IFAE contributes to capturing images of neutron star collision

By October 17, 2017IFAE

Researchers from IFAE (Institute for High Energy Physics) are among those who have contributed to using the Dark Energy Survey (DES) camera to capture images of the result of the collision of two neutron stars, the source of the most recent detection of gravitational waves made by LIGO / Virgo. Other groups that participated in finding this result include CIEMAT (Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas), IEEC-CSIC (Institut of Space Sciences), and UAM-CSIC (Instituto de Física Teórica).

This particular violent merger, which occurred 130 million years ago in a galaxy near our own (NGC 4993), is the source of the gravitational waves detected by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and the Virgo collaborations on Aug. 17. This is the fifth source of gravitational waves to be detected — the first one was discovered in September 2015, for which three founding members of the LIGO collaboration were awarded the Nobel Prize in physics two weeks ago.

This latest event is the first detection of gravitational waves caused by two neutron stars colliding and thus the first one to have a visible source. The previous gravitational wave detections were traced to binary black holes, which cannot be seen through telescopes. This neutron star collision occurred relatively close to home, so within a few hours of receiving the notice from LIGO/Virgo, scientists were able to point telescopes in the direction of the event and get a clear picture of the light.

More information on the IFAE website.

Source: Fermilab Press Release