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LIGO and VIRGO announce four new gravitational-wave detections

3 Dec 2018, 15:13 UTC
LIGO and VIRGO announce four new gravitational-wave detections
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An artist’s impression of two black holes nearing a catastrophic merger. Image: SXS, the Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes (SXS) project
On Saturday, 1 December, scientists attending the Gravitational Wave Physics and Astronomy Workshop in College Park, Maryland, presented new results from the National Science Foundation’s LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) and the European- based VIRGO gravitational-wave detector regarding their searches for coalescing cosmic objects, such as pairs of black holes and pairs of neutron stars.
The LIGO and Virgo collaborations have now confidently detected gravitational waves from a total of 10 stellar-mass binary black hole mergers and one merger of neutron stars, which are the dense, spherical remains of stellar explosions. Six of the black hole merger events had been reported before, while four are newly announced.
From 12 September 2015, to 19 January 2016, during the first LIGO observing run since undergoing upgrades in a program called Advanced LIGO, gravitational waves from three binary black hole mergers were detected. The second observing run, which lasted from 30 November 30 2016 to 25 August 2017, yielded one binary neutron star merger and seven additional binary black hole mergers, including the four new gravitational-wave events being reported now. The new events are ...

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