New Discovery from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO)

New Discovery from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO)

Recently the US-based ‘Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO)’ has detected a new source of gravitational waves from a neutron star-black hole (NS-BH) collision.

Scientists have previously looked for signs of colliding black holes and colliding neutron stars, but have not yet confirmed the merger of a black hole with a neutron star.

Key points

  • Neutron stars are formed when a massive star is depleted of energy.
  • Scientists have observed not only one, but two rare events in which gravitational waves (Gw) each have been recorded.
  • These were detected by LIGO based in the United States and Virgo based in Italy.
  • The technique used to detect the signal is called matched filtering.

Gravitational waves      

  • Gravitational waves are ‘waves’ in space-time, caused by some of the most violent and energetic processes in the universe and traveling at the speed of light.
  • They carry with them information about their cataclysmic origins as well as invaluable differences in the nature of gravity.

They are created when:

  • The body moves at a very high speed,
  • When a star explodes asymmetrically (called a supernova),
  • When two massive stars orbit each other,
  • When two black holes orbit each other and merge.

Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves in his theory of general relativity in the year 1916.


  • Gravitational waves were first detected in 2015 by LIGO based in the US. LIGO is the world’s largest gravitational wave observatory, with two giant laser interferometers installed.
  • LIGO has 3 other subsidiary facilities namely: Vargo in Italy, GEO600 in Germany and KAGRA in Japan.
  • Additionally, LIGO-India is an Indo-US joint detector installed in Hingoli district of Maharashtra.

Source – The Hindu

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