WoU-MMA, Collaborative Research: Searches After Gravitational Waves Using Arizona's Observatories

Project: Research project

Project Details


In response to the NSF's Big Idea "Windows on the Universe: The Era of Multi-Messenger Astrophysics" (WoU-MMA), we propose a comprehensive collaborative research program between Northwestern University (NU; PI Fong) and the University of Arizona (UA; co-PI Sand). Our program, termed the SAGUARO program, utilizes a network of telescope resources in Southern Arizona to make significant advances in the studies of multi-messenger astronomy between gravitational waves and light, while building tools for community use. Our program particularly excels in the coordination and observation criteria of the WoU-MMA initiative. The proposed three-year program will bring online a new search capability following gravitational wave events, and become a leading follow-up effort in the Northern Hemisphere. We will also build coordination and visualization tools to maximize the scientific output from the community in this exciting era. Finally, we will use observations with large ground-based telescopes to decipher the the physics of kilonovae and their host galaxy environments. Within our Broader Impacts initiatives, we have two main focuses: (1) building tools that will be useful to the community in the search for GW counterparts, and (2) providing unique research opportunities for community college students to enhance their experiences as they transition to four-year universities to pursue Bachelor's degrees. For (1), we will build a Gravitational Wave Observation Manager to enable public release of our candidates in real-time. For focus (2), we will partner with Harold Washington College through the City Colleges of Chicago community college system to provide two undergraduates with an immersive research experience.
Effective start/end date9/1/198/31/22


  • National Science Foundation (AST-1909358)


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