Gravitational waves unveil cosmic cataclysm that sparks astronomical gold rush—17 October 2017

Scientists from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery, the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics and the LIGO-Virgo Collaboration have revealed new discoveries made in the ongoing search for gravitational waves.

For the first time, scientists have measured the violent death spiral of two dense neutron stars via gravitational waves, and seen the subsequent fireball appear in the heavens. Never before have we known exactly where in the Universe gravitational waves originate from, or been able to see the colossal events that created them.

It is another landmark astrophysical discovery from an international team including dozens of Australian researchers and the LIGO-Virgo collaboration, and comes less than a month after the discovery of gravitational waves won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics.

“This was the first time that any cosmic event was observed through both light it emitted and the gravitational ripples it caused in the fabric of space-time,” explained Professor Matthew Bailes, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery. “The subsequent avalanche of science was virtually unparalleled in modern astrophysics”.

Media issued by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OZGrav)

Image: Artist’s illustration of two merging neutron stars.
Image credit: National Science Foundation/LIGO/Sonoma State University/A. Simonnet.


Original Published Date: 
Tuesday, October 17, 2017