Home » News & Blogs » LIGO and VIRGO Announce a Joint Observation of a Black Hole Merger
Bookmark and Share
Of Particular Significance

LIGO and VIRGO Announce a Joint Observation of a Black Hole Merger

27 Sep 2017, 17:50 UTC
LIGO and VIRGO Announce a Joint Observation of a Black Hole Merger
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Welcome, VIRGO! Another merger of two big black holes has been detected, this time by both LIGO’s two detectors and by VIRGO as well.
Aside from the fact that this means that the VIRGO instrument actually works, which is great news, why is this a big deal? By adding a third gravitational wave detector, built by the VIRGO collaboration, to LIGO’s Washington and Louisiana detectors, the scientists involved in the search for gravitational waves now can determine fairly accurately the direction from which a detected gravitational wave signal is coming. And this allows them to do something new: to tell their astronomer colleagues roughly where to look in the sky, using ordinary telescopes, for some form of electromagnetic waves (perhaps visible light, gamma rays, or radio waves) that might have been produced by whatever created the gravitational waves.
The point is that with three detectors, one can triangulate. The gravitational waves travel for billions of years, traveling at the speed of light, and when they pass by, they are detected at both LIGO detectors and at VIRGO. But because it takes light a few thousandths of a second to travel the diameter of the Earth, the waves arrive at slightly ...

Latest Vodcast

Latest Podcast

Advertise PTTU

NASA Picture of the Day

Astronomy Picture of the Day

astronomy_pod