Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Gravitational Waves Arrive in Europe

Gravitational Waves

Race of Detecting Gravitation Wave

One of the most amazing discoveries of 2015 done by the US gravitational waves observatory LIGO of a distant chirp from death-spiral comprising of two black holes had been an incredible logical, scientific and engineering achievement. Thereafter, other black hole mergers – GW151226 and GW170104 had been recognised. Now mapping out the universe of Einstein together with discovering the most extreme gravitational physics possible – the coalescence of black holes, is a new breed of `gravitational wave astronomers’. The fourth burst of gravitational waves had been announced recently and for the first time, Virgo detector of Europe had taken the initiative.

 The race of detecting gravitational waves could have `won’ them the LIGO observatory of US way back in 2015. However, in an amazing display of scientific cooperation with two of the global scientific superpowers namely, Europe and US, Virgo gravitational waves observatory of Europe tends to operate in close cooperation with the LIGO Scientific collaboration in order to monitor the sky for gravitational wave `generates’. It is said that the scientists and engineers of Australia are part of the LIGO Collaboration through the Australian Research Council together with its new Centre of Excellence OzGray.

Characteristic `Chirp’

At precisely 10:30:43 on August 14, 2016, two of the LIGO detectors one based in the US while the other Virgo detector based in Europe had felt the characteristic `chirp’ of passing gravitational waves. The black holes at this point of time had been around 30 and 25 times the mass of the Sun and nearly 2 billion light years away at the time of mergers. In several areas of scientific attempt, competition has become severe together with hundreds of telescopes distributed all over the world,often a rivalryarises to beat the competition to astronomical encounter which is not always appealing to observe. Considering this, gravitational waves astronomy is quite unique since it does not make much sense in competing.

Besides, gravitational waves, contrasting from light tend to travel through the Earth and therefore do not matter where the Earth is pointed during the time of events. Hence irrespective of where your gravitational wave detector is build, it could be part of a global network. Moreover there are some good dividends which could be earned.

Error Box 

In contrast to the first three gravitational waves identified, the delay this time between the arrival time of the waves at every three detectors could be utilised to `triangulate’the location on the sky’. At first the wave hit the LIGO Livingston detector, thereafter 8 milliseconds the Hanford detector saw the wave and after 14 milliseconds the wave reached Europe much to the happiness of the Europeans.

The existence of the third gravitational wave detector immensely reduced the `error box’ of the origin of the wave wherein the potential sky localisation reached from more than 1,000 to just 60 square degrees.The vagueness in the origin of the gravitational waves for the four events was detected.

Minus the European detector Virgo the error box tends to be quite huge that at times it is not clear which hemisphere it had originated from. The error box for GW170814 is adequately small to perform detailed searches at the other wavelengths.

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