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Perspectives on Matter Effects in GW170817



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Recording Details

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PIRSA Number: 
19100065

Abstract

The detection of coalescing neutron stars via gravitational waves (GW170817) has revolutionized our understanding of the equation of state at supranuclear densities. The equation of state determines how neutron stars interact in a variety of astrophysical contexts, from rapidly rotating millisecond pulsars, to accreting X-ray sources, and, of course, coalescing binaries radiating gravitational waves. I will review the state of the field, including commonly adopted parametrizations of the neutron star equation of state in the context of theoretical expectations, before introducing a nonparametric inference scheme based on Gaussian processes. Nonparametric inference provides much greater functional freedom than parametrized analyses, allowing for the direct inference of neutron star composition and the existence of possible phase transtions above nuclear density. Additionally, I will review the search for predicted secular fluid instabilities within neutron star cores and their possible impact on gravitational-wave signals. This instability couples pressure-supported (p-mode) and gravity supported (g-mode) oscillations within the star, and I will show how GW170817 rules out only the most extreme theoretical predictions for how the instability could saturate. As the advanced LIGO and Virgo detectors gear-up for the second half of their third observing run, we will conclude by discussing the outlook for these measurements with future detections and the implications for broader astrophysical populations.