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From milliseconds to decades: The dynamic Galactic Plane unveiled with infrared time domain surveys


Kishaley De (MIT)

May 31 @ 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Eruptive transients in the Galactic plane offer a unique window into the population of compact stellar binaries in our Galactic backyard — as probes of their demographics, effects on nearby stellar populations and their role in producing gravitational wave sources. While all-sky optical surveys have been instrumental at identifying nearby and common populations, infrared time domain surveys offer a whole new opportunity to i) study rarer events that are obscured behind large columns of dust and ii) construct complete samples of eruptions to study their demographics. Iwill present recent results from a systematic census of the dynamic infrared sky using Palomar Gattini-IR (PGIR) — a wide-field near-infrared survey with a field of view 40 times larger than any existing instrument. By monitoring 8000 square degrees of the sky every night, PGIR has unveiled a plethora of optically missed novae, symbiotic stars, X-ray binaries and young stellar objects. I will end by discussing ongoing work on characterizing dusty eruptions in the mid-infrared sky with the NEOWISE mission, accretion outbursts revealed through infrared counterparts of faint X-ray sources detected in the SRG X-ray sky survey and highlight the way forward with upcoming ground-based infrared surveys, the Rubin Observatory and the Roman space telescope.

This talk will be in hybrid format. Please contact the department office for Zoom information.