Student: Frank Ceballos
University of Texas at Brownsville
Degree Level: Bachelor of Science
Internship Site: NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio
Mentor: Jonah Kanner
Abstract: The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) is a large-scale Michelson interferometer which aims to directly detect gravitational waves predicted by Albert Einstein in 1916. The gravitational waves sources that LIGO expects to detect consist of the merging of two neutron stars or a neutron and black hole at cosmic distances. It is anticipated that the coalescence of these compact objects may also produce a short-lived gamma ray burst (GRB). Unfortunately, LIGO is not accurate in localizing the points in the sky where the gravitational sources are to be found. The best that LIGO can do is to constrain a gravitational wave source in an area of approximately 100 square degrees, where literally millions of electromagnetic sources can be observed. So it seems that the simultaneous detection of gravitational and electromagnetic waves coming from a source is highly unlikely. To facilitate the task of searching for electromagnetic counterparts coming from gravitational waves, a list of galaxies within 100 Mpc has been compiled—the gravitational waves galaxy catalog (GWGC). LIGO is now being designed to improve its sensitivity by a factor of 10, which means that it would be able to observe neutron star/ neutron star coalescence to distances of 300 Mpc and neutron star/ black hole coalescence up to 650 Mpc. Therefore, GWGC must be updated to contain galaxies at these distances. We present the results of the updates made to GWGC.
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