Nuclear astrophysics with gravitational wave observations
Gravitational-wave observatories have established a new field of transient astronomy. The most recent LIGO-Virgo-KAGRA catalog, GWTC-3, identified 90 merging binaries, which range from a double neutron star with a total mass of 2.7 at 40 Mpc (GW170817) to a double black hole with a total mass of 150 at 5.3 Gpc (GW190521). These observations have many connections to nuclear astrophysics. They are revealing the remnants of stellar evolution and supernovae in merging binary systems, they are constraining event rates and astrophysical environments for heavy-element nucleosynthesis, and they are illuminating the dense matter dynamics inside the cores of merging neutron stars. Here, I will describe the imprint of dense matter on gravitational waves, the implications of existing observations for nuclear physics, and some prospects for the coming years including the science potential of proposed next-generation observatories like Cosmic Explorer.