Recently Detected Gravitational Wave Events to Help Better Understand Black Holes
Scientists have detected 39 gravitational wave events that they say will further help them understand the universe, as well as explore its population of black holes and neutron stars. The latest events are in addition to the 11 already confirmed events, bringing the total number of events to 50. According to astrophysicists, this has been made possible by engineering improvements at the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory, in the US) and Virgo (in Italy) observatories. These 39 celestial events have been observed in a period between April 1 and October 1, 2019.
Scientists have presented GWTC-2, or “Catalog of Gravitational Wave Transients 2”, which contains information on the detections of gravitational waves made by the LIGO and Virgo observatories. These waves are the result of events such as massive collisions between black holes and neutron stars. Astrophysicists have been observing these waves since 2015, and the last 39 observations were made during the first half of the third observation period, called O3a. O3a ran from April 1 to October 1, 2019, after the LIGO and Virgo observatories were updated with powerful equipment.
According to an official statement, O3a witnessed interesting events such as “the second gravitational wave observation consistent with a merger of binary neutron stars, the first events with unequivocally unequal masses, and a very massive binary black hole with a total mass of approximately 150 times that of mass of the Sun ”. All of these 50 observations contain a wealth of information about the history and formation of black holes and neutron stars throughout the universe.
The information will help astrophysicists advance their efforts to understand the complexities of our universe. Scientists say that additional gravitational wave detections also increase their understanding of the General Theory of Relativity. “Analysis of the second portion of O3 (called O3b) is currently in progress and will further expand our growing catalog of transient gravitational waves. After O3, the detectors will undergo further engineering improvements to further increase the astrophysical range in time for the fourth observation run, ”the scientists said.