW170817 was accompanied by a rich set of electromagnetic counterparts spanning nearly the entire electromagnetic spectrum. Beyond these counterparts, compact binaries may additionally generate powerful radio transients at or near their time of merger. First, I consider whether there is a plausible connection between this so-called "prompt radio emission" and fast radio bursts — enigmatic radio transients of unknown origin. Next, I present the first direct search for prompt radio emission from a compact binary merger using the Owens Valley Radio Observatory Long Wavelength Array (OVRO-LWA). While no plausible candidates are identified, this effort successfully demonstrates the prompt radio follow-up of a gravitational-wave source, providing a blueprint for LIGO and Virgo follow-up in their O3 observing run and beyond.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:LIGO gravitation
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Major Option:Astrophysics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Weinstein, Alan Jay (advisor)
  • Hallinan, Gregg W. (co-advisor)
Group:LIGO
Thesis Committee:
  • Golwala, Sunil (chair)
  • Weinstein, Alan Jay
  • Hallinan, Gregg W.
  • Teukolsky, Saul A.
Defense Date:19 August 2019
Non-Caltech Author Email:thomas.a.callister (AT) gmail.com
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:05262020-184547015
Persistent URL:https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechTHESIS:05262020-184547015
DOI:10.7907/xthf-1p70
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
https://doi.org/10.3847/2041-8213/ab2248DOIArticle adapted for Ch. 10.
https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevD.100.061101DOIArticle adapted for Ch. 6.
https://doi.org/10.3847/2041-8213/aaf3a5DOIArticle adapted for Ch. 9.
https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.120.201102DOIArticle adapted for Ch. 7.
https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevD.97.082002DOIPortions of article adapted for Ch. 6.
https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevX.7.041058DOIArticle adapted for Ch. 5.
https://doi.org/10.1088/1361-6382/aa7a76DOIRelated published work, not discussed in thesis.
https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevX.6.031018DOIArticle adapted for Ch. 4.
https://doi.org/10.3847/2041-8205/825/1/L12DOIArticle adapted for Ch. 9.
ORCID:
AuthorORCID
Callister, Thomas Alfred, III0000-0001-9892-177X
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:13724
Collection:CaltechTHESIS
Deposited By: Thomas Callister
Deposited On:01 Jun 2020 22:12
Last Modified:01 Sep 2020 22:40

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