Updated catalog of gravitational wave detections

#GS1 #Geography #GravitationalWaves #GS3 #Technology 

With 50 gravitational-wave detections, scientists at IUCAA and other institutions have updated and released a new catalog.

 

IUCAA

  • The Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics is an autonomous institution set up by the University Grants Commission to promote nucleation and growth of active groups in astronomy and astrophysics in Indian universities.

 

Key Highlights

  • An updated catalog of gravitational wave detections has been released by the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory) Scientific Collaboration and the Virgo Collaboration.
  • The catalog contains 39 new signals from black-hole or neutron-star collisions detected between April 1 and October 1, 2019, which more than triples the number of confirmed detections.
  • This is second updated catalog.
  • With the new catalog, LIGO and Virgo were able to study the properties of the remnant objects produced during the mergers: by measuring the vibrations of these objects, and by ruling out potential “echoes” after the main signals.

 

What is significant about this catalogue?

  • It lists all the 50 black hole and neutron star binaries discovered so far by LIGO and Virgo.
  • It establishes that stellar-mass black hole binaries and their collisions are relatively common in the universe, and that a good fraction of them are heavier than what we earlier thought.
  • This provides clues on the properties of the parent stars from which they formed in the first place.

 

Other key highlights

  • The sharp increase in the number of detections was made possible by significant improvements to the instruments.
  • These included increased laser power, improved mirrors and the use of quantum squeezing technology.
  • All together, these enhancements resulted in a nearly 60 per cent improvement in the range to which signals can be detected.
  • The detectors were also able to operate without interruption more often than in the past, with an improved duty cycle of around 75 per cent vs 60 per cent.
  • With all of these new signals, researchers can better understand the populations of black holes and neutron stars

 

Conclusion & Way forward

  • The results reported in the new catalog correspond to only the first six months of LIGO and Virgo’s third observing run.
  • Currently, the LIGO and Virgo instruments are undergoing upgrades in preparation for the fourth observing run, for which they will be also be joined by the KAGRA detector in Japan.
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