New gravitational wave hits EarthPosted on September 28, 2017
For the first time, three detectors have tracked the gravitational waves emitted by a merger of two black holes — a critical new capability that allows scientists to more closely locate a gravitational wave’s birthplace in space. Gravitational waves are ripples in space and time created when two massive, compact objects such as black holes merge. A paper about the new gravitational wave — known as GW170814 — has been accepted for publication in the journal Physical Review Letters.
The new detections were made on Aug. 14 by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration’s two gravitational-wave detectors in the United States and by the Virgo Gravitational-Wave Observatory in Italy. It is the first joint detection of gravitational waves by the LIGO and Virgo detectors. It also is the fourth announced detection of a binary black-hole system and the first significant gravitational-wave signal recorded by the Virgo detector.
The detection is especially important because it highlights the scientific potential of a three-detector network of gravitational-wave detectors. “The Virgo Gravitational-Wave Observatory joining forces with LIGO is a huge moment in astronomy,” said Chad Hanna, assistant professor of physics and of astronomy & astrophysics and Freed Early Career Professor at Penn State, who has served as co-chair of LIGO’s Compact Binary Coalescence Group, which has detected all the gravitational waves discovered thus far. Hanna is an ICDS co-hire.
“It is our hope to one day detect gravitational waves and to simultaneously observe the source of the gravitational waves with conventional telescopes so that we might learn even more about what causes the gravitational waves. In order to do that, we need to know where to look. LIGO and Virgo together allow us to pinpoint the gravitational wave source in the sky far better than before, which will dramatically improve our chances of capturing the gravitational wave source with other telescopes.”
The new ability to observe gravitational waves with three detectors — two at LIGO plus one at Virgo — opens the door to additional scientific knowledge.
“Virgo adds new capability to the LIGO network. Thanks to Virgo we can now test a key prediction of Einstein’s general relativity, namely the polarization property of the wave,” said B.S. Sathyaprakash, the Elsbach Professor of Physics and professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State. “The two LIGO detectors alone are not able to infer the polarization property of gravitational waves because they alone could not fix the position of the source in the sky. The addition of Virgo as a third detector helps in localizing the source and hence allows us to infer the wave’s polarization. As far as we can tell, Einstein is still right.”
France Córdova, director of the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and a former head of the Penn State Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, said, “Little more than a year and a half ago, NSF announced that its Laser Gravitational-Wave Observatory had made the first-ever detection of gravitational waves resulting from the collision of two black holes in a galaxy a billion light-years away. Today, we are delighted to announce the first discovery made in partnership between the Virgo Gravitational-Wave Observatory and the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, the first time a gravitational-wave detection was observed by these observatories, located thousands of miles apart. This is an exciting milestone in the growing international scientific effort to unlock the extraordinary mysteries of our Universe.”
LIGO is funded by NSF and operated by Caltech and MIT, which conceived and built the project. Financial support for the Advanced LIGO project was led by NSF with Germany (Max Planck Society), the U.K. (Science and Technology Facilities Council) and Australia (Australian Research Council) making significant commitments and contributions to the project. More than 1,200 scientists from around the world participate in the effort through the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, which includes the GEO Collaboration. Additional partners are listed at http://ligo.org/partners.php.
The Virgo detector, located near Pisa, Italy, consists of more than 280 physicists and engineers belonging to 20 different European research groups: six from Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in France; eight from the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN) in Italy; two in The Netherlands with Nikhef; the MTA Wigner RCP in Hungary; the POLGRAW group in Poland; Spain with the University of Valencia; and EGO, the laboratory hosting the Virgo detector near Pisa in Italy. Chad Hanna’s work is supported by the National Science Foundation and the Charles E. Kaufman Foundation of The Pittsburgh Foundation. B.S. Sathyaprakash’s work is supported by the National Science Foundation and the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum.
This article first appeared on Penn State News and has been modified to clarify Chad Hanna’s connection to ICDS. Read the original article here.
- Featured Researcher: Nick Tusay
- Multi-institutional team to use AI to evaluate social, behavioral science claims
- NSF invests in cyberinfrastructure institute to harness cosmic data
- Center for Immersive Experiences set to debut, serving researchers and students
- Distant Suns, Distant Worlds
- CyberScience Seminar: Researcher to discuss how AI can help people avoid adverse drug interactions
- AI could offer warnings about serious side effects of drug-drug interactions
- Taking RTKI drugs during radiotherapy may not aid survival, worsens side effects
- Cost-effective cloud research computing options now available for researchers
- Costs of natural disasters are increasing at the high end
- Model helps choose wind farm locations, predicts output
- Virus may jump species through ‘rock-and-roll’ motion with receptors
- Researchers seek to revolutionize catalyst design with machine learning
- Resilient Resumes team places third in Nittany AI Challenge
- ‘AI in Action’: Machine learning may help scientists explore deep sleep
- Clickbait Secrets Exposed! Humans and AI team up to improve clickbait detection
- Focusing computational power for more accurate, efficient weather forecasts
- How many Earth-like planets are around sun-like stars?
- Professor receives NSF grant to model cell disorder in heart
- SMH! Brains trained on e-devices may struggle to understand scientific info
- Whole genome sequencing may help officials get a handle on disease outbreaks
- New tool could reduce security analysts’ workloads by automating data triage
- Careful analysis of volcano’s plumbing system may give tips on pending eruptions
- Reducing farm greenhouse gas emissions may plant the seed for a cooler planet
- Using artificial intelligence to detect discrimination
- Four ways scholars say we can cut the chances of nasty satellite data surprises
- Game theory shows why stigmatization may not make sense in modern society
- Older adults can serve communities as engines of everyday innovation
- Pig-Pen effect: Mixing skin oil and ozone can produce a personal pollution cloud
- Researchers find genes that could help create more resilient chickens
- Despite dire predictions, levels of social support remain steady in the U.S.
- For many, friends and family, not doctors, serve as a gateway to opioid misuse
- New algorithm may help people store more pictures, share videos faster
- Head named for Ken and Mary Alice Lindquist Department of Nuclear Engineering
- Scientific evidence boosts action for activists, decreases action for scientists
- People explore options, then selectively represent good options to make difficult decisions
- Map reveals that lynching extended far beyond the deep South
- Gravitational forces in protoplanetary disks push super-Earths close to stars
- Supercomputer cluster donation helps turn high school class into climate science research lab
- Believing machines can out-do people may fuel acceptance of self-driving cars
- People more likely to trust machines than humans with their private info
- IBM donates system to Penn State to advance AI research
- ICS Seed Grants to power projects that use AI, machine learning for common good
- Penn State Berks team advances to MVP Phase of Nittany AI Challenge
- Creepy computers or people partners? Working to make AI that enhances humanity
- Sky is clearing for using AI to probe weather variability
- ‘AI will see you now’: Panel to discuss the AI revolution in health and medicine
- Privacy law scholars must address potential for nasty satellite data surprises
- Researchers take aim at hackers trying to attack high-value AI models
- Girls, economically disadvantaged less likely to get parental urging to study computers
- Seed grants awarded to projects using Twitter data
- Researchers find features that shape mechanical force during protein synthesis
- A peek at living room decor suggests how decorations vary around the world
- Interactive websites may cause antismoking messages to backfire
- Changing how government assesses risk may ease fallout from extreme financial events
- Algorithm aims to alert consumers before they use illicit online pharmacies
- Scientists tap AI betting agents to help solve research reproducibility concerns
- Search engine could help researchers scour internet for privacy documents
- Deep learning may help doctors choose better lung cancer treatments