After breakthrough gravitational wave finding, LIGO scientists look ahead to new discoveries

photo: ligo equipment

“After a whirlwind tour of press conferences, parties and awards following their Feb. 11 announcement of the world's first direct detection of gravitational waves, the team of scientists at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory are preparing to begin another round of listening for cosmic collisions.