Event

Mar 08, 2018 4:00 pm - Nielsen Hall 170 - Colloquium
Scott Ransom - National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO)
Millisecond Pulsars, Basic Physics, and NANOGrav

Pulsars are some of physics and astrophysics' most exotic
objects, and they have already earned two Nobel Prizes.  We currently
know of more thabn 2500 of them in our Galaxy, but a small subset, the
millisecond pulsars (MSPs), are truly remarkable.  These systems are
notoriously hard to detect, yet their numbers have more than doubled
in the past 5 years via surveys using the world's most sensitive
telescopes, new instrumentation, and huge amounts of computing.
Specialized "timing" observations of these systems, accounting for
each and every one of the billions of rotations of the stars, are
providing fantastic results. In this talk I'll focus on the efforts to
directly detect gravitational waves from super-massive black hole
binaries and some surprising new physics opportunities from a unique
triple system consisting of an MSP orbited by two compact white dwarf
stars.