University of Maryland
4:30 PM Monday, February 7, 2022
Talk Recording

Regina Caputo
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Cosmic Explosions and Cosmic Accelerators

The summer of 2017 ushered in the era of multimessenger astrophysics and the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has been at the forefront. We can now observe the universe not only with light and cosmic rays, but also with gravitational waves and neutrinos. When two stars made of the densest material in the universe smashed together, Fermi observed a burst of gamma rays. At the same time, the gravitational wave from this explosion was observed with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO), setting off a campaign by nearly every telescope in the world to observe the result of the cataclysm. Within a month of this discovery, Fermi also observed a distant galaxy accelerating particles to extreme energies resulting in more gamma rays than it had ever produced before. During this time, the IceCube South Pole Neutrino Observatory detected a high energy neutrino telling us about the fundamental components of the accelerated cosmic rays. Observing multiple messengers from the same source revolutionized our understanding of the extreme universe. The next decade will be one of multimessenger discovery.