Texas Tech University

Alessandra Corsi, Ph.D.

Alessandra Corsi

Assistant Professor - Department of Physics and Astronomy

Office Phone: (806) 834-6931
Email: Alessandra.Corsi@ttu.edu
Office: 17 Science Building
  • Ph.D. Astronomy, University of Rome Sapienza, Rome, Italy (2007)
  • Laurea in Physics cum laude, University of Rome Sapienza, Rome, Italy (2003)
  • Here is my complete CV
  • Here is my list of publications as returned by NASA/ADS. Please note that this selects also some papers from another A. Corsi (that however are not about astronomy so they are easy to identify!).
  • Selected Publications: see below.

Research Interests

My research focuses on time-domain astronomy (with special emphasis on relativistic transients) and gravitational wave physics.
The largest chunk of my research is currently funded by the National Science Foundation via a CAREER award.
I am also PI of several guest investigator programs (mostly on Swift and Chandra) funded by NASA.

Since the discovery of an association between long-duration gamma-ray bursts GRBs and core-collapse supernovae (SNe), it has become evident that long GRBs are related to a rare sub-class of SNe, which develop highly energetic and collimated relativistic outflows, likely powered by a central engine (an accreting black hole or neutron star). However, it is still a mystery what makes some core-collapse SNe explode producing an associated relativistic ejecta (GRBs). The physics behind the GRB-SN connection is tightly linked to a question of broad interest in the field of astrophysics, namely, how do massive stars end their lives. Massive stars, as primary sources of radiative ionization, heating, and nucleosynthesis products, play a crucial role in the evolution of galaxies and the whole Universe. Their connection to the most relativistic explosions of stellar origin (GRBs) is puzzling astronomers all over the world. Motivated by the key fact that relativistic ejecta in SN explosions can be probed using radio observations, I am working to unravel the missing link between GRBs and SNe using the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA).

Gravitational waves (GWs) offer a remarkable opportunity to open a totally new view of the universe, providing us the chance to answer fundamental questions on some of the most fascinating objects in the stellar graveyard. The Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) has brought us the first direct detection of GWs from two colliding black holes, officially marking the start of a new era in astronomy! Motivated by these exciting results, and as a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, I am working on the study of GRBs as gravitational wave sources, and more generally on joint electromagnetic and gravitational wave studies of transient astrophysical phenomena. My group at TTU is developing and testing new LIGO data analysis techniques aimed at identifying comic explosions and collisions leading to births of neutron stars. At the same time, in collaboration with the iPTF/ZTF team, we have secured time on the Karl G. Jansky VLA and on the Swift X-ray telescope, to carry out searches for radio-to-X-ray counterparts to LIGO events.

