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Second gravitational wave signal detected

Smaller waves from another black hole merger found

By
1:15pm, June 15, 2016
two spiraling black holes

RIPPLE SIGHTING  The cosmic dance of two black holes warped spacetime as the pair spiraled inward and merged, creating gravitational waves (illustrated). LIGO detected these ripples, produced by black holes eight and 14 times the mass of the sun, on December 26, 2015. 

For the second time, scientists have glimpsed elusive ripples that vibrate the fabric of space. A new observation of gravitational waves, announced by scientists with the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, LIGO, follows their first detection, reported earlier this year (SN: 3/5/16, p. 6). The second detection further opens a new window through which to observe the universe.

“The era of gravitational wave astronomy is upon us,” says astronomer Scott Ransom of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Charlottesville, Va., who is not involved with LIGO. “Now that there’s two, you can’t get around that anymore.”

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