The Earth is flooded with gravitational waves.
Over a six-month period, the scientists captured a reward of 39 sets of gravitational waves. The waves, which stretch and tighten the fabric of space-time, were caused by violent events such as the fusion of two black holes into one.
Scientists with the LIGO and Virgo experiments reported on the launch of several studies published on October 28 on a collaborative website and at arXiv.org. The addition brings to 50 the number of known gravitational wave events.
The data series, which includes sightings from April to October 2019, suggests that scientists ’gravitational wave observation skills have risen in level. Prior to this search round, only 11 events had been detected in the years since the effort began in 2015. Detector improvements: two that make up the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO, in the United States, and another, Virgo, in Italy – have dramatically increased the rate of gravitational wave sightings.
Sign up to receive the latest from Science News
Headlines and summaries of the latest Science News articles, delivered in your inbox
While the crashing black holes produced most of the waves, some collisions appear to involve neutron stars, ultra-dense nuggets of matter that were left when the stars exploded.
Some of the events added to the gravitational wave record have already been reported individually, including the largest black hole collision detected to date (SN: 02/09/20) and a collision between a black hole and an object that could not be identified. as a neutron star or black hole (SN: 23/06/20).
Gravitational waves occur when two massive objects, such as black holes, spiral and melt. These visualizations, based on computer simulations, show these objects merging for 38 of the 50 known gravitational wave events.
What’s more, some of the black holes that join together appear to be very large and rotate rapidly, says astrophysicist Richard O & # 39; s Shaughnessy of the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, a member of the LIGO collaboration. That’s something “really compelling in the data we haven’t seen before now,” he says. This information can help reveal the processes by which black holes associate before colliding (SN: 19/06/16).
Scientists have also used smashing of smashups to further test Albert Einstein's theory of gravity, general relativity, which predicts the existence of gravitational waves. When tested with the new data – surprise, surprise – Einstein was the winner.