Unfolding the Dynamic and Colorful Lives of Compact Object Mergers
Wen-Fai Fong

The mergers of two compact objects (neutron stars: NS and/or black holes: BH) in a binary system serve as signposts of gravitational wave emission, potential sites of heavy element nucleosynthesis, and laboratories for high-energy astrophysical processes not seen elsewhere in the universe. With the recent onset of the advanced era of gravitational wave detectors, there will soon be an unprecedented rise in the detected rate of these systems. At the end of the decade, the arrival of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope will also lead the community to unexplored territory regarding the timescales, luminosities, and rates at which we discover explosive transients. In this talk, I will present observational challenges for this upcoming revolution in transient astrophysics, with a particular focus on the ground-breaking detections of electromagnetic counterparts to gravitational wave sources. I will also describe ongoing and future efforts across the electromagnetic spectrum to confront these challenges.