Department Colloquium | The North American Nanohertz Observatory of Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav Project)
Speaker: Andrea Lommen (Franklin & Marshall College)
NANOGrav is a consortium of radio astronomers and gravitational wave physicists whose goal is to detect gravitational waves using an array of millisecond pulsars as clocks. Whereas interferometric gravitational wave experiments use lasers to create the long arms of the detector, NANOGrav uses earth-pulsar pairs. The limits that pulsar timing places on the energy density of gravitational waves in the universe are on the brink of limiting models of galaxy formation and have already placed limits on the tension of cosmic strings. Pulsar timing has traditionally focused on stochastic sources, but most recently I have been investigating the idea of detecting individual gravitational wave bursts wherein there are some interesting advantages. I will also demonstrate how the array can be used to reconstruct the waveform and obtain its direction.