For the first time, astronomers spot 'kilonova' collision of neutron stars

Video This artist’s view shows the moments before and the nine days following a kilonova. Two neutron stars spiral inward creating gravitational waves. After the merger a jet produces gamma rays, while expanding radioactive debr

Video This artist’s view shows the moments before and the nine days following a kilonova. Two neutron stars spiral inward creating gravitational waves. After the merger a jet produces gamma rays, while expanding radioactive debr

Gravitational waves is one of the cleanest way to compute the number and preliminary computation from LIGO data yields a value of 70 kilometres per second per megaparsec.

This much science fiction can be inferred by the layperson from the findings of the European Southern Observatory (ESO), which has announced the first direct, visual identification of the source of a gravitational wave - the very one detected by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) on August 17.

Three detectors - two in the US and one in Italy - observed the gravitational-wave signals when they first occurred, Kalogera said. "We can do astrophysics with different telescopes, instruments and tools: gravitational interferometers (advanced LIGO-Virgo) and electromagnetic facilities (optical and radio telescopes and gamma and X-ray satellites)", explains Pian.

"On that morning, all of our dreams came true".

Officials at the National Science Foundation, LIGO, MIT, Caltech, and other institutions have now made a second groundbreaking announcement, the detection of gravitational waves from another astronomical event, the merging of two neutron stars.

Swinburne hosts the $31.3 million Australian Research Council's Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav) which was established past year to capitalise on the original discovery of gravitational waves.

In a million years, the cloud will spread across the whole galaxy, seeding stars and their solar systems with heavy elements.

Particularly dense neutron stars collapse fairly quickly into black holes, but smaller ones whizz around the Universe for a while - some emitting beams of radiation like a lighthouse that we see from time to time from Earth (these are called "pulsars").

A neutron star forms when a star much bigger and brighter than the sun exhausts its thermonuclear fuel supply and explodes into a violent supernova.

Previously, scientists knew where the lighter elements in the periodic table were synthesized. In the earlier stages of the universe, only lighter elements like hydrogen and helium existed (in significant quantities, at least).

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"But the origin of half the elements heavier than iron has been uncertain", the team said.

Artist concept of neutron star falling into its neighbor.

How does a neutron star crash form gold and uranium? Our paper will appear in Nature on October 16. For several decades we have observed these gamma ray bursts, but without knowing for sure what causes them.

LIGO scientists held their first press conference in February 2016 to announce the first detection of a gravitational wave.

NSF director France A. Córdova also hailed the result, saying: "This discovery realizes a long-standing goal many of us have had: that is, to simultaneously observe rare cosmic events using both traditional as well as gravitational-wave observatories". But Smartt added that, by the time dusk fell in Paranal, the LIGO-Virgo collaboration had refined their localization of the GW signal, to the extent that searching for an electromagnetic counterpart became feasible.

UM Physics Professor Keith Riles, who is the leader of the Michigan Gravitational Wave Group and a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration's Detection Committee, said the discoveries are among the most significant and exciting he has witnessed in his career. A neutron star is about 20 kilometres in diameter and is so dense that a teaspoon of neutron star material has a mass of about a billion tons.

Unlike black hole mergers, which are void of visible light, neutron stars can be observed with regular telescopes.

Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves way back in 1915 on the basis of his theory of general relativity.

As the oscillation of electric charge in the magnetic field produce electromagnetic waves, oscillation of masses in a gravitational field, Einstein said, would produce gravitational waves. "So you can observe the waves for a long time, and get a nice, long, handsome signal", Laura Cadonati, a LIGO collaborator and professor of physics at Georgia Institute of Technology, told the publication. He is hopeful that that planned LIGO-India detector, jointly funded by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the Department of Science & Technology (DST), "will increase the sensitivity of the worldwide gravitational-wave network and help pinpoint the exact location of the gravitational wave event".

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