Gravitational Waves Flash!

I got up early this morning to hitch a ride in a car to Mumbai so that I can give a talk this afternoon. We left Pune about 6am and got here about 8.30 so the trip was a quite a bit quicker than coming here! I’ll post about that and include some pictures when I get a moment, but first I’ll post a quick announcement.

There will be an announcement on Monday 16th October at 10am EDT (3pm BST; 7.30pm in Pune) by `the National Science Foundation (NSF) as it brings together scientists from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and Virgo collaborations, as well as representatives for some 70 observatories’. Further details can be found here. The European Southern Observatory has also announced that it will be holding a press conference on Monday about an `unprecedented discovery’.

The fact that it involves LIGO, Virgo and representatives of other observatories strongly suggests that this announcement will address the subject of the rumours that were flying around in August. In other words, it’s likely that on Monday we will hear about the first detecting of a coalescing binary neutron star system with an optical counterpart. Exciting times!

I’ll be back in Pune by Monday and will probably be able to watch the announcement and will update if and when I can.

4 Responses to “Gravitational Waves Flash!”

  1. Anton Garrett Says:

    That would be wonderful, and a further vindication – if any were needed – of the recent Nobel.

    What might be learnt by combining the information from the optical and gravitational radiation, please?

    • telescoper Says:

      If there is optical/X-ray/other data there is more scope for understanding the processes involved

      If it is a neutron star coalescence, the combination of gravitational wave signals and optical information will lead to a much better understanding of the structure of neutron star matter (which is still quite a controversial topic) and e.g. how these objects behave during the merging process. Neutron star mergers are thought to produce lots of heavy elements so it will be interesting to see if these can be detected spectroscopically (which seems to be what at least some of the electromagnetic observations were trying to do). And of course there’s the detail physics of the collision itself and the applicablity of GR to both GW and EM signals.

      In many ways this is much more exciting than the black hole collisions so far detected as these don’t produce any EM emission.

  2. […] a hundred people gathered at IUCAA to see this evening’s press conference, which basically confirmed most of the rumours that had been circulating that a Gamma Ray Burst had […]

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