Princeton Gravity Initiative - Nanohertz Gravitational Waves: exploring the most massive black holes in the Universe - Luke Kelley (Northwestern University)

Nov 6, 2023, 12:30 pm1:30 pm
PGI space (Jadwin, 4th floor)
Faculty, Postdocs, graduate students


Event Description

Earlier this year NANOGrav, along with other pulsar timing arrays, announced strong evidence for a stochastic gravitational wave (GW) background at nanohertz frequencies.  For decades, such a signal has been predicted from binaries of supermassive black holes (SMBHs).  I will present NANOGrav’s recent data and our interpretation of the signal as produced by SMBH binaries.  I will show that these GWs encode a wealth of new information about SMBH formation and evolution.  Now, the race is on for the next expected measurements: detection of anisotropy in the GW background, and individual loud binaries.  These measurements would confirm the origin of the GWs, provide a crucial testbed for the future LISA mission, and open a new multi-messenger window into the Universe.