The most gravitational waves ever have been detected, here's how

A new study has been published detailing the detection of more gravitional waves than ever before, thanks to black holes.

1 minute & read time

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and the Virgo interferometer, designed to detect cosmic gravitational waves, have recently observed 35 new waves produced from black holes merging and black holes and neutron stars colliding.

The most gravitational waves ever have been detected, here's how 01

Ninety total gravitational waves have been detected from three observing runs between 2015 and 2020. The latest collection of observations came from observing runs conducted using both observatories between November 2019 and March 2020.

Almost all of these detections come from events occurring billions of years ago and billions of light-years away from our solar system. 32 of the 35 events involve mergers between black holes, with the remaining three likely attributed to collisions between neutron stars and black holes.

"These discoveries represent a tenfold increase in the number of gravitational waves detected by LIGO and Virgo since they started observing," said Distinguished Professor Susan Scott of the Australian National University.

For the first observing run made over four months across 2015 and 2016, only three gravitational way detections were made. With ongoing improvements to the technology powering these observatories, the detection of more and more waves will elucidate cosmic events and inform our understanding of the universe.

Distinguished Professor Scott attributes the uptake in detections to the continual improvements made to the sensitivity of the gravitational wave detectors being used. She says the increased sensitivity will uncover entirely new sources of gravitational waves.

Read more from the study here.

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Adam grew up watching his dad play Turok 2 and Age of Empires on a PC in his computer room, and learned a love for video games through him. Adam was always working with computers, which helped build his natural affinity for working with them, leading to him building his own at 14, after taking apart and tinkering with other old computers and tech lying around. Adam has always been very interested in STEM subjects, and is always trying to learn more about the world and the way it works.

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