gravitational wave

Gravity Rules

Along with a group of people from Rose City Astronomers, I visited the LIGO (Laser Interferometry Gravitational-Wave Observatory) facility in Hanford, WA last weekend.  The impressive looking structure in the above photo is actually just a water tank (mainly in case of a fire), but has the best LIGO signage on the site – the LIGO logo, if you like. I’ve written about LIGO and gravitational waves here before, but in case you missed it, here’s a quick summary:  Gravitational waves are distortions of time-space caused by the movement of mass through space.  Their existence was predicted by Albert Einstein […]

LIGO Announces First GW Detection of Colliding Neutron Stars

You probably heard about this announcement from LIGO yesterday, but I thought I should add some details, and shift the emphasis of the story to where it really belongs: The previous detections of gravitational waves (GW) all originated from the merging of large black holes.  Such mergers can produce relatively strong, but very brief GWs – just a small fraction of a second.  And they produce nothing else – no light or other electromagnetic radiation.  Therefore, these observations could not be confirmed by optical telescopes or other detectors. In contrast, this event, dubbed “GW170817” because it was detected on Aug. […]