Selected Publications

small collaboration papers
Whitesides, L., Lunnan, R., Kasliwal, M.M., Perley, D.A., Corsi, A., et al., "iPTF16asu: A Luminous, Rapidly-Evolving, and High-Velocity Supernova", The Astrophysical Journal, submitted (2017).
*Corsi, A., Cenko, S.B., Kasliwal, M.M., Quimby, R., Kulkarni, S.R. et al., "iPTF17cw: An engine-driven supernova candidate discovered independent of a gamma-ray trigger", The Astrophysical Journal, in press (2017).
*Bhalerao, V., Kasliwal, M.M., Bhattacharya, D., Corsi, A., Aarthy, E., et al., "A tale of two transients: GW170104 and GRB170105A"., The Astrophysical Journal, in press (2017).
*Corsi, A., Gal-Yam, A., Kulkarni, S.R., Frail, D.A., Mazzali, P.A., et al., "Radio Observations of a Sample of Broad-line Type Ic Supernovae Discovered by PTF/IPTF: A Search for Relativistic Explosions", The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 830, Issue 1, article id. 42, 18 pp. (2016).
*Palliyaguru, N.T., Corsi, A., Kasliwal, M.M., Cenko, S.B., Frail,  D.A., et al., "Radio Follow-up of Gravitational-wave Triggers during Advanced LIGO O1", The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Volume 829, Issue 2, article id. L28, 14 pp. (2016).
*Kasliwal, M.M., Cenko, S.B., Singer, L.P., Corsi, A., Cao, Y., et al., "iPTF Search for an Optical Counterpart to Gravitational-wave Transient GW150914", The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Volume 824, Issue 2, article id. L24, 9 pp. (2016).
*Coyne, R., Corsi, A., Owen, B.J., "Cross-correlation method for intermediate-duration gravitational wave searches associated with gamma-ray bursts", Physical Review D, Volume 93, Issue 10, id.104059 (2016).
*Taddia, F., Fremling, C., Sollerman, J., Corsi, A., Gal-Yam, A., et al., "iPTF15dtg: a double-peaked Type Ic supernova from a massive progenitor", Astronomy & Astrophysics, Volume 592, id.A89, 14 pp. (2016).
*Veres, P., Corsi, A., Frail, D.A., Cenko, S.B., Perley, D.A., "Early-time VLA Observations and Broadband Afterglow Analysis of the Fermi/LAT Detected GRB 130907A", The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 810, Issue 1, article id. 31, 11 pp. (2015).
*Cenko, S.B., Urban,  A.L., Perley, D.A.,  Horesh, A., Corsi, A., et al.,  "iPTF14yb: The First Discovery of a Gamma-Ray Burst Afterglow Independent of a High-energy Trigger.'', The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Volume 803, Issue 2, article id. L24, 6 pp. (2015).
*Perley, D., Cenko, B., Corsi, A., Tanvir, N.R., Levan, A.J., et al., "The Afterglow of GRB 130427A from 1 to 10^16 GHz", The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 781, Issue 1, article id. 37, 21 pp. (2014).
*Corsi, A., Ofek, E., Gal-Yam, A., Frail, D.A., Kulkarni, S.R., et al., "A Multi-wavelength Investigation of the Radio-loud Supernova PTF11qcj and its Circumstellar Environment", The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 782, Issue 1, article id. 42, 18 pp. (2014).
*Horesh, A., Kulkarni, S.R., Corsi, A., Frail, D.A., Cenko, S.B., et al., "PTF 12gzk—A Rapidly Declining, High-velocity Type Ic Radio Supernova", The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 778, Issue 1, article id. 63, 5 pp. (2013).
*Cenko, S.B., Kulkarni, S.R., Horesh, A., Corsi, A., Fox, D., et al. "Discovery of a Cosmological, Relativistic Outburst via its Rapidly Fading Optical Emission", The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 769, Issue 2, article id. 130, 16 pp. (2013).
*Corsi, A., Ofek, E., Gal-Yam, A., Frail, D.A., Poznanski, D., et al., "Evidence for a Compact Wolf-Rayet Progenitor for the Type Ic Supernova PTF 10vgv", The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Volume 747, Issue 1, article id. L5, 5 pp. (2012).
*Corsi, A., Owen, B.J., "Maximum gravitational-wave energy emissible in magnetar flares", Physical Review D, vol. 83, Issue 10, id. 104014 (2011).
*Corsi, A., Ofek, E., Frail, D.A., Poznanski, D., Arcavi, I. et al., "PTF 10bzf (SN 2010ah): A Broad-line Ic Supernova Discovered by the Palomar Transient Factory", The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 741, Issue 2, article id. 76, 13 pp. (2011).
*Howell, E., Regimbau, T., Corsi, A., Coward, D., Bruman, R., , "Gravitational wave background from sub-luminous GRBs: prospects for second- and third-generation detectors", Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 410, Issue 4, pp. 2123-2136 (2011).
*Corsi, A., Guetta, D., Piro, L., "GeV emission from short gamma-ray bursts: the case of GRB 081024B",  Astronomy and Astrophysics, Volume 524, id.A92, 8 pp. (2010).
*Corsi, A., Guetta, D., Piro, L., "High-energy Emission Components in the Short GRB 090510", The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 720, Issue 2, pp. 1008-1015 (2010).
*Corsi, A., Meszaros, P., "Gamma-ray Burst Afterglow Plateaus and Gravitational Waves: Multi-messenger Signature of a Millisecond Magnetar?", The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 702, Issue 2, pp. 1171-1178 (2009).
*Gendre, B., Galli, A., Corsi, A., Klotz, A., et al. "The gamma-ray burst 050904: evidence for a termination shock?", Astronomy and Astrophysics, Volume 462, Issue 2, pp.565-573 (2007).
*Gendre, B., Corsi, A., Piro, L., "X-ray continuum properties of GRB afterglows observed by XMM-Newton and Chandra", Astronomy and Astrophysics, Volume 455, Issue 3, pp.803-812 (2006).
*Corsi, A., Piro, L., Kuulkers, E., Amati, L., et al., "The puzzling case of GRB 990123: prompt emission and broad-band afterglow modeling", Astronomy and Astrophysics, Volume 438, Issue 3, pp.829-840 (2005).

