for Gravitational Wave Astronomy Receives National Science Foundation Grant
NSF Office of International Science and Engineering made this award under the
funding opportunity “Catalyzing New International Collaborations.”
is the start of a new and exciting venture,” said Dr. Mario C. Diaz, Director of the
Center for Gravitational Wave Astronomy and a Professor in the Department of
Physics and Astronomy
in the College of
Science, Mathematics and Technology. “If we succeed we may have the
opportunity to observe very rare and remote cataclysmic events. These events
could be the furnaces where the heaviest and less abundant chemical elements we
found in the universe are made. They could also be the most common source of
gravitational waves. And this success will let us watch and listen at the same
time to a major chord of the large cosmic symphony.”
goal of this project is to establish a partnership between American and
Argentine astronomers to build and operate an astronomical facility in Cordon
Macon, a mountain located in the Atacama highlands of Northwestern Argentina.
The Atacama plateau is the driest place in the world, making it ideal for
Physics students work in the Arecibo Remote Command Center at The University of Texas at Brownsville.
facility would be dedicated to observe and study astronomical phenomena like
explosions of massive stars and the collision of pairs of neutron stars. These
rare cataclysmic collisions are most likely associated with the emission of
very energetic particles called gamma ray bursts and could well be the origin
of the production of heavy elements found only in small amounts on earth like
gold. The radioactive glow of these explosions could be detected as what astronomers
have called a kilonova and also be a source of gravitational waves that could
travel far away and be detected on earth with very powerful lasers detectors
like LIGO observations.
like these could be helpful to make simultaneous observations of these events
with different instruments and confirm gravitational wave detections.
grant will pay for travel to Argentina by scientists and students from The
University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas A&M University, the American
institutions partnering in this collaboration with Argentine astronomers.
more information, contact Dr. Mario C. Diaz, Director of the Center for
Gravitational Wave Astronomy at 956-882-6690 or Mario@phys.utb.edu.