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CIERA Astronomers Help Detect Colliding Neutron Stars for the First Time

Vicky Kalogera with fellow NSF panelist David Reitze, LIGO Lab Executive Director and Northwestern Physics Alumnus (’83). Learn more about David Reitze.

On October 16, 2017, scientists announced the first-ever observation of a binary neutron star inspiral and merger—this astronomical event will provide a powerful new way to understand the lives of stars and how they die and join the galactic graveyard.

Vicky Kalogera, CIERA Director and Daniel I. Linzer Distinguished University Professor in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, served as lead astrophysicist on the panel at the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) press conference announcing the discovery.

Anticipated by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) for more than 20 years, this merger represents the first joint detection of an astronomical event using two astronomical observing techniques: gravitational waves and electromagnetic radiation. Together these approaches are known as “multi-messenger astronomy”. Gravitational waves were the subject of 2017’s Nobel Prize in Physics, and multi-messenger astronomy was named one of the NSF’s 10 Big Ideas for future scientific investment. Northwestern is currently one of the few universities in the world with expertise on both sides of this cutting-edge field.

Watch the full press conference, featuring Vicky Kalogera.
Learn more from CIERA researcher interviews at Northwestern’s LIGO Media Gallery.
Go Behind the Scenes as Vicky Kalogera prepares to share this groundbreaking news at the NSF Press Conference.
Read the Northwestern News story for more details on this exciting discovery, and watch Vicky Kalogera’s NN TV interview.
View the Northwestern Special Feature, for videos, podcast, and featuring CIERA astronomers involved in the discovery!
Listen to Vicky Kalogera discuss the merger on Science Friday:

These collected news stories contain quotes and interviews from various CIERA/Northwestern researchers involved in the multi-messenger detection.

October 16, 2017

October 17, 2017

October 18, 2017

  • “Astronomers Detect Collision Of Neutron Stars, Universe’s ‘Greatest Fireworks Show’” by Denise Bradley for Newburgh Gazette.

October 20, 2017

October 22, 2017

October 26, 2017

November 1, 2017

  • “Neutron Stars Make Waves with Heavy Metal Light Show” by Meg Evans Smith for Evanston Roundtable.

November 8, 2017

December 13, 2017

December 21, 2017

December 28, 2017