Scientists are set to announce a phenomenon that has never before been observed in space.
Next Monday, October 16, an important scientific finding will be officially announced.
Scientists with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and Virgo collaborations, as well as researchers from a number of other institutions have announced a press conference “to discuss new developments in gravitational wave astronomy”.
For its part, the European Southern Observatory (ESO), on which many of the most powerful telescopes on the planet depend, has done the same in another communique, in this case “to present revolutionary observations of a phenomenon that has never been seen before”.
“The gathering will begin with an overview of new findings from LIGO, Virgo and partners that span the globe, followed by details from telescopes that work with the LIGO and Virgo collaborations to study extreme events in the cosmos,” officials with the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), which is organizing the event, wrote in a media advisory.
Everything related to the announcement is embargoed until next Monday and no one knows more than that, except who exactly will be part of the presentation.
Important representatives of LIGO such as David Reitze and David Shoemaker, as well as other scientists from the European gravitational wave observatory (Virgo) will attend the presentation.
Astronomers related to gamma ray astronomy, supernovae and the search for the optical counterpart of gravitational waves, among other branches will also be there.
Gamma rays and neutron stars
On October 3, after receiving the Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of gravitational waves, Rainer Weiss said that something very interesting was going to happen in the future: “In fact, it has already happened, in some way, and more will become known on October 16 “.
He did not want to make more comments to avoid stealing the protagonism of the discoverers, but he did mention that it was one of the most anticipated events among gravitational wave seekers is the fusion of neutron stars.
Kip Thorne, an expert in black holes who also received the Nobel Prize for the discovery of the gravitational waves, explained months ago that from the possible observation of neutron star fusion “we will learn a lot about the nuclear force that controls the properties of matter in a neutron star”.
And there’s more: “By combining these observations with electromagnetic observations – telescoping the phenomenon – we hope to learn the nature of the mysterious bursts of gamma rays (GRB) that astronomers have been observing for decades.”
This phenomenon lasts only for a few seconds and can be followed by flashes of visible light, radio waves and X-rays that can last for several days.
As noted in Nature by Stuart Shapiro, an astrophysicist at the University of Illinois, United States, the detection of gravitational waves from the fusion of two neutron stars would mark a new era in Astronomy, where the same phenomenon could be seen through telescopes and “heard” by means of vibrations in space-time, gravitational waves: “It would be an incredible advancement in what we know about the universe.”