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In February of 2016, scientists at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) announced the first-ever detection of gravitational waves (GWs). Since then, multiple events have been detected, providing insight into a cosmic phenomena that was predicted over a century ago by Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity.
A little over a year ago, LIGO was taken offline so that upgrades could be made to its instruments, which would allow for detections to take place “weekly or even more often.” After completing the upgrades on April 1st, the observatory went back online and performed as expected, detecting two probable gravitational wave events in the space of two weeks.
LIGO - GW - Events - April - Announcement
LIGO announced the first of the two new GW events on April 8th, which was followed by a second announcement on April 12th. The signals were detected thanks to the three-facility collaboration between LIGO and the Virgo Observatory in Italy, and both are believed to have been the result of a pair of black holes merging.
Thanks to upgrades made to both LIGO and Virgo, this scientific collaboration has been able to increase the sensitivity of its instruments by about 40%. For their third observation run (dubbed O3), the astronomical community also benefited from a new public alert system, where the LIGO team sends out alerts the moment detections are made so that observatories around the world can point their telescopes at the source.
Source - Wavelengths - Radio - Scientists - GW
By observing the source in different wavelengths (optical, X-ray, ultraviolet, radio, etc.), scientists hope to learn more about what causes GW events and about the dynamics behind them. For these latest detections, a team of scientists from Penn State University – led by Chad Hanna, an associate professor of physics, astronomy and astrophysics – played a vital role.
As Cody Messick, a graduate student in physics at Penn State and member of the LIGO team,...
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