Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mapping black hole collisions gives astronomers (and hitchhikers) a new guide

28.09.2017

RIT researchers in LIGO-Virgo scientific collaboration help pinpoint merger

Rochester Institute of Technology researchers helped pinpoint the precise location of a gravitational wave signal -- and the black hole merger that produced it -- detected by gravitational wave observatories in the United States and in Europe.


Gravitational waves produced by the collision of binary black holes were simulated on the supercomputer at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Credit: RIT's Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation, Nicole Rosato, RIT Ph.D. student in mathematical modeling

For the first time, LIGO and the French-Italian Virgo were used to triangulate the position in the universe where the binary black hole merger occurred 1.8 billion years ago. The black holes are 25 and 31 times the mass of the sun before the collision and 53 times the sun mass after, when a merged black hole formed.

The signal was detected on Aug. 14 by the LIGO detectors in Louisiana and Washington and the Virgo detector near Pisa, Italy. The findings were announced today in a news conference in Turin, Italy, and will appear in Physics Review Letters.

The addition of the third observatory has widened the window on the universe, said RIT professor Carlos Lousto. "We now can pinpoint where those black holes collided in the universe with 10 times higher precision than we had with only two detectors," Lousto said. "Astronomers can look more accurately toward this direction in sky with conventional telescopes to see if there is an electromagnetic counterpart to such cosmic collisions."

John Whelan, RIT associate professor and the principal investigator of RIT's LIGO group, said, "Our Virgo colleagues, who have been collaborating on the analysis since our first joint initial detector runs 10 years ago, have now joined the advanced detector network. We now have, for the first time, three advanced gravitational wave detectors observing together."

Richard O'Shaughnessy, RIT assistant professor, adds that, "with Virgo, we can now reliably point to where a gravitational wave signal came from. We can tell astronomers when and where to point their telescopes."

Scientists will gain a deeper understanding of astrophysical phenomena by combining gravitational wave astronomy with traditional methods using the electromagnetic spectrum.

"Precision pointing makes multimessenger astronomy possible," O'Shaughnessy said.

The current study cites 2005 breakthrough research by Lousto; Manuela Campanelli, RIT professor and director of the Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation; and Yosef Zlochower, RIT associate professor, which solved Albert Einstein's strong field equations. The group was one of the first to simulate a black hole on a supercomputer. Their "moving puncture approach" has been adopted by other research groups and helped lay the foundation for gravitational wave astronomy.

"Our supercomputer simulations of black-hole collisions continue to be crucial to determine the astrophysical parameters of those extreme objects and they provide important information for modeling their history, from the death of their progenitor stars to their final merger into a larger black hole," Lousto said.

The new detection also cites a 2017 paper written by Lousto and James Healy, RIT postdoctoral researcher, and a 2014 paper by Lousto and Zlochower studying extreme black hole spins and mass ratios.

RIT students listed as authors on the LIGO-Virgo paper include Monica Rizzo, an undergraduate physics major; John Bero, an MS student in the astrophysical sciences and technology graduate program; and astrophysical sciences and technology Ph.D. students Jacob Lange, Jared Wofford, Daniel Wysocki and recent Ph.D. recipient Yuanhao Ahang.

Educating the next generation of gravitational wave astronomers is taken seriously at RIT's Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation.

"We perform top research integrating faculty, students and postdocs," Campanelli said. "With RIT and National Science Foundation support, we are upgrading our supercomputer capabilities to solve Einstein equations for binary black holes."

Susan Gawlowicz | EurekAlert!

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth
17.11.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Pluto's hydrocarbon haze keeps dwarf planet colder than expected
16.11.2017 | University of California - Santa Cruz

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>