Science Literacy Week: Public Lecture-Neutron Stars and Gravitational Waves
Wednesday, Sept. 19, 8-9 p.m.
Presented by Dr. Ivan Booth, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Faculty of Science, Memorial University, in conjunction with the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, St. John’s Centre
Massive dying stars explode as supernovae leaving behind neutron star or black hole remnants. Neutron stars are the most extreme states of directly observable matter in the universe. Weighing up to two solar masses, they are essentially 10km radius atomic nuclei held together by their own massive gravitational fields. With a little more mass they would collapse into a black hole.
On August 17, 2017 the gravitational wave observatory LIGO tracked its sixth gravitational wave signal. While the first five were mergers of pairs of black holes, this one was different and had the signature of the collision of two neutron stars. That observation triggered the largest ever astronomical collaboration: all the large telescopes in the world immediately turned to observe the event. Ultimately dozens of papers were published simultaneously ranging over astrophysics, nuclear physics, general relativity, cosmology and quantum gravity. It has been estimated that one-third of the worlds astronomers were co-authors on the summary paper!
These observations marked the birth of multi-messenger astronomy: the same event observed with both electromagnetic and gravitational waves. We are now in a new era for astronomy, general relativity, and astrophysics. In this talk we’ll discuss gravitational waves, black holes and neutron stars, the amazing observations of the last few years and preview what’s coming in the next few years. It’s only going to get better!
Program is free and registration is not required. Everyone is welcome. All children must be accompanied by an adult.
Presented by Departments of Physics and Physical Oceanography and Mathematics and Statistics