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Gravitational Waves & Multi-Messenger Astronomy

Gravitational Wave Data Analysis, Black Hole & Neutron Star Mergers, Gravitational Wave Sources & Their Electromagnetic Counterparts

Image Credit: NSF/LIGO/Sonoma State University/A. Simonnet

As a discipline, astronomy is constantly being pushed forward by new technologies that transform how we observe the Universe. Multi-messenger astronomy is the synthesis of observations using light, gravitational waves, and astro particles. Combining different information from different types of signals allows us to better understand the underlying physical processes that govern how astrophysical systems evolve and change, and helps us get a better handle on the uncertainties and statistics that are inherent to every observation we make. Additionally, numerical simulations are another type of “messenger” that can be combined with observations to better understand astrophysical phenomena. In CIERA, we have broad expertise and interest in multi-messenger astronomy, particularly at the interface of electromagnetic and gravitational-wave observations.

Research at CIERA


Compact objects, such as black holes, neutron stars, and white dwarfs, often exist in pairs which eventually merge. These systems are strong sources of gravitational waves, and their nature and the environment in which they reside has a profound effect on possible associated electromagnetic signatures.

Professor Fong’s group looks for EM counterparts to GW events with observing programs in Hawaii, Chile, and Arizona. They are particularly interested in studying short gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) whose progenitors are likely neutron star mergers with other neutron stars or black holes.

Professor Fragione studies mergers of black holes and neutron stars in star clusters and in hierarchical configurations as a source of gravitational waves, relevant for the LIGO-Virgo collaboration and the LISA mission.



Summer 2023 Research Experiences in Astronomy at CIERA for High School Students

Deadline: 11:59pm, March 20, 2023

REACH (Research Experiences in Astronomy at CIERA for High School Students) is a highly interactive, 3-week program (with an optional 3-week extension) that provides high school students experience with astronomy research in an atmosphere of team-style learning, hands-on training, and mentorship from professional scientists. Students enrolled in the program engage in astronomy research projects with CIERA astronomers.



Core Faculty

Associate Faculty


Research Staff

Graduate Students