More Research Needed Into Gravitational Wave Astronomy
For the second time in history, astrophysicists have just announced that they have directly detected gravitational waves caused by the collision of two black holes.
An Australian team has been analyzing data collected by the two Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors in the US that picked up the first historic gravitational wave signal for months ago, and were actually able to watch two black holes orbiting each other 27 times in their last second before colliding.
Team member Susan Scott, an astrophysicist from the Australian National University in Canberra said, “This has cemented the age of gravitational wave astronomy. This shows data is going to flow, that will enable us to map a lot more of the Universe than we’ve seen before.”
Their research states that the detected gravitational waves were caused by the collision of two black holes that are up to 14 times the size of our Sun, with the blast signal lasting 10 times longer than that of the first gravitational wave, allowing the team the chance to analyse it.
Team member Rob Ward adds “I’d always imagined there would be electromagnetic counterparts in our first discoveries, but instead we found these invisible collisions of black holes purely through the gravitational waves they emitted, with no counterparts at all. Gravitational wave astronomy is going to revolutionize our understanding of the Universe.”
The researchers conclude that the collision happened 1.4 billion years ago, in a galaxy so distant, that the resulting shock waves have only just reached us and their analysis has been published in Physical Review Letters.