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Merry Christmas, LIGO: Another Gravitational Wave!

15 Jun 2016, 19:40 UTC
Merry Christmas, LIGO: Another Gravitational Wave!
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

WE DETECTED ANOTHER GRAVITATIONAL WAVE!On the evening of Christmas day 2015, at 9:38 pm CST (3:38 am UTC) at the LIGO Livingston Observatory in Louisiana, another gravitational wave signal was recorded. 1.1 ms later, the LIGO Hanford Observatory in Washington state also picked up the same signal. 70 seconds later, the supercomputer that runs analyses on the near real-time data noticed that there was something special in the data and sent out emails and text messages that some of us affectionately call the "Bat Signal". This goes out to scientists primarily to summon those who evaluate candidate gravitational wave events to determine if this event should be shared with traditional astronomers (i.e. ones with telescopes). I am on the list because I am interested in keeping up on the latest results. I remember exactly where I was: I was in my room at my mother's house outside of Pittsburgh changing clothes after getting back from visiting the in-laws (who live within a few miles of my family's home) for Christmas. I looked at the event record and saw that this was an extraordinary candidate gravitational wave in that its statistical significance was high but the signal wasn't as obvious in ...

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