Selected LIGO collaboration papers (These papers have as authorship more than 1000 scientists in alphabetical order, so below they are reported as first author et al.)
*Abbott et al., "GW170104: Observation of a 50-Solar-Mass Binary Black Hole Coalescence at Redshift
0.2", Physical Review Letters, Volume 118, Issue 22, id. 221101 (2017).
*Abbott et al., "Search for Gravitational Waves Associated with Gamma-Ray Bursts During the First Advanced LIGO Observing Run and Implications for the Origin of GRB 150906B", The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 841, 89 (2017)
*Abbott et al., "Prospects for Observing and Localizing Gravitational-Wave Transients with Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo", Living Reviews in Relativity, Volume 19, Issue 1, article id. 1, 39 pp. (2017)
*Abbott et al. "Upper Limits on the Rates of Binary Neutron Star and Neutron Star-Black Hole Mergers from Advanced LIGO’s First Observing Run", The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Volume 832, Issue 2, article id. L21, 15 pp. (2016).
*Abbott et al., "Localization and Broadband Follow-up of the Gravitational-wave Transient GW150914", The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Volume 826, Issue 1, article id. L13, 8 pp. (2016).
*Abbott et al., "GW151226: Observation of Gravitational Waves from a 22-Solar-Mass Binary Black Hole Coalescence", Physical Review Letters, Volume 116, Issue 24, id.241103 (2016)
*Abbott et al., "Observation of Gravitational Waves from a Binary Black Hole Merger", Physical Review Letters, Volume 116, Issue 6, id.061102 (2016)
*Abbott et al., "Astrophysical Implications of the Binary Black-hole Merger GW150914", The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Volume 818, Issue 2, article id. L22, 15 pp. (2016).
*Aasi et al. "First Searches for Optical Counterparts to Gravitational-wave Candidate Events", The Astrophysical Journal Supplement, Volume 211, Issue 1, article id. 7, 25 pp. (2014).
*Abadie et al. "Search for Gravitational Waves Associated with Gamma-Ray Bursts during LIGO Science Run 6 and Virgo Science Runs 2 and 3", The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 760, Issue 1, article id. 12, 18 pp. (2012)
*Abadie et al. "Search for Gravitational Wave Bursts from Six Magnetars", The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Volume 734, Issue 2, article id. L35, 9 pp. (2011).
*Abbott et al., "Search For Gravitational-wave Bursts Associated with Gamma-ray Bursts using Data from LIGO Science Run 5 and Virgo Science Run 1", The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 715, Issue 2, pp. 1438-1452 (2010).
*Abbott et al., "Search for gravitational waves associated with GRB 050915a using the Virgo detector", Classical and Quantum Gravity, Volume 25, Issue 22, id. 225001 (2008).

Research Group and Collaborators

Here at TTU I am part of the Astrophysics group.
Below a list of my (past and current) students and post-docs, together with a (likely incomplete!) list of long-term collaborators.

High School
Frank Padgett (GWU, 2014).
Nishit Mishra (TTU Clark Scholar; Summer 2016 - 2017)

Undergraduate Students
- Sibilla di Pace (Sapienza; 2009)
- Maria Concetta Tringali (CalTech/Sapienza; Summer 2011)
- Igor Andreoni (University of Milan/GWU; Summer 2013)
- Derek Brehm (GWU; 2013-2014)
- Ajayi Scott-Robinson (GWU, 2013-2014).
- Matteo Di Giovanni (Sapienza/TTU; Summer 2015)
- Carrah Osborne (TTU, 2015)
- Brody Moore (TTU, 2015)
- Chance Norris (TTU; 2015-2016)
- Deven Bhakta (TTU; 2014-present)

Graduate Students
- Robert Coyne (TTU/GWU; 2012-2015)
- Eric Sowell (TTU; 2016-present)

Post-doctoral scholars
- Dr. Peter Veres (GWU; 2014)
- Dr. Robert Coyne (TTU; 2015-2017)
- Dr. Nipuni Palliyaguru (TTU; 2015-present)
- Dr. Dario Carbone (TTU; 2017-present)

Long term (senior) collaborators (partial list)
- Dr. Dale Frail (NRAO)
- Dr. Avishay Gal-Yam (Weizmann)
- Prof. Mansi Kasliwal (CalTech)
- Prof. Shrinivas R. Kulkarni (CalTech)
- Prof. Peter Meszaros (Penn State)


Below the list of courses I teach. I am usually very hard to reach 2 hours before class starts, since I am getting ready for it. Class material and information for all the courses I teach is available to TTU students on Blackboard.
Fall 2017:
PHYS-6306 (Advanced Electromagnetic Theory) - MWF 12:00-12:50 pm
Spring 2017:
ASTR1400-002 (Solar System Astronomy)- MWF 2:00-2:50 pm
PHYS5101-001 (Seminar) - R 3:30-4:20pm
Fall 2016:
ASTR1400-001 (Solar System Astronomy)- MWF 10:00-10:50 am
PHYS5101-001 (Seminar) - R 3:30-4:20pm
Spring 2016:
ASTR1400-002 (Solar System Astronomy)- MWF 2:00-2:50 pm
PHYS5101-001 (Seminar) - R 3:30-4:20pm
Fall 2015:
ASTR1400-001 (Solar System Astronomy)- MWF 10:00-10:50 am
PHYS5101-001 (Seminar) - R 3:30-4:20pm
Spring 2015:
PHYS5300-001 (Special Topics: Radiative Processes in Astrophysics)- TR 11:00-12:20 am
PHYS5101-001 (Seminar) - R 3:30-4:20pm


Department of Physics and Astronomy