Gravitational Waves Have Officially Been Detected Again

Artist's impression of black holes colliding. LIGO

The event, known as GW170814, is an important contribution to the science of gravitational waves. With every black hole collision we detect, we expand our understanding of these complex objects. Gravitational waves provide the only direct observation of black holes and they allow researchers to test their theories against what we see, including a new test for general relativity. The observations let physicists test the polarization of gravitational waves, which reveal how changes in space-time happen as these waves travel through the universe. GW170814 has helped reduce the possible hypotheses.

LIGO and VIRGO are laser interferometer detectors, and each facility is L-shaped with lasers sent down tunnels to reflect on mirrors and back into the detector to be compared to the original emission. If a gravitational wave passes through, it will change how the reconstructed beam looks. The announcement was given on the eve of the G7 of Science Ministers that takes place in Turin, Italy, on September 27 and 28. Representatives of both scientific collaborations were present at the conference.

The detectors will be now be tuned and upgraded over the next year in the hopes of improving the sensitivity of the instruments by a factor of 2.

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Location of the signal. LIGO

  

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