An international research collaboration, including four Northwestern University astronomers, is the first to detect the spectacular collision of two neutron stars in a nearby galaxy using both gravitational waves and light.
The discovery ushers in an exciting new era in astronomy less than two years after the first detection of gravitational waves opened a new window onto the universe. Gravitational waves were directly detected for the first time in 2015 by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), confirming Einstein’s theory of general relativity.
The discovery of colliding neutron stars was made by thousands of scientists and engineers Aug. 17 using the U.S.-based LIGO; the Europe-based Virgo gravitational wave detector; and some 70 observatories, including NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.
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