illustration of particles from astrophysical source
Particles emitted by a distant black hole interact and propagate toward Earth, where neutrinos and gamma-rays are observed. (IceCube/NASA)

The recent discovery of gravitational waves and high-energy neutrinos from astrophysical sources has opened new windows of exploration to the Universe. These observations, combined with sensitive electromagnetic measurements with space- and ground-based instruments can tell us about some of the most extreme cosmic environments, such as the supermassive black holes at the centers of distant galaxies, or the collisions of neutron stars. Gamma rays play a critical role in this new era of “multimessenger” astronomy, as they are both connected to the production of neutrinos and some classes of gravitational wave sources.

The gamma-ray group at UA, led by Dr. Marcos Santander, has received a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation that will support multimessenger searches of neutrino and gravitational wave sources using the VERITAS observatory, a ground-based gamma-ray telescope array located in southern Arizona. The grant will also support the group’s contributions to the development of a next-generation gamma-ray telescope for the Cherenkov Telescope Array project. This work complements the neutrino astrophysics program at UA, led by Dr. Dawn Williams and Dr. Santander, that focuses on the IceCube neutrino observatory located at the South Pole.

Other members of the gamma-ray group are physics graduate student Weidong Jin and CS undergrad Jake Powell (a Randall research scholar). Physics, astronomy and CS undergraduate students interested in this line of research are encouraged to contact Santander for potential research projects. See here for contact info: https://msantander.people.ua.edu/