Listening to Black Hole Collisions

IGC Colloquium by Dr. Badri Krishnan Albert Einstein Institute, Potsdam

Tuesday at 4:00 PM in 320 Whitmore (1/26/2009)

The goal of gravitational wave astronomy is to employ gravitational waves as a probe of our universe and to uncover properties of astrophysical objects, in particular, black holes and neutron stars. In this talk, I will present recent work aimed at understanding the merger phase of binary black hole coalescences, which are one of the key sources of detectable gravitational waves. A number of recent numerical simulations have been able to model this process accurately and these results can be used to improve gravitational wave searches. I show how the numerical results can be used to construct a phenomenological model which enables us to coherently search for the inspiral, merger and rindgdown phases of binary black hole coalescence using a single template bank. I also discuss the NINJA project, an ongoing effort to bridge the gap between numerical relativity and gravitational wave data analysis.