Gravitational Waves Observed For A Second Time

Black holes merging and producing gravitational waves. Tim Pyle

“With detections of two strong events in the four months of our first observing run, we can begin to make predictions about how often we might be hearing gravitational waves in the future,” said Caltech’s Albert Lazzarini, deputy director of the LIGO Laboratory, in a statement. “LIGO is bringing us a new way to observe some of the darkest yet most energetic events in our universe.”

LIGO collected data from September 2015 until January, and the team is currently busy analyzing the observations. “This study covers the full data set but it looked for binary systems, specifically binary black holes,” said Dr Sutton. “There are other possible sources that could produce gravitational waves.” Other sources that could potentially be detected are supernovae, pulsars and even signals from the Big Bang.

LIGO is now undergoing some checks before being turned back on later this year, and it is expected to observe 1.5 to two times more volume of the universe. The Virgo observatory, which is based in Italy, will also commence its operations late this year. Having three gravitational wave detectors will allow scientists to determine with accuracy where the signals are coming from. 

The age of gravitational astronomy has truly begun.

content-1466003119-ligo-events-timeline.LIGO Timeline. Tim Pyle

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