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LIGO detects gravitational waves from Neutron Star collision

An artist's rendering of the collision of two neutron stars
Artist rendering of two neutron stars colliding
courtesy LIGO

For the first time, physicists have detected gravitational waves from the collision of two neutron stars. The observation was made by LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, a collaborative project with over one thousand researchers from more than twenty countries, including the University of Minnesota.

The LIGO-Virgo results were published Monday in the journal Physical Review Letters. Additional papers from the LIGO and Virgo collaborations and the astronomical community have been either submitted or accepted for publication in various journals.

"This is a really big deal and will open up a whole new area of astrophysics research to help us better understand our Universe," said Vuk Mandic, in the School of Physics and Astronomy, whose research group has been a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration since 2007.

"We can now observe and study astrophysical phenomena using both electromagnetic (light) observations with traditional telescopes and gravitational-wave observations. We call this 'the multi-messenger astrophysics'." And as this event shows, multi-messenger observations have a tremendous potential to both deepen and broaden our understanding of such phenomena," Mandic added.

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