Gravitational waves open the door to a whole new branch of astronomy.
For hundreds of years, everything we knew about the distant universe came from the information we gathered from some form of light, be it x-rays, radio waves, microwaves, or visible light. From Galileo's first telescope to the Hubble Space Telescope, they observe only different forms of light. But on September 14, 2015 the LIGO interferometer observed gravitational waves for the first time, a completely different source of information, a completely new way to study the universe.
On August 17, 2017, the classic telescopes that observe light, and the new telescopes that observe gravitational waves, were able to work together to observe two neutron stars crashing into each other, and the consequences of this collision.
Our Group's Related Work
Villar et al. (2018) Spitzer Space Telescope Infrared Observations of the Binary Neutron Star Merger GW170817, ApJL.
Cowperthwaite et al. (2018) An Empirical Study of Contamination in Deep, Rapid, and Wide-field Optical Follow-up of Gravitational Wave Events, ApJ.
Villar et al. (2017) The Combined Ultraviolet, Optical, and Near-infrared Light Curves of the Kilonova Associated with the Binary Neutron Star Merger GW170817: Unified Data Set, Analytic Models, and Physical Implications, ApJL.
Alexander et al. (2017) The Electromagnetic Counterpart of the Binary Neutron Star Merger LIGO/Virgo GW170817. VI. Radio Constraints on a Relativistic Jet and Predictions for Late-time Emission from the Kilonova Ejecta, ApJL.
Chornock et al. (2017) The Electromagnetic Counterpart of the Binary Neutron Star Merger LIGO/Virgo GW170817. IV. Detection of Near-infrared Signatures of r-process Nucleosynthesis with Gemini-South, ApJL.
Cowperthwaite et al. (2017) The Electromagnetic Counterpart of the Binary Neutron Star Merger LIGO/Virgo GW170817. II. UV, Optical, and Near-infrared Light Curves and Comparison to Kilonova Models, ApJL.
Cowperthwaite et al. (2016) A DECam Search for an Optical Counterpart to the LIGO Gravitational-wave Event GW151226, ApJ.
Cowperthwaite et al. (2015) A Comprehensive Study of Detectability and Contamination in Deep Rapid Optical Searches for Gravitational Wave Counterparts, ApJ.