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Topic: Gravitational Waves

NASA says Gravitational Wave Search Finds Tantalizing New Clue

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA reports that an international team of scientists may be close to detecting faint ripples in space-time that fill the universe.

Pairs of black holes billions of times more massive than the Sun may be circling one another, generating ripples in space itself. The North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav) has spent more than a decade using ground-based radio telescopes to look for evidence of these space-time ripples created by behemoth black holes.

This illustration shows the NANOGrav project observing cosmic objects called pulsars in an effort detect gravitational waves – ripples in the fabric of space. The project is seeking a low-level gravitational wave background signal that is thought to be present throughout the universe. (NANOGrav/T. Klein)

This illustration shows the NANOGrav project observing cosmic objects called pulsars in an effort detect gravitational waves – ripples in the fabric of space. The project is seeking a low-level gravitational wave background signal that is thought to be present throughout the universe. (NANOGrav/T. Klein)

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NASA reports astronomers may have seen light from the merger of Two Black Holes

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA says when two black holes spiral around each other and ultimately collide, they send out gravitational waves – ripples in space and time that can be detected with extremely sensitive instruments on Earth.

Since black holes and black hole mergers are completely dark, these events are invisible to telescopes and other light-detecting instruments used by astronomers. However, theorists have come up with ideas about how a black hole merger could produce a light signal by causing nearby material to radiate.

This artist's concept shows a supermassive black hole surrounded by a disk of gas. Embedded in this disk are two smaller black holes that may have merged together to form a new black hole. (Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC))

This artist’s concept shows a supermassive black hole surrounded by a disk of gas. Embedded in this disk are two smaller black holes that may have merged together to form a new black hole. (Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC))

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NASA’s Spitzer Telescope observes orbit of one Black Hole around Larger Black Hole

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA says black holes aren’t stationary in space; in fact, they can be quite active in their movements. But because they are completely dark and can’t be observed directly, they’re not easy to study. Scientists have finally figured out the precise timing of a complicated dance between two enormous black holes, revealing hidden details about the physical characteristics of these mysterious cosmic objects.

The OJ 287 galaxy hosts one of the largest black holes ever found, with over 18 billion times the mass of our Sun. Orbiting this behemoth is another black hole with about 150 million times the Sun’s mass.

This image shows two massive black holes in the OJ 287 galaxy. The smaller black hole orbits the larger one, which is also surrounded by a disk of gas. When the smaller black hole crashes through the disk, it produces a flare brighter than 1 trillion stars. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This image shows two massive black holes in the OJ 287 galaxy. The smaller black hole orbits the larger one, which is also surrounded by a disk of gas. When the smaller black hole crashes through the disk, it produces a flare brighter than 1 trillion stars. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA Telescopes discover Electromagnetic waves from a Gravitational Wave Source

 

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – About a year ago, astronomers excitedly reported the first detection of electromagnetic waves, or light, from a gravitational wave source. Now, a year later, researchers are announcing the existence of a cosmic relative to that historic event.

The discovery was made using data from telescopes including NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, and the Discovery Channel Telescope (DCT).

A distant cosmic relative to the first source that astronomers detected in both gravitational waves and light may have been discovered. This object, called GRB150101B, was first detected by identified as a gamma ray burst (GRB) by the NASA’s Fermi satellite in January 2015. (X-ray: NASA/CXC/GSFC/UMC/E. Troja et al.; Optical and infrared: NASA/STScI)

A distant cosmic relative to the first source that astronomers detected in both gravitational waves and light may have been discovered. This object, called GRB150101B, was first detected by identified as a gamma ray burst (GRB) by the NASA’s Fermi satellite in January 2015. (X-ray: NASA/CXC/GSFC/UMC/E. Troja et al.; Optical and infrared: NASA/STScI)

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NASA Model gives new information on Spiraling Supermassive Black Holes

 

Written by Jeanette Kazmierczak
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – A new model is bringing scientists a step closer to understanding the kinds of light signals produced when two supermassive black holes, which are millions to billions of times the mass of the Sun, spiral toward a collision. For the first time, a new computer simulation that fully incorporates the physical effects of Einstein’s general theory of relativity shows that gas in such systems will glow predominantly in ultraviolet and X-ray light. 

