LIGO & VIRGO Have Just Detected Gravitational Waves More Precisely Than Ever Before!
One of my favourite places to go for an update on all things science is a website called Science Alert. I’ve just read a fascinating article they posted only an hour or 2 ago that states scientists have just detected gravitational waves with the LIGO detectors combined with the newly finished and updated VIRGO (Italy’s equivalent to the LIGO detector), the gravitational waves were created by the collision of 2 blacks somewhere around 1.8 billion light years away. Below is what Science Alert had to say:
A massive international team made history in 2016 when they announced that, for the first time ever, they’d confirmed the existence of gravitational waves – ripples in the fabric of spacetime from the collision of two black holes.
Now gravitational wave astronomy has taken a leap forward with the detection of of a collision between two black holes using not two detectors, but three – vastly improving the accuracy, by a factor of about 10, with which astronomers can pinpoint the source of the waves.
The collision, in a galaxy about 1.8 billion light-years from the Milky Way, occurred between two black holes with masses about 31 and 25 times the mass of our Sun. The single black hole that resulted from this collision is about 53 times the mass of the Sun. It’s the first observation taken using three detectors, and the first for the updated Advanced Virgo detector in Italy, in collaboration with LIGO’s two detectors in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington, both in the US.
The first detected ripples in the fabric of spacetime were gravitational shockwaves caused by two black holes colliding. It was a huge deal – confirmation of the last remaining major prediction by Einstein in his theory of general relativity. Just as radio telescopy was able to detect objects and events in the universe invisible to optical telescopes, gravitational wave astronomy is becoming a new way to discover things we didn’t even know existed.
Since its first 2016 announcement, LIGO made two more gravitational wave detections from black hole collisions. This new announcement marks the fourth. Advanced Virgo joined LIGO for an observation run on 1 August, its first time observing. The detection was made on 14 August. It also marks the first time that scientists have been able to measure the polarisation of the gravitational waves, or the way they distort spacetime in three dimensions.
“As we increase the number of observatories in the international gravitational wave network, we not only improve the source location, but we also recover improved polarisation information that provides better information on the orientation of the orbiting objects as well as enabling new tests of Einstein’s theory,” said Fred Raab of LIGO.
While this is a fantastic achievement for everyone involved, based on rumours that were circulating in August we were expecting the merger to be between neutron stars, but that might be a little more difficult to detect.
Neutron stars are one of the things that can happen at the end of a life-cycle of a supermassive star. The core collapses, squeezing the protons and electrons into neutrons and neutrinos. The neutrinos escape, but the neutrons are incredibly densely packed into a core between just 10 and 20 kilometres (6-12 miles) in diameter.
If this core is less than about three stellar masses, the pressure of this density supports the neutron star. If the core is any larger, it collapses into a black hole.
Because black holes absorb light, they can’t be observed directly. We infer their existence based on the reaction of space around them.Neutron stars, on the other hand, are highly energetic, emitting immense amounts of light. This means that if we were looking at the right place at the right time, we could get real optical evidence of a gravitational wave source.
We could actually see what it looks like when those shockwaves propagate through the universe.The kicker is that they are much smaller than the black hole collisions previously detected by our Earth-based interferometer – around 10-20 percent of the mass. This means they will be much, much harder to detect.
In fact, we may have to wait until the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna, or LISA, comes online in 2034, a space-based interferometer that will be at least five times more accurate than LIGO, based on the performance of pathfinder technology.
In the meantime, Virgo and LIGO are planning to continue their collaboration, with the next observation run scheduled to commence in the third quarter of 2018. And we’re sure they will find more exciting stuff then.
Source: Science Alert On Gravity Waves
The Start Of Gravitational Technology
I believe we are only just beginning to understand gravity and it’s these discoveries that are likely to usher in many new forms of technology and space travel. Such technologies will be new communication platforms, space travel in the form of gravity drives and even time travel as well! Being able to detect gravitational waves that are actually distorting the fabric of time-space is a massive leap forward in our understanding of reality and the cosmos itself, another thing it also does is confirm that Einstein is right yet again the man knows his space-time!
I think the next massive leap forward will come when we are able to generate gravitational waves ourselves, which according to a theory I read LIGO is actually capable of doing however I think it needs massive retooling to achieve this as well as massive amounts of energy currently not available today. Below is a video that explains more about gravitational waves and some of our efforts in detecting them.
I think we will likely end up generating gravitational waves via the extreme concentration of gamma rays. I believe it’s possible that the extreme concentration of gamma rays that actually creates a blackhole, by replicating the same process we will be able to generate molecular black holes, by colliding these tiny black holes we will generate gravity waves albeit on a extremely small scale. This is just my thoughts at the time of writing this post but I would love to hear what you think!
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