"NANOGrav: A Galactic Scale Gravitational Wave Observatory", Friday, December 4, 12:00pm, MH 606


Joey Key, University of Texas

ABSTRACT: The North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav) is a member of the International Pulsar Timing Array (IPTA), using pulsars to search for gravitational waves. NANOGrav scientists make use of some of the world's best telescopes and most advanced technology, drawing on physics, computer science, signal processing, and electrical engineering. Gravitational waves span many orders of magnitude in frequency, from the Hubble-length primordial waves that leave their imprint on the cosmic microwave background (CMB), to the gravitational waves with periods of years detectable by pulsar timing arrays (PTAs) like NANOGrav, the hour-long period waves detectable by space-based instruments such as eLISA, and the millisecond period waves detectable by ground-based interferometers like LIGO and Virgo. PTAs thus complement gravitational wave detectors in other frequency bands, accessing the gravitational wave very low frequency (VLF) band to probe supermassive binary black holes (SMBBHs), whose observations can be used to probe the innermost regions of merging galaxies and perhaps reveal the presence of other exotic phenomena.