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Ask Ethan: Why Haven’t We Found Gravitational Waves In Our Own Galaxy?

30 Mar 2019, 14:01 UTC
Ask Ethan: Why Haven’t We Found Gravitational Waves In Our Own Galaxy?
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For the real black holes that exist or get created in our Universe, we can observe the radiation emitted by their surrounding matter, and the gravitational waves produced by the inspiral, merger, and ringdown. But we have yet to detect a merger within our own Milky Way.(LIGO/CALTECH/MIT/SONOMA STATE (AURORE SIMONNET))LIGO and Virgo have now detected a total of 11 binary merger events. But exactly 0 were in the Milky Way. Here’s why.One of the most spectacular recent advances in all of science has been our ability to directly detect gravitational waves. With the unprecedented power and sensitivity of the LIGO and Virgo gravitational waves observatories at our disposal, these powerful ripples in the fabric of spacetime are no longer passing by undetected. Instead, for the first time, we’re able to not only observe them, but to pinpoint the location of the sources that generate them and learn about their properties. As of today, 11 separate sources have been detected.But they’re all so far away! Why is that? That’s the question of Amitava Datta and Chayan Chatterjee, who ask:Why are all the known gravitational wave sources (coalescing binaries) in the distant universe? Why none has been detected in our neighborhood? […] ...

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