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LIGO Observes a Third Gravitational Wave Signal

© LIGO/Phys. Rev. Lett. 118, 221101
GW170104 in time series data from both LIGO instruments. The Livingston data have been shifted back by 3 ms to account for the source's sky location, and the sign of its amplitude has been inverted to account for the detectors' different orientations. The maximum-likelihood binary black hole waveform given by the full-precession model developed at the AEI in Potsdam is shown in black. The bottom panel shows the residual detector noises after substracting the model.

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) has made a third detection of gravitational waves, ripples in space and time, demonstrating that a new window in astronomy has been firmly opened.

As was the case with the first two detections, the waves were generated when a pair of black holes merged to form a larger black hole. The signal was first seen at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute, AEI) in Hannover. Scientists at the AEI in Potsdam and Hannover and at the Leibniz Universität Hannover have made crucial contributions in several key areas: highly accurate waveform models to detect the signal and infer astrophysical information from it, efficient data analysis methods running on powerful computer clusters, and advanced detector technology. The detection leads to an improved estimate for the rate of black hole mergers and is fully consistent with Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

The complete article and further information: Institute of Gravitational Physics