Merging Visions: Exploring Compact-Object Binaries with Gravity and Light

Coordinators: Daniel Holz, Brian Metzger, and Alberto Sesana

Gravitational-wave astronomy is revolutionizing our understanding of compact objects. Black hole mergers are more massive and more common than previously thought and the gravitational waves from the merger of two neutron stars a mere forty megaparsecs from Earth were accompanied by light at all wavelengths. If the present is bright and loud, the future promises even more. Advanced LIGO and Virgo are progressing towards even better sensitivity and yet more detections. Time domain astronomy is exploring the variable sky, catching the photons associated to those catastrophic events. The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) will explore massive black hole coalescences along the cosmic history. Pulsar timing arrays (PTAs) are continuously improving at nanoHz frequencies, and might reveal the cosmic dance of inspiralling black holes of billions of solar masses.

The conference brings together astrophysicists and observers to discuss the progress across the entire gravitational-wave and electromagnetic spectra. We will discuss astrophysical modeling of the source progenitors, population models and rates, implications for the theory of gravity, the physics of gamma ray bursts and kilonovae, the equation of state of ultra dense matter, cosmology with standard sirens, and cosmic history and evolution. Discussion topics will be chosen to exploit common threads between the low and high frequency gravitational wave and electromagnetic skies, as well with the aim of developing prospects for multi-band astrophysics of the common sources.