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Characterizing Sky Variability for Multi-Messenger Astronomy

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Rachel Nydegger

on 15 April 2013

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Transcript of Characterizing Sky Variability for Multi-Messenger Astronomy

Rachel Nydegger
Shane L. Larson Ph.D., Mentor
UCUR Characterizing Sky Variability for Multi-Messenger Astronomy Multi-Messenger Astronomy Challenges of Multi-Messenger Astronomy My Project! Future Work My Project! Summary The employment of gravitational wave (GW) interferometers and electromagnetic (EM) telescopes to better understanding the cosmos. 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, it will become a part of the American Association of Variable Star Observers Photometeric All-Sky Survey (AAVSO APASS). They see the sky differently! THE SOLUTION 'Tiling' the field of view of the GW interferometer with multiple EM telescopes! How to you ensure the two observatories see a GW emission? BUT THEN... How will the the EM observers know that the sudden GW emission isn't a variable star or a passing-by planet? Developing a python script that will in IRAF to analyze sky variability.

Eventually, I hope to create all-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 script 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. Gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of space-time created by massive celestial objects. LIGO Gravitational wave created by a binary star system Interferometers LIGO in Livingston, Louisiana There are three LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational Observatory) sites in the US. Two are in Washington and the third is in Louisiana. I am analyzing variable stars to test my pyRAF script so that it may help create sky variability surveys for the use of multi-messenger astronomy.

GW interferometers cannot localize the origin of an emission the way an EM telescope can, but it is difficult to determine whether the random emission is not just a common fluctuation in the sky.

Combining the efforts of GW and EM astronomy allows us to paint a richer picture of the cosmos.
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