MOSFiT: Working Together to Understand Energetic Transients

Speaker: 
Dr. James Guillochon (Harvard)
Tuesday, November 28, 2017 - 4:00pm

The scale and scope of astronomical transient discoveries has accelerated tremendously over the past two decades. However, despite the collection of vast quantities of data and the development of novel theories, many of the biggest problems in our field remain unsolved, such as the nature of dark energy, the mechanisms responsible for most of the observed supernovae, and the formation and growth of black holes. In my talk, I will describe MOSFiT (the Modular Open-Source Fitter for Transients), a Monte Carlo light curving fitting tool that enables theorists and observers to more easily test their models and characterize their observations. MOSFiT connects directly to the Open Astronomy Catalogs (https://astrocats.space), downloading data on demand, and allows users to upload their fitting results directly to the web where they can be widely viewed by others. It has recently been applied to model the panchromatic light curves of the kilonova GW170817, and has been used for large-scale studies of superluminous supernovae and tidal disruption events. Once large-scale transient surveys become operational, tools such as MOSFiT will be crucial in enabling theorists and observers to rapidly respond to new events, make inferences of their parameters, and statistically analyze large transient datasets.