NICER to the Space Station: Astrophysics of Neutron Stars and Black Holes via X-ray Astronomy
Dr. Ronald Remillard
NASA’s Neutron star Interior Composition ExploreR (“NICER”), will be launched to the International Space Station. The NICER detector team at the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics has delivered Si drift detectors and signal processing electronics for the 56 cameras that constitute the Instrument. The cameras are sensitive to X-ray photons in the range 0.2-12 keV, and each event will be time-tagged with an instrument clock that ticks at 40 ns. This talk will review the science goals, the instrument technology, and the calibration equipment that allows us to accomplish requirements, including the achievement of timing accuracy to 100 ns in the Solar System barycenter.
The Era of Gravitational-wave Astronomy
Dr. Carl Rodriguez
A billion years ago in a distant galaxy, two black holes collided, releasing more energy than the combined starlight of the entire universe. A billion years later on September 14th, 2015, LIGO observed these energetic ripples in spacetime as they traveled past Earth, officially beginning the era of gravitational-wave astronomy. But what are gravitational waves, and how do we use them for astronomy? In this talk I’ll describe how black holes come together and merge, and how different features of gravitational waves allow us to answer questions about the dark side of the universe. I’ll also describe other discoveries–beyond black holes–that LIGO is expected to make in the coming years.
No enrollment limit for talks, no advance sign-up required.