Since the detection of gravitational waves (GWs) in February 2016, the scientists from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) have been closer to the cosmic phenomena predicted by Albert Einstein one century ago and his Theory of General Relativity. As we know by now, the theory was confirmed when we saw the image of a black hole detected and processed with the help of all the great telescopes united for this purpose. Also, LIGO shut down for upgrades one year ago, and from April 1st it went back online. The update has the mission to allow LIGO to make more often detections of gravitational waves and black holes.
What Happens after the Upgrade?
Since the upgrade was finished and LIGO has come online, right on April 8th the first two new gravitational waves have been detected. After that, on April 12th, LIGO has spotted a new GW again. Those signals detected by LIGO are a result of the pairing with Virgo Observatory from Italy. Besides this, Virgo Observatory has been upgraded too, so this results in an increased sensitivity of their instruments with 40%.
Moreover, LIGO has a system alert where the team behind the device can send out alerts at the moment of detection to all the observatories around the world. With this on point observation, all the telescopes can point to the source. By doing all those researches, scientists are observing the source of the GW with X-rays, ultraviolet, radio, or in an optical way to learn what causes the events.
Furthermore, LIGO can make a sky-map for showing the possible location of the source, the time of the event, or what kind of event it is. What the scientists know by now, and have made public is that GW can be the result of a merge between a black hole and a neutron star, or binary black holes mergers, or a binary neutron star merger. So with this information, astronomers could look for these events that produce gravitational waves with different signals.
Finally, with the upgrade of LIGO and the increased sensitivity of its detectors, the team is hoping to make more discoveries, to detect more signals, and black holes.
Ben Price is a 30-something-year-old from Halifax Nova Scotia that loves to share his passion for all things Canadian. Apart from running his own YouTube Channel, which uploads weekly videos that cover ground-breaking new technology, he spends his time rowing. In regards to academics, Ben studied Electrical Engineering & Computer Science at Guelph University. Ben covers science and technology stories here at Great Lakes Ledger.