Newly detected gravitational wave events to help better understand black holes

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Scientists have detected 39 gravitational wave events that they say will help them better understand the universe, as well as explore its population of black holes and neutron stars. The latest events are in addition to the 11 events already confirmed, bringing the total number of events to 50. According to astrophysicists, this was made possible through technical upgrades to the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO, in the United States). United) and the Virgin (in Italy) observatories. These 39 celestial events were observed from a period between April 1 and October 1, 2019.

Scientists presented GWTC-2, or “Gravitational-Wave Transient Catalog 2”, which contains information on gravitational wave detections made by the LIGO and Virgo observatories. These waves are the result of events such as massive collisions between black holes and neutron stars. Astrophysicists have been observing these waves since 2015, and the last 39 observations were made during the first half of the third observation period, called O3a. O3a took place from April 1 to October 1, 2019, after upgrading the LIGO and Virgo observatories with powerful equipment.

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According to an official statement, O3a witnessed interesting events such as “the second consistent gravitational wave observation with a merger of binary neutron stars, the first events with unequivocally unequal masses and a very massive binary black hole with a total mass of about 150 times the mass of the Sun ”. All of these 50 observations are rich in information on the history and formation of black holes and neutron stars throughout the universe.

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This information will help astrophysicists make progress in their efforts to understand the complexities of our universe. Scientists say that additional detections of gravitational waves also increase their understanding of the general theory of relativity. “Analysis of the second portion of O3 (called O3b) is currently underway and will further expand our growing catalog of gravitational wave transients. After O3, the detectors will undergo further technical improvements to further increase the astrophysical range in time for the fourth round of observations, ”the scientists said.

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