Scientists spot rare gravity waves for the third time

Gravitational waves

And, 67 scientists from 13 Indian institutions are part of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, under the umbrella of the Indian Initiative in Gravitational-Wave Observations (IndIGO). The first two mergers observed by the LIGO Scientific Consortium, GW150914 and GW151226, yielded black holes with 62 and 21 solar masses, respectively.

The 15-nation LIGO Science Collaboration includes 1,000 scientists and is supported by the National Science Foundation and other funding organizations from Germany, Great Britain and Australia.

"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", David Shoemaker, a physicist at MIT and spokesperson for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, said in a statement.

Like the previous two detections, the gravitational waves discovered in January slightly jiggled the L-shaped, 2.5 mile-long (4 km) laser beams that comprise the heart of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO.

"This indicates that there's quite a variety in the type of black holes that emit gravitational waves that are colliding with each other".

An worldwide research team, including Northwestern University scientists and engineers, today (June 1) announced the third detection of gravitational waves - ripples in the fabric of space and time, first predicted by Albert Einstein more than a century ago. Gravitational ripples are tiny: LIGO is tuned to detect waves that stretch and squeeze the arms by a thousandth of the diameter of a proton. They exchange partners until they dance too close and spiral together in a burst of gravitational waves. These templates model how the detectors will react to the passing waves from different mass black holes. "What we do know now is that they do exist and may have played an important role in our early universe".

These discoveries allow scientists to parse out exactly what's going on with the most powerful explosions in our universe, illuminating a way to understand the cosmos as we've never had before. In their final moments, these binary black holes were circling each other hundreds of times per second, as each one spun at 10 times that rate.

While the data isn't detailed enough to rule it out, this means it's more likely that the black holes were rotating in a plane other than that of their orbit. Sometimes black holes spin in the same overall orbital direction as the pair is moving-what astronomers refer to as aligned spins-and sometimes they spin in the opposite direction of the orbital motion.

There are two primary models to explain how binary pairs of black holes can be formed, and both models are being studied at Northwestern. It loves making them and then it loves smashing them together.

This provided astronomers with a big clue on how black holes can come together to form a binary system. The black holes pair up after they sink to the center of a star cluster. "The first black holes LIGO detected were twice as heavy as we ever would have expected".

As well, it proves another of Einstein's theories, which discusses something called dispersion. Various processes could contribute to the formation of black hole pairs, Berti says. We would need an electromagnetic signal. "But the chances are very low".

In 2015 the same 1,000-strong team of scientists detected gravitational waves from black holes 1.3 billion and 1.4 billion light-years away.

What is most impressive about the latest detection is that it was made from a distance of about three billion light years, more than double the distances calculated during last year's detections.

"Here for the first time, we're seeing antialignment is favored", Katsavounidis says.

"GW170104 is half as bright as the first discoveries, but even at that distance it did not lose energy", he said.

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The team, including engineers and scientists from Northwestern University in IL, published their results in the journal Physical Review Letters.

The new observation occurred during LIGO's current observing run, which began November 30, 2016, and will continue through the summer.

After a short break, the sites went back online late January 3, said Dr. Michael Landry, physicist and lead detection scientist at LIGO Hanford.

Every member of LIGO - more than a thousand scientists worldwide- is listed as an author of the paper.

The current data gathering run will go until August, and there's the expectation that the European VIRGO detector will join it in taking data before the summer is over.

Susan Scott, Professor of Physics at Australian National University and a chief investigator at OzGravIn the coming years I am eagerly anticipating the detection of continuous gravitational waves radiated by rotating neutron stars with small deformities or minute "mountains".

"We won't get to point of NASA putting material on the Internet the same day", he said, since processing their data takes months.

The new event, scientists say, also provides new opportunities to test Einstein's theory of general relativity.

For example, light in glass disperses; this is how a prism creates a rainbow.

"It looks like Einstein was right - even for this new event, which is about two times farther away than our first detection", Cadonati said. The merging black holes are probably the most distant yet seen, about three billion light-years from Earth.

"A lot of the elements we see on Earth were not formed in exploding stars but formed in the collision of binary neutron stars", Creighton says.

Scientific and engineering teams at IPR Gandhinagar, IUCAA Pune and RRCAT Indore are actively engaged in the pre-construction activities of LIGO-India.

Landry: "Learn the state of neutron matter, the holy grail of physics".

The galactic mash-up which produced the gravitational waves occurred some three billion light-years away, and marks the science world's third observation of this phenomenon.

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