The Computational Relativistic Astrophysics Division
In 2017 astronomers observed both gravitational and electromagnetic waves from the merger of two neutron stars for the first time. This event marks the beginning of multi-messenger astronomy which combines gravitational-wave and electromagnetic observations. Together, the complementary methods will enhance our understanding of extreme astrophysical events.
The Computational Relativistic Astrophysics division focuses on numerical relativity simulations of astrophysical events that generate gravitational waves, solving Einstein’s equations of general relativity on high-performance computers. These simulations play a crucial role in predicting accurate gravitational waveforms for the search in the detector data and for exploring high-energy phenomena such as gamma-ray bursts. The scientists study mergers of binary neutron stars and mixed binaries – binary systems of a black hole and a neutron star – as well as stellar core collapse that form black holes. They investigate the merger and post-merger phases, elucidating the physical conditions to produce electromagnetic signals of the kind detected in association with the first binary neutron star merger observed by Advanced LIGO and Virgo.