Author

Eric Burns

Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Physics

Committee Chair

Rob Preece

Committee Member

Valerie Connaughton

Committee Member

Michael S. Briggs

Committee Member

Judith Racusin

Committee Member

Ming Sun

Subject(s)

Gamma ray bursts., Gravitational waves., Astrophysics.

Abstract

One of the next great discoveries in astrophysics will be the first detection of an event in both gravitational waves and photons. I investigate the most promising event for a joint detection: the merging of a neutron star with another neutron star or a black hole, thought to produce short gamma ray bursts. We investigate the possibility of sub-populations of short gamma-ray bursts by comparing the bursts observed by the Swift Burst Alert Telescope and the Fermi Gamma-ray Burst Monitor. We find no evidence that these instruments are observing different short gamma-ray bursts, allowing us to use the Swift redshift distribution for the population observed by the Fermi Gamma-ray Burst Monitor. I discuss expected rates, joint localizations, and prospects for joint science between Advanced LIGO and the Fermi Gamma-ray Burst Monitor. Additionally, I discuss the unexpected candidate GBM gamma-ray counterpart to the first detection of gravitational waves, a binary black hole merger, the likelihood that these events are associated, and the possibility of short gamma-ray bursts arising from the merging of black holes.

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