Wednesday, 07 June 2017 back

Third gravitational waves detection by LIGO-Virgo

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) has made a third detection of gravitational waves, ripples in space and time, demonstrating that a new window in astronomy has been firmly opened. Results confirm new population of black holes.

As was the case with the first two detections, the waves were generated when two black holes collided to form a larger black hole. The newfound black hole, formed by the merger, has a mass about 49 times that of our sun. This fills in a gap between the masses of the two merged black holes detected previously by LIGO, with solar masses of 62 (first detection) and 21 (second detection).

“We have further confirmation of the existence of stellar-mass black holes that are larger than 20 solar masses. These are objects we didn't know existed before LIGO detected them,” says MIT's David Shoemaker, the newly elected spokesperson for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC The new detection occurred during LIGO's current observing run, which began November 30, 2016, and will continue through the summer. LIGO-Virgo is an international collaboration with members around the globe.

Eight researchers from the GSSI Gran Sasso Science Institute are co-authors of the paper published today on Physical Review Letters.

The study also once again puts Albert Einstein's theories to the test and the new data collected still confirmed his studies. The newest observation also provides clues about the directions in which the black holes are spinning. “This is the first time that we have evidence that the black holes may not be aligned, giving us just a tiny hint that binary black holes may form in dense stellar clusters” says Bangalore Sathyaprakash of Penn State and Cardiff University, one of the editors of the new paper, which is authored by the entire LSC and Virgo Collaborations.

 

Full Article

LIGO Official Press Release