PBS and NPR for Southwest Florida
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

We Get the Basics on Multi-Messenger Astronomy

Artist's Rendition of Cosmic Neutrino Escaping Massive Black Hole

When we look up at the stars our eyes see the visible light that’s travelled billions of miles to get here. And when early astronomers first turned their telescopes to the sky, the visible light is what they could see. But, as technology improved, astronomers starting looking at the sky using other forms of light energy, like electromagnetic radiation, gravitational waves, and now even neutrinos and cosmic rays. Each is created by different astrophysical processes, and so provide different kinds of information about their sources.

Last year, astronomers from around the world collectively documented the merger of two neutron stars using multiple kinds of detectors -- and this is what’s called ‘multi-messenger astronomy’. While it’s not new to astronomers, it is a relatively new concept in popular understanding, so we’re bringing in an astronomer to learn more. Dr. Derek Buzasi is a Whittaker Eminent Scholar of astronomy at Florida Gulf Coast University.