“The LIGO and Virgo gravitational wave detectors are set to resume their hunt for gravitational waves on April 1. This go-around, they’ll be even more sensitive thanks to a set of upgrades to their lasers, mirrors, and other components. This next run will be a big deal—for different reasons than the first two observation sessions.
We’ve officially entered an era in which two black holes slamming together in an unfathomable collision that sends ripples through spacetime itself—ripples that we can actually detect—is “routine.” But scientists aren’t worried about most of the individual collisions anymore. Instead, they’re interested in the behavior of our Universe more generally—about how black holes can end up colliding, what kinds of places in the Universe are home to these sorts of black-hole-slamming environments, and whether black holes grow through a sort of chaotic family tree of mergers.
“We’re expecting tens of events in our upcoming observing run,” Christopher Berry, CIERA Board of Visitors research professor at Northwestern University, told Gizmodo. “It could really dramatically change what we know about the population of black holes.”
Read the full article, “The Gravitational Wave Detectors Are Turning Back On and We’re Psyched” by Ryan F. Mandelbaum; also featuring CIERA graduate student Chase Kimball, and CIERA Director Vicky Kalogera.
Photo credit: Ligo (RIT)