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Quantifying Night Sky Fluctuations: Striving for a Multi-Messenger Astronomy

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by Rachel Nydegger on 15 April 2013

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Transcript of Quantifying Night Sky Fluctuations: Striving for a Multi-Messenger Astronomy

Rachel Nydegger
Shane L. Larson Ph.D., Mentor
USU Physics Colloquium Quantifying Night Sky Fluctuations:
Striving for a Multi-Messenger Astronomy Challenges of Multi-Messenger Astronomy My Project! Future Work My Project! GW interferometers work more like ears, while EM telescopes are like eyes. I will still analyze these two variable stars for a while. (HM Pegasi isn't up in the winter.)

The script will later be tested on 'blind fields' to find unknown variables.

Once the integrity of the pyRAF script is perfected, hopefully we can integrate it into some synchronized-telescope sky survey such
as the American Association of Variable Star
Observers Photometeric All-Sky Survey
(AAVSO APASS). BUT THEN... How will the the EM observers know that the sudden GW emission isn't a variable star or natural fluctuation in brightness? Developing a python pipeline that will analyze sky variability in IRAF.

Eventually, I hope this code will be used to generate wide-field sky surveys that will be of use for different meter class telescopes. The Big Picture Currently Images of the known variable stars HM Pegasi and VZ Herculis are taken remotely by the Sierra Stars Observatory Network. After retrieval, I begin testing the pyRAF pipeline with the images. Manually analyzing the VZ Herculis field To find the brightness of a star, it must be compared to other stars of similar size and temperature. The sky variability of the field is also analyzed in 5 different places. Field Selection HM Pegasi To determine the code's sensitivity to variance, looking at variable stars with a short period and large change in magnitude is optimal. The employment of gravitational wave (GW) interferometers and electromagnetic (EM) telescopes to better understanding the cosmos. What can be detected? Hulse-Taylor Gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of space-time created by massive celestial objects. Multi-Messenger Astronomy Gravitational wave created by a binary star system There are three LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational Observatory) sites in the US. Two are in Washington and the third is in Louisiana. LIGO & eLISA GRB 070201 Interferometers Multi-Messenger Astronomy GW Detections via LIGO or eLISA-NGO EM Telescopes Tiling the Sky Summary pyRAF pipeline used to detect natural fluctuations and star counts Combining the efforts of GW and EM astronomy, allowing us to paint a richer picture of the cosmos. Binary neutron star system.
The energy of the system has been measured for >30 years.
The loss of energy has fallen off in a predictable way. Gravitational waves emitted by the Hulse-Taylor are too weak to be studied via multi-messenger astronomy, but other energetic phenomena can! Supernovae
Gamma Ray Bursts (GRB)
Black Hole Mergers with accretion disks
Binary white dwarfs Can be studied with GW interferometers and EM telescopes: PSR 1913+16 The SWIFT GRB mission detected an emission in the direction of Andromeda, suggesting the presence of a binary neutron star system.
LIGO, which can observe GWs as far away as 60 million light-years, probed the area, but could not detect anything.
This gave rise to two possible conclusions: either there is no such binary system in M31 or the emission was actually a Soft Gamma Repeater. Once LIGO is running after its renovations, it could be used to better investigate situations such as this. eLISA-NGO is still in the works! (e.g. AAVSO APASS) Concept image of eLISA-NGO
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