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New Gravitational Wave Detector Finds Waves From Colliding Black Holes

Image: New Gravitational Wave Detector Finds Waves From Colliding Black Holes
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By    |   Wednesday, 27 September 2017 06:23 PM

A new gravitational wave detector found waves from a pair of colliding black holes just weeks after coming online at the beginning of August.

The European VIRGO detector joined two LIGO detectors in operation Aug. 1. The combined force of the three detectors allowed them to find a new black hole merger, the fourth that has been detected since 2016, Ars Technica reported.

The new merger, labeled GW170814, involves stellar-mass black holes 31 and 25 times the mass of Earth’s sun that are 1.5 billion light years away from Earth, Ars Technica reported. The size of the black holes suggests they might have been formed through earlier mergers or another undiscovered method.

The detectors’ software performs an initial analysis looking for potential signals suggesting a black hole merger, which is then sent to telescopes to see if they can detect any phenomena, Ars Technica reported.

The presence of a third detector means scientists can more accurately pinpoint where a merger is taking place, rather than just what caused them.

“We were so happy, I have to tell you. We celebrated,” Louisiana State University physicist Gabriela Gonzalez told Gizmodo. Gonzalez was a former LIGO Scientific Collaboration spokesperson, and one of the LIGO detectors is in Louisiana. She said the scientists had not expected to see anything in the initial run.

The next joint observation of all three detectors is planned for Fall 2018.

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A new gravitational wave detector found waves from a pair of colliding black holes just weeks after coming online at the beginning of August.
gravitational, wave, detector, colliding, black holes
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2017-23-27
Wednesday, 27 September 2017 06:23 PM
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