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LIGO and Virgo announce 39 new gravitational wave discoveries during first half of third observing run

LIGO and Virgo announce 39 new gravitational wave discoveries during first half of third observing run
The LIGO Scientific Collaboration and Virgo Collaboration released a catalog of results from the first half of its third observing run (O3a). This shows the masses of the black holes and neutron stars in the 50 gravitational wave events detected to date. Credit: LIGO-Virgo/Frank Elavsky, Aaron Geller/Northwestern

The LIGO Scientific Collaboration and Virgo Collaboration released a catalog of results from the first half of its third observing run (O3a), and scientists have detected more than three times as many gravitational waves than the first two runs combined. Gravitational waves were first detected in 2015 and are ripples in time and space produced by merging black holes and/or neutron stars. Several researchers from Rochester Institute of Technology’s Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation (CCRG) were heavily involved in analyzing the gravitational waves and understanding their significance.


The catalog details 39 new gravitational wave events detected during O3a, bringing the total to

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LIGO and Virgo reveal a huge collection of gravitational waves

Earth is awash in gravitational waves.

Over a six-month period, scientists captured a bounty of 39 sets of gravitational waves. The waves, which stretch and squeeze the fabric of spacetime, were caused by violent events such as the melding of two black holes into one.

The haul was reported by scientists with the LIGO and Virgo experiments in several studies posted October 28 on a collaboration website and at arXiv.org. The addition brings the tally of known gravitational wave events to 50.

The bevy of data, which includes sightings from April to October 2019, suggests that scientists’ gravitational wave–spotting skills have leveled up. Before this round of searching, only 11 events had been detected in the years since the effort began in 2015. Improvements to the detectors — two that make up the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO, in the United States, and another, Virgo, in Italy —

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