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posted by mrpg on Saturday April 14, @08:23AM   Printer-friendly
from the hush dept.

Deep space is not as silent as we have been led to believe. Every few minutes a pair of black holes smash into each other. These cataclysms release ripples in the fabric of spacetime known as gravitational waves. Now Monash University scientists have developed a way to listen in on these events. The gravitational waves from black hole mergers imprint a distinctive whooping sound in the data collected by gravitational-wave detectors. The new technique is expected to reveal the presence of thousands of previously hidden black holes by teasing out their faint whoops from a sea of static.

[...] "Measuring the gravitational-wave background will allow us to study populations of black holes at vast distances. Someday, the technique may enable us to see gravitational waves from the Big Bang, hidden behind gravitational waves from black holes and neutron stars," Dr Thrane said.

[...] Importantly the researchers will have access to a new $4 million supercomputer, launched last month (March) at the Swinburne University of Technology. The computer, called OzSTAR, will be used by scientists to look for gravitational waves in LIGO data.


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 14, @12:13PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 14, @12:13PM (#666889)
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 14, @12:39PM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 14, @12:39PM (#666899)

    I expected more interesting fonts when I clicked through to the site. Please consider choosing a source with less mundane fonts next time. Simply using bold and italics with a sans-serif font is not sufficient for a modern website.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 14, @12:42PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 14, @12:42PM (#666901)

    We have the data already that this data analysis paper wants to analyze. Why don't they just apply their method and show us the results, instead of writing 18 pages about it?

  • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Saturday April 14, @02:12PM

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Saturday April 14, @02:12PM (#666930) Journal

    So, when an astronomer suffers from tinnitus, he writes a paper about black holes colliding.

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    Keep all chemicals out of the reach of meth heads.
  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Saturday April 14, @03:16PM

    by takyon (881) Subscriber Badge <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Saturday April 14, @03:16PM (#666954) Journal

    It's good news that gravitational waves could be used to find something other than a violent black hole or neutron star collision event.

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-future-of-gravitational-wave-astronomy/ [scientificamerican.com]

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  • (Score: 2) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Saturday April 14, @08:53PM (1 child)

    One of the early gravitational wave detectors was built on the Caltech campus when I was there sometime around 1983. It was a laser interferometer with two evacuated beam tubes at right angles to each other. There was a mirror at one end of each tube, and a partially-reflecting mirror at at 45 degree angle at the junction of the two pipes.

    What this kind of interferometer does is very precisely measure changes in the length of either tube. They can also be used to measure the speed of light in a gas by starting with a vacuum then slowly filling the tubes with the gas in question.

    You can see that they must be very sensitive to vibration. Southern California is always having small earthquakes, there is lots of vehicle traffic there and even the vibrations from people walking nearby could be picked up.

    A really good way to dampen vibration is to alternate layers of a resilient - springy - material with layers of dense material, whose inertia discourages it from moving.

    There was once a Synchroton at Caltech - a type of particle accellerator. All over the Caltech campus back then were the lead bricks used to shield its radiation from getting out. These are commonly called "Synch Bricks".

    Caltech's interferometer mirrors were mounted on top of alternating synch bricks and NerfMobiles.

    I Am Absolutely Serious.

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    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @03:05AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @03:05AM (#667143)

      I don't know that you can call something from 1983 that could never measure a real signal a "gravitational wave detector". More like an early prototype. Would you call something something a "microphone", even though it's only sensitive enough to pick up nuclear blasts?

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 14, @09:24PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 14, @09:24PM (#667057)

    in space black holes can hear you scream.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @01:07AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @01:07AM (#667108)

    Have they tried looking in the federal budget?

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