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Final Flight of a Neutron Star Pair

Interactive

Final Flight of a Neutron Star Pair

This interactive allows you to investigate possible past lives of the two neutron stars that merged in an event called GW170817 in the galaxy NGC 4993. The pair of stars—a neutron star and a normal star—orbit quietly, until the normal star undergoes a supernova, spawning a second neutron star and “kicking” the system into an elliptical orbit.

LIGO-Virgo / Aaron Geller / Northwestern

  • Education,
  • Science

Audience Questions from Peering into the Cosmic Maelstrom

Interview / Event

Audience Questions from Peering into the Cosmic Maelstrom

Following the October 16, 2017 announcement of the first-ever observation of a binary neutron star inspiral and merger, Northwestern’s astronomy research center, CIERA, held a discussion with the Northwestern scientists behind the discovery. View the audience question & answer period from this event.  

CIERA / Northwestern

  • Education,
  • Event,
  • Science,
  • Outreach

How many merger binary black holes are there?

Image

How many merger binary black holes are there?

How many merger binary black holes are there? There are lots of uncertainties in our understanding of stellar evolution. This plot shows one prediction from the COMPAS population synthesis code for the number of gravitational-wave detections:  there would be about 500 detections per year of observing time once our detectors reach design sensitivity! In Barrett, Gaebel,

Barrett, Gaebel, Neijssel, Vigna-Gómez, Stevenson, Berry, Farr, & Mandel (2018)

Source Galaxies for a Simulated Gravitational-wave Signal

Image

Source Galaxies for a Simulated Gravitational-wave Signal

This image shows the most probable source galaxies for a simulated gravitational-wave signal from a binary neutron star system. Accurately identifying the source of gravitational waves is extremely important for directing follow-up observations with telescopes, and for measuring the expansion of the Universe. In Del Pozzo, Berry, Ghosh, Haines, Singer & Vecchio (2018; http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2018MNRAS.479..601D) we applied

Del Pozzo, Berry, Ghosh, Haines, Singer & Vecchio (2018)

A Stellar Collision, Ripples In Space-Time, And The Origins Of Gold

Interview

A Stellar Collision, Ripples In Space-Time, And The Origins Of Gold

About 130 million years ago, two neutron stars collided, unleashing an explosion that rippled space-time and splattered the cosmos with a cocktail of heavy metals. Astronomers announced that they spotted the signals from that “kilonova” explosion, both in gravitational waves like the ones LIGO previously detected from merging black holes, and in signals across the

Science Friday

Black Hole Encounter

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Black Hole Encounter

In late 2015, LIGO discovered gravitational waves emitted by two black holes (each with a mass of about 30 times that of our Sun) that spiraled together and merged about 1.5 billion years ago. Astrophysicists are now debating which is the most likely mechanism that can bring two black holes like those observed so close