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Chinese telescope in unique position for stellar merger

Chinese telescope in unique position for stellar merger

She promised her family she'd stay off of email for a week. The event is being called "GW170817" in reference to the day it was discovered: August 17, 2017.

Gravitational waves are ripples in spacetime caused by ultra-powerful cosmic explosions.

Swinburne's Associate Professor, Jeffrey Cooke, a Chief Investigator with OzGrav, says the event will go down in history as the dawn of a new era of gravitational wave multi-messenger astronomy.

"I canceled everything and ended up working nonstop since that moment", she told Gizmodo.

Days before the highly-anticipated event, three different gravitational wave observatories based around the world picked up gravitational waves.

WASHINGTON (AP) - When two extremely dense neutron stars crashed together in a distant galaxy, astronomers struck scientific gold, confirming previously unproven theories, including some from Albert Einstein.

This observation is hugely important as it has enabled scientists to prove for the first time where some heavy metals on Earth come from. It also posed new ones.

Telescopes saw evidence of newly-forged material in the fallout, the teams said - a source long suspected, now confirmed.

The initial detection was immediately followed by a burst of gamma-rays detected by two space observatories, NASA's Fermi satellite and the European Space Agency's Integral satellite.

In a major global scientific discovery, researchers including teams here in Ireland, have recorded the merger of the collapsed cores of two extremely dense but small stars, known as neutron stars. McEnery then received an email with a subject line in all caps - the bursts had a friend. Analysis later revealed that the other LIGO detector in Louisiana also heard the signal but glitched and didn't report it.

As the neutron stars spiraled in, they produced gravitational waves. Given that LIGO and Virgo are still being fine-tuned to increase their sensitivity, Berger is optimistic. This time, they reported a two-minute-long increase in frequency that took two minutes to finally stop.

Swinburne hosts the $31.3 million Australian Research Council's Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav) which was established past year to capitalise on the original discovery of gravitational waves. "We want to one day look back to the beginning of time - just after the Big Bang, which we can't do with light", says Professor Scott. They named the event GW170817.

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According to the AP, the colliding stars spewed bright blue, super-hot debris that was dense and unstable. Four other times that these waves were detected they were the result of merging black holes. Knowing there's a vehicle, but not seeing it in your rearview, means it must be in your blind spot.

Turns out, the origin of 2/3 of the periodic table is unconfirmed. The radio waves and x-rays let scientists know that the gamma-ray burst was joined by a high-energy jet of particles.

"They're a new kind of wave", Smith said.

To improve the measurement, scientists will have to spot many more neutron-star mergers. "At the other end of the scale, he said, "the two neutron stars would merge and form an unstable, rapidly spinning super-massive neutron star, which could produce a gamma-ray burst after a holdup of tens or hundreds of seconds".

ANU astronomer Dr Christian Wolf says his team used the SkyMapper and 2.3-metre telescopes at the ANU Siding Spring Observatory as part of the search for other signals from the neutron star collision.

Instead, the objects were estimated to be around 1.1 and 1.6 times the mass of the sun, in the mass range of neutron stars.

This detection still brought hints.

The announcement was clouded in secrecy. Any more massive, and the star will collapse into a black hole. Nature News correctly guessed the source in an article from August after a scientist leaked the information on Twitter. The work in the optical is published in a quartet of papers in the journal Science. Promises to distribute any materials at all prior to the announcement were delayed.

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory - or LIGO - consists of two vacuum tubes surrounded by concrete. At present, the detectors are all receiving sensitivity upgrades.

The event is technically still in progress as researchers continue to measure the incoming gravitational waves here on Earth. And physicists expect to see these types of neutron star events as often as once a month. Now, a single event has given scientists a vital clue.

Today, though, scientists are mainly celebrating.