Just about every galaxy the size of our own Milky Way or larger contains a monster black hole at its center. Observations show galaxy mergers occur frequently in the universe, but so far no one has seen a merger of these giant black holes.

This photo shows a frozen version of the simulation in the plane of the disk. (NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center)

This photo shows a frozen version of the simulation in the plane of the disk. (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

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NASA uses Pulsars to detect Gravitational Waves

 

Written by Elizabeth Landau
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – One of the most spectacular achievements in physics so far this century has been the observation of gravitational waves, ripples in space-time that result from masses accelerating in space.

So far, there have been five detections of gravitational waves, thanks to the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and, more recently, the European Virgo gravitational-wave detector. Using these facilities, scientists have been able to pin down the extremely subtle signals from relatively small black holes and, as of October, neutron stars.

This computer simulation shows the collision of two black holes, which produces gravitational waves. (SXS)

This computer simulation shows the collision of two black holes, which produces gravitational waves. (SXS)

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NASA detects Gravitational Waves from Two merging Neutron Stars

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – For the first time, NASA scientists have detected light tied to a gravitational-wave event, thanks to two merging neutron stars in the galaxy NGC 4993, located about 130 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Hydra.

Shortly after 5:41am PDT (8:41am EDT) on August 17th, 2017, NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope picked up a pulse of high-energy light from a powerful explosion, which was immediately reported to astronomers around the globe as a short gamma-ray burst. The scientists at the National Science Foundation’s Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detected gravitational waves dubbed GW170817 from a pair of smashing stars tied to the gamma-ray burst, encouraging astronomers to look for the aftermath of the explosion.

An artist's impression of gravitational waves generated by binary neutron stars. (R. Hurt/Caltech-JPL)

An artist’s impression of gravitational waves generated by binary neutron stars. (R. Hurt/Caltech-JPL)

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NASA discovers Dual Supermassive Black Holes

 

Written by Molly Porter
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHuntsville, AL – Astronomers have identified a bumper crop of dual supermassive black holes in the centers of galaxies. This discovery could help astronomers better understand how giant black holes grow and how they may produce the strongest gravitational wave signals in the Universe.

The new evidence reveals five pairs of supermassive black holes, each containing millions of times the mass of the Sun. These black hole couples formed when two galaxies collided and merged with each other, forcing their supermassive black holes close together.

Illustration of supermassive black hole pair. (NASA/CXC/A.Hobart)

Illustration of supermassive black hole pair. (NASA/CXC/A.Hobart)

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NASA reports Radio Telescopes could soon detect Low-Frequency Gravitational Waves

 

Written by Elizabeth Ferrara
NANOGrav

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The recent detection of gravitational waves by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) came from two black holes, each about 30 times the mass of our sun, merging into one. Gravitational waves span a wide range of frequencies that require different technologies to detect.

A new study from the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav) has shown that low-frequency gravitational waves could soon be detectable by existing radio telescopes.

Gravitational waves are ripples in space-time, represented by the green grid, produced by accelerating bodies such as interacting supermassive black holes. These waves affect the time it takes for radio signals from pulsars to arrive at Earth. (David Champion)

Gravitational waves are ripples in space-time, represented by the green grid, produced by accelerating bodies such as interacting supermassive black holes. These waves affect the time it takes for radio signals from pulsars to arrive at Earth. (David Champion)

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NASA Thruster system aboard LISA Pathfinder spacecraft

 

Written by Elizabeth Landau
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The LISA Pathfinder spacecraft is on its way to space, having successfully launched from Kourou, French Guiana (December 3rd local time/December 2nd PST). On board is the state-of-the-art Disturbance Reduction System (DRS), a thruster technology developed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.

LISA Pathfinder, led by the European Space Agency (ESA), is designed to test technologies that could one day detect gravitational waves. Gravitational waves, predicted by Einstein’s theory of general relativity, are ripples in spacetime produced by any accelerating body.

The LISA Pathfinder spacecraft, which launched on Dec. 3, 2015, from Kourou, French Guiana, will help pave the way for a mission to detect gravitational waves. (ESA)

The LISA Pathfinder spacecraft, which launched on Dec. 3, 2015, from Kourou, French Guiana, will help pave the way for a mission to detect gravitational waves. (ESA)

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