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SNEWS and LIGO: Neutrinos Tell of Possible Gravitational Wave

19 Jan 2013, 02:44 UTC
SNEWS and LIGO: Neutrinos Tell of Possible Gravitational Wave
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When I start off a tour at the LIGO Observatory, I usually start by talking about how gravitational waves will open a new window to view the Universe. I've done this so many times that I have the talking point pretty much memorized:"Up until recently, we've only been able to observe the Universe using light and its different forms. Visible light, X-rays, and microwaves are just a few different kinds of light and every time we have looked at the Universe in a new way, we discovered something unexpected that revolutionized our understanding of the Universe.Well, light has the inconvenient property of being fairly easily absorbed or reflected away from its path. However, the Universe is transparent to gravitational waves; meaning that they can go through matter and come out the other side unchanged. There is no such thing as a gravitational-wave shadow!"Note that I start by saying that until recently all of astronomy has used light as its tool. This is because there is another medium that has been used: neutrinos. I've talked a bit about neutrinos previously here, namely when I discussed the debunking of the "faster-than-light neutrino" claim last year and how neutrinos are used in multi-messenger ...

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