Gravitational Wave Detectors Would Soon Spot Extreme Cosmic Events

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Gravitational wave detectors helped scientists spot black holes mergers, collisions between neutron stars, and many more. Now, these so-called Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) facilities would get an update to spot extreme cosmic events to reveal the secrets of the origins of the Universe.

“I’m extremely excited about the future prospects that the Advanced LIGO Plus upgrade affords gravitational-wave astrophysics,” said David Reitze, executive director of LIGO. LIGO facilities reside in Washington and Louisiana, and both of them would receive upgrades thanks to the US National Science Foundation, UK Research and Innovation and the Australian Research Council.

“LIGO’s twin facilities both contain two 4-kilometer long arms that use lasers to detect minute disturbances caused by extremely energetic cosmic events — like black holes merging. The incredibly high-powered events are responsible for gravitational waves, rippling out through spacetime the same way water does when you drop a rock in a pond. By the time they reach Earth, the ripples are so small that only incredibly tiny disturbances in LIGO’s lasers can detect them,” reported CNET.

Gravitational Wave Detectors Would Soon Spot Extreme Cosmic Events

These LIGO facilities are significant for science. The essential example dates back to September 14, 2015, when they spotted a black hole merger for the first time in history, along with the first proof of gravitational waves.

“We are poised to discover whole new types of phenomena, and we will now receive entirely new insights on familiar objects,” Bryan Gaensler stated at that time. Since 2015, the gravitational wave detectors have spotted ten black hole mergers and one collision between two neutron stars.

“The proposed upgrades will greatly increase the number of events that LIGO will detect. With only 11 under its belt so far, Reitze even expects we might see ‘black hole mergers on a daily basis’ and describes neutron star mergers becoming ‘much more frequent,'” as CNET reported.


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