from the buh-bye! dept.
Gravitational wave detectors could provide advance notice of seismic waves caused by powerful earthquakes (magnitude 8.5 and greater), allowing a little more time for people to evacuate (particularly at coastal regions that may be endangered by a tsunami):
Gravity signals that race through the ground at the speed of light could help seismologists get a better handle on the size of large, devastating quakes soon after they hit, a study suggests. The tiny changes in Earth's gravitational field, created when the ground shifts, arrive at seismic-monitoring stations well before seismic waves.
"The good thing we can do with these signals is have quick information on the magnitude of the quake," says Martin Vallée, a seismologist at the Paris Institute of Earth Physics.
Seismometers in China and South Korea picked up gravity signals immediately after the magnitude-9.1 Tohoku earthquake that devastated parts of Japan in 2011, Vallée and his colleagues report in Science on December 1. The signals appear as tiny accelerations on seismic-recording equipment, more than a minute before the seismic waves show up.
Observations and modeling of the elastogravity signals preceding direct seismic waves (DOI: 10.1126/science.aao0746) (DX)
Related: First Joint Detection of Gravitational Waves by LIGO and Virgo
The Nobel Physics Prize Has Been Awarded to 3 Scientists for Discoveries in Gravitational Waves
"Kilonova" Observed Using Gravitational Waves, Sparking Era of "Multimessenger Astrophysics"
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For the first time three gravitational wave detectors have recorded the same event. The detection was made by both LIGO and Advanced Virgo (which has just recently begun collecting data for the first time). From the news release:
The LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the Virgo collaboration report the first joint detection of gravitational waves with both the LIGO and Virgo detectors. This is the fourth announced detection of a binary black hole system and the first significant gravitational-wave signal recorded by the Virgo detector, and highlights the scientific potential of a three-detector network of gravitational-wave detectors.
The three-detector observation was made on August 14, 2017 at 10:30:43 UTC. The two Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors, located in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington, and funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Virgo detector, located near Pisa, Italy, detected a transient gravitational-wave signal produced by the coalescence of two stellar mass black holes.
A paper about the event, known as GW170814, has been accepted for publication in the journal Physical Review Letters.
The Nobel Physics Prize 2017 has been awarded to three scientists for their discoveries in gravitational waves. The three are Rainer Weiss of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Barry Barish and Kip Thorne of the California Institute of Technology. The German-born Weiss was awarded half of the 9-million-kronor ($1.1 million) prize amount and Thorne and Barish will split the other half.
[Announcement Video]: The Nobel Physics Prize 2017
[Also Covered By]: Gravitational wave scientists win 2017 Nobel Physics Prize
Scientists Witness Huge Cosmic Crash, Find Origins of Gold
It started in a galaxy called NGC 4993, seen from Earth in the Hydra constellation. Two neutron stars, collapsed cores of stars so dense that a teaspoon of their matter would weigh 1 billion tons, danced ever faster and closer together until they collided, said Carnegie Institution astronomer Maria Drout.
The crash, called a kilonova, generated a fierce burst of gamma rays and a gravitational wave, a faint ripple in the fabric of space and time, first theorized by Albert Einstein.
The signal arrived on Earth on Aug. 17 after traveling 130 million light-years. [...] The colliding stars spewed bright blue, super-hot debris that was dense and unstable. Some of it coalesced into heavy elements, like gold, platinum and uranium. Scientists had suspected neutron star collisions had enough power to create heavier elements, but weren't certain until they witnessed it. "We see the gold being formed," said Syracuse's Brown.
So the ring on your finger is actually the skeletal remains of neutron stars.
Observatories Across the World Announce Groundbreaking New Gravitational Wave Discovery
Today, physicists and astronomers around the world are announcing a whole new kind of gravitational wave signal at a National Science Foundation press conference in Washington, DC. But it's not just gravitational waves. That August day, x-ray telescopes, visible light, radio telescopes, and gamma-ray telescopes all spotted a flash, one consistent with a pair of neutron stars swirling together, colliding and coalescing into a black hole. The observation, called a "kilonova," simultaneously answered questions like "where did the heavy metal in our Universe come from" and "what causes some of the gamma-ray bursts scientists have observed since the 60s." It also posed new ones.
[...] All in all, the discovery marks an important milestone in gravitational wave astronomy and proof that LIGO and Virgo do more than spot colliding black holes. At present, the detectors are all receiving sensitivity upgrades. When they come back online, they may see other sources like some supernovae or maybe even a chorus of background gravitational waves from the most distant stellar collisions.
