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Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Stars: Shedding Light on the Population of Galactic Gravitational Wave Sources


Burdge, Kevin Brian (2021) Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Stars: Shedding Light on the Population of Galactic Gravitational Wave Sources. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/69gf-ex79.


Time domain surveys are revolutionizing our understanding of compact binary systems containing a white dwarf and another compact object at short orbital periods. These extreme binaries are astrophysical laboratories which can probe compact object physics, the nature of Type Ia supernova progenitors, accretion physics, tidal physics, the process of binary evolution, and they will dominate the population of objects the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) will detect. In this thesis, I present substantial advances in the discovery and characterization of compact binaries using the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF). This work has resulted in a ten-fold increase in the discovery rate of such binaries compared to previous work in the field, and has helped lay the groundwork for discovering and characterizing these sources using other facilities, such as the the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), the upcoming Vera Rubin Observatory (VRO) and eventually LISA itself.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Astrophysics
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Major Option:Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Prince, Thomas A.
Thesis Committee:
  • Prince, Thomas A. (chair)
  • Kulkarni, Shrinivas R. (chair)
  • Harrison, Fiona A.
  • Fuller, James
  • Marsh, Thomas
Defense Date:17 May 2021
Non-Caltech Author Email:kburdge (AT)
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:05262021-184313606
Persistent URL:
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription II of this thesis III of this thesis IV of this thesis V of this thesis
Burdge, Kevin Brian0000-0002-7226-836X
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:14176
Deposited By: Kevin Burdge
Deposited On:26 May 2021 23:30
Last Modified:28 Oct 2021 16:26

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