Ken Moody - Graduate Student
525 Davey Laboratory
My first project combines a theoretical prediction of gravitational wave emission from merging black holes both here in the Milky Way and in other galaxies with observable properties of the clusters that might harbor this phenomena. With this project, we aim to improve our understanding of what background or signals in current and future gravitational wave detectors might be affected by these objects. Observational astrophysics in the visible and X-ray bands could be combined with the observations of gravitational radiation to provide such information as the distance to the clusters where the merging black holes reside, and a possible resolution to the problem of intermediate mass black hole formation and evolution; as well as the evolution of dense stellar clusters.
I am also working on characterizing the number and properties of millisecond-black hole (MSP-BH) binaries in clusters. These objects are the deepest potential wells for which both EM and gravitational radiation are available. By examining the post-Keplerian element of the orbit for one of these objects, which is possible to high precision because of the pulsar, general relativity and its competitors can be tested in an extreme environment. I use a modified N-body simulation code to determine the formation rates of MSP-BH binaries to predict how many will be found over the next few years by radio telescopes.