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Optical emission from a kilonova following a gravitational-wave-detected neutron-star merger (open, DOI: 10.1038/nature24291) (DX)
Spectroscopic identification of r-process nucleosynthesis in a double neutron-star merger (open, DOI: 10.1038/nature24298) (DX)
A gravitational-wave standard siren measurement of the Hubble constant (open, DOI: 10.1038/nature24471) (DX)
The X-ray counterpart to the gravitational-wave event GW170817 (open, DOI: 10.1038/nature24290) (DX)
A kilonova as the electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational-wave source (open, DOI: 10.1038/nature24303) (DX)
Origin of the heavy elements in binary neutron-star mergers from a gravitational-wave event (open, DOI: 10.1038/nature24453) (DX)
Multi-messenger Observations of a Binary Neutron Star Merger (open, DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aa91c9) (DX)
Gravitational Waves and Gamma-Rays from a Binary Neutron Star Merger: GW170817 and GRB 170817A (open, DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aa920c) (DX)
An Ordinary Short Gamma-Ray Burst with Extraordinary Implications: Fermi-GBM Detection of GRB 170817A (open, DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aa8f41) (DX)
INTEGRAL Detection of the First Prompt Gamma-Ray Signal Coincident with the Gravitational-wave Event GW170817 (open, DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aa8f94) (DX)
The Electromagnetic Counterpart of the Binary Neutron Star Merger LIGO/Virgo GW170817. I. Discovery of the Optical Counterpart Using the Dark Energy Camera (open, DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aa9059) (DX)
The Electromagnetic Counterpart of the Binary Neutron Star Merger LIGO/Virgo GW170817. II. UV, Optical, and Near-infrared Light Curves and Comparison to Kilonova Models (open, DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aa8fc7) (DX)
The Electromagnetic Counterpart of the Binary Neutron Star Merger LIGO/Virgo GW170817. III. Optical and UV Spectra of a Blue Kilonova from Fast Polar Ejecta (open, DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aa9029) (DX)
The Electromagnetic Counterpart of the Binary Neutron Star Merger LIGO/Virgo GW170817. IV. Detection of Near-infrared Signatures of r-process Nucleosynthesis with Gemini-South (open, DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aa905c) (DX)
The Electromagnetic Counterpart of the Binary Neutron Star Merger LIGO/Virgo GW170817. V. Rising X-Ray Emission from an Off-axis Jet (open, DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aa9057) (DX)
The Electromagnetic Counterpart of the Binary Neutron Star Merger LIGO/Virgo GW170817. VI. Radio Constraints on a Relativistic Jet and Predictions for Late-time Emission from the Kilonova Ejecta (open, DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aa905d) (DX)
The Electromagnetic Counterpart of the Binary Neutron Star Merger LIGO/Virgo GW170817. VII. Properties of the Host Galaxy and Constraints on the Merger Timescale (open, DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aa9055) (DX)
The Electromagnetic Counterpart of the Binary Neutron Star Merger LIGO/Virgo GW170817. VIII. A Comparison to Cosmological Short-duration Gamma-Ray Bursts (open, DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aa9018) (DX)
The Discovery of the Electromagnetic Counterpart of GW170817: Kilonova AT 2017gfo/DLT17ck (open, DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aa8edf) (DX)
A Deep Chandra X-Ray Study of Neutron Star Coalescence GW170817 (open, DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aa8ede) (DX)
The Unprecedented Properties of the First Electromagnetic Counterpart to a Gravitational-wave Source (open, DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aa905e) (DX)
The Emergence of a Lanthanide-rich Kilonova Following the Merger of Two Neutron Stars (open, DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aa90b6) (DX)
Observations of the First Electromagnetic Counterpart to a Gravitational-wave Source by the TOROS Collaboration (open, DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aa9060) (DX)
The Old Host-galaxy Environment of SSS17a, the First Electromagnetic Counterpart to a Gravitational-wave Source (open, DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aa9116) (DX)
The Distance to NGC 4993: The Host Galaxy of the Gravitational-wave Event GW170817 (open, DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aa9110) (DX)
The Rapid Reddening and Featureless Optical Spectra of the Optical Counterpart of GW170817, AT 2017gfo, during the First Four Days (open, DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aa9111) (DX)
Optical Follow-up of Gravitational-wave Events with Las Cumbres Observatory (open, DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aa910f) (DX)
A Neutron Star Binary Merger Model for GW170817/GRB 170817A/SSS17a (open, DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aa91b3) (DX)