Skip to content


Exciting Insights on NS Merger Counterpart Diversity from Observations of GRBs

October 17, 2022

When: October 17, 2022 3:30PM
Where: LCO Downstairs Conference Room

Jillian Rastinejad

CIERA/Northwestern University

With only one joint GW-EM detection to date, it is imperative to harness the full extent of existing NS merger observations to predict the behavior of future EM counterparts to GW events. In this talk, I will discuss the key insights revealed by our past observations of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). First, I will present our comprehensive catalog of optical-near-IR observations of 85 short GRBs which reveals the diversity of kilonovae uniformly observed at a pole-on angle. Against this backdrop, I will present our surprising discovery of a kilonova following a long GRB (duration ~ 50s) at 350 Mpc. Leveraging a premiere suite of multi-wavelength observatories, including Gemini Observatory, the MMT, the Very Large Array and the Hubble Space Telescope, we obtained detailed observations of this GRB's afterglow, kilonova and host galaxy. I will also discuss GRB 211211A's unique high-energy properties and compare our derived kilonova properties to those of GW170817 and past GRBs. Finally, I will review the exciting implications of this event for the fourth GW observing run.

Return to Seminar list

Jillian Rastinejad

Jillian Rastinejad is a PhD student at Northwestern University working with Prof. Wen-fai Fong. She conducts optical and near-infrared follow-up of gamma-ray bursts to study their afterglow and kilonova counterparts. Jillian aims to widen the small population of observed kilonovae, quantify the diversity of neutron star merger outflows and make predictions for the electromagnetic counterparts to future gravitational wave events. She also looks for these astronomical transients as a member of the gravitational-wave follow-up collaboration, SAGUARO.

Recent Highlights