First Detection of Light and Gravitational Waves from Double Neutron Stars

 Image Credit: Chris Evans & Karan Jani


Gravitational waves and light was observed for the first time!

On August 17, 2017 a new era in multi-messenger Astronomy has begun with gravitational waves and light combining forces to make powerful new discoveries.  LIGO, Virgo and a world-wide array of electromagnetic telescopes detected a Double Neutron star system with both gravitational wave and electromagnetic emission.  On October 16, 2017, the the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, Virgo Collaboration, and its partners announced the first observation of gravitational-waves from a pair of inspiraling neutron stars. 

This  is an incredible moment in astronomy, providing new insights about the engines that power our universe. One long standing problem was solved, this detection proves that the merger of neutron stars cause short Gamma Ray Bursts!

A new intrigue has arisen since the Gamma Ray Burst appears dimmer than typical at the location of the neutron star merger, in fact the X-ray emission was very faint- is it beamed and we are not looking down the beam of gamma rays?

The image above is of the gravitational waves (left) and the matter density (right) of the inspiralling neutron stars.  This images are generated by solving Einstein’s equations of the neutron stars using GT’s numerical relativity code.

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