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First Observation of a Neutron Star with Gravitational Waves and Light!

16 Oct 2017, 14:05 UTC
First Observation of a Neutron Star with Gravitational Waves and Light!
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THE OBSERVATIONS At about 8:41 am EDT on 17 August 2017, both LIGO observatories recorded a 100-second long gravitational wave (GW) signal that appeared to be coming from two neutron stars orbiting each other and merging together (this detection is called GW170817). 1.7 seconds later, the Fermi Gamma Ray Burst Monitor detected a short gamma-ray burst(GRB). LIGO's online data analysis, along with Virgo not detecting the event due to its location in a part of the sky it isn't sensitive to, narrowed down the possible location of the gravitational wave source to the constellation Hydra (in the Southern Hemisphere) which overlapped with the area determined from the GRB detection. Both the LIGO and GRB detectors put out circulars alerting the astronomy community to the independent discoveries; an event like this was unprecedented and became a priority target for observation. LIGO also produced a luminosity distance (a method of estimating the distance to the source) of about 130 million light-years.11 hours after the gravitational wave and GRB detections (the delay was caused by the time it took for the Earth to rotate observatories in South America into their nighttime sky), the 1-m Swope Telescope in Chile observed a new point of ...

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