With the help of the Italian Virgo detector, researchers managed to spot the presence of a fourth gravitational wave present in space. They found out the phenomenon resulted after the collision of two black holes. When such events take place, the clash issues some ripples which disturb space and time, and these ripples are known as gravitational waves.
What are gravitational waves?
The most recent ripples were issued on August 14th, around the hour 10:30 GMT. Then, researchers discovered they were produced by the collision of two black holes situated 1.8 billion light-years away. The holes were massive, as they both were between 25 and 31 times bigger than the Sun. Apart from producing the gravitational waves, the two black holes merged into an even bigger hole, being 53 times bigger than the Sun.
Such an event occurs extremely rarely, but it comes with one more unique thing to it. This was the first phenomenon of the type which was captured with the help of the Virgo detector. It is kept underground and, using laser light, can detect gravitational waves and track their trajectory. The Virgo detector is an Italian instrument and, although it doesn’t have the same precision as the American instruments, it works just fine.
European and US researchers collaborated for the Virgo project
Two weeks after the detector became functional, it managed to spot the gravitational wave. The other waves detected so far have been found by only two instruments coming from the US. This equipment was present in two LIGO unites (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatories). These two units were located in Hanford, Washington, and Livingston, Louisiana.
For the Virgo project, hundreds of researchers, coming from both Europe and the US, worked together. They also started a collaboration with LIGO, and hope to continue this project and spot more unique space phenomena.
Image Source: NASA
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