Munich Joint Astronomy Colloquium

7787 1510568482

"The electromagnetic counterpart of the gravitational wave source GW170817"

  • Date: Nov 16, 2017
  • Time: 15:15 - 16:15
  • Speaker: Stephen J. Smartt
  • Queen's Univ. Belfast
  • Location: ESO
  • Room: ESO Audit. Eridanus
On 17th Aug 2017, a strong source of gravitational waves was detected by the LIGO-Virgo collaboration. The signal lasted for 60 secs and the event was followedjust 2 seconds later by a short burst of gamma-rays detected by Fermi and Integral. All sources had consistent sky positions within about 30 square degrees. A fast fading optical and near-infrared counterpart was discovered and studied intensively for several weeks. I will present the results of this unprecedented discovery, the first electromagnetic counterpart of a gravitational wave source, the first identification of a neutron star - neutron star merger and the first direct evidence of the source and origin of the r-process elements. I will focus on the ePESSTO team's results, showing that this remarkable transient truly opens up the era of multi-messenger astronomy.

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