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LIGO Makes the First Direct Detection of Gravitational Waves

15 Jun 2016, 15:58 UTC
LIGO Makes the First Direct Detection of Gravitational Waves
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

On morning of 14 September 2015 at almost 4:51 am in Louisiana (09:50:45 UTC) the LIGO detectors in Livingston, LA and Hanford, WA detected a gravitational-wave signal we've labeled GW150914 (based on the date). The online (near real-time) data analyses alerted scientists about 3 minutes later that there was something of substantial interest in the data. While vetting this signal (that only lasted about a half of a second) took a substantial amount of time, it opened the new field of gravitational-wave astronomy. We had not only made the first direct detection of gravitational waves but we also made the first direct detection of a black hole binary (pair) system and proved that these kinds of systems really do exist (it was contentious because the formation of one of the black holes was expected to have destroyed the star that would have made its partner).At the time of the posting of this blog, the press conference making the announcement is going on and I am working the satellite event being held at the Livingston Observatory. I will be sure to update this post with the link to the recording or the announcement later (update: see the bottom of this post). ...

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