Urja Shah

Student NameUrja Shah
Faculty Mentor NameImre Bartos
CollegeCollege of Liberal Arts and Sciences
MajorPhysics , Astrophysics
Research InterestsGravitational Wave Astrophysics
Academic AwardsCenter for Condensed Matter Sciences Grant (2018)
Deans list (multiple semesters from 2018-2019)
USP (2020)
OrganizationsStudents for the Exploration and Development of Space, Society of Physics Students, Space Systems Design Club
Hobbies and InterestsSwimming, music, reading

Research Project

Detection Rate of Eccentric Black Hole Binary Mergers using LIGO data?

The Laser Interferometry Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) has successfully completed two observational runs since it has been operational. The first starting in September 2015 and the second starting in November 2016, both went on for a few months. From these two observational runs, we have access to data on multiple binary black hole mergers. Using this present data, I am studying the potential rates of detecting eccentric black hole mergers. The reason that this presents an interesting study is because we predict the formation of eccentric black hole binaries and their mergers in extreme conditions such as the dense and chaotic centers of star clusters. There are numerous models created for such eccentric binaries from the different environments that they are studied from and each present a varying detection rate based on their eccentricities. I am studying to combine these assumed rates from various models and approximate the actual detection rate from a LIGO observational run. Studying the eccentricities from the models along with their rates will in turn help us understand the origin of the black hole binaries detected from LIGO data. This was previously not accounted for but their eccentricities could help us understand the conditions they were formed in. Another important question that I am trying to answer with this study is whether or not we could see an evidence of the eccentricity in the gravitational wave signal. It is believed that any initial eccentricity in the orbit will be damped by the gravitational wave signal due to the merger but it is unclear as of yet if we would it be possible to see evidence for a stronger eccentricity in the signal.