At the beginning of April, while scientists were working to detect gravitational waves, they, for the third time, switched on their instruments and immediately began to register events that in their interpretation could be known as cosmic collisions. The confirmation for all five trigger events is still needed. Roland Peas from BBC examines how much help comes from telescopes around the world.
At two in the morning, Mansi Kasliwal’s phone’s alert went off. She squinted at the message being woken up from such a deep sleep. The text came from the Nobel Prize-winning scientific collaboration that operates gravitational wave detectors, LIGO. Ripples were sent by a far-off violent event in space-time through the Universe so the sensor in Louisiana of LIGO would pick it up, and the data shows that visible “fireworks” should be there as well.
Scientists detected gravitational waves caused by cosmic collisions
Offering a reaction could be done without her leaving the bed thanks to the smartphone revolution. After a few taps on the screen, she programmed the start of a hunt for the robotic telescope on Mount Palomar, Zwicky Transient Facility.
The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, LIGO, and VIRGO, its European counterpart, received some upgrades that should make them spot events that distort the space several times a week such as the collisions of neutron stars and black holes. At the start of April, since they started running again, the expectations are holding up: three last week and two in the second week.
Even though we are still waiting on the confirmation for the first three, those were like the first, Nobel-anointed event detected in 2015, probably collisions between black holes. Mansi Kasliwal was woken up by the next that took place on 25th of April because the gravitational ripples hinted at the involvement of neutron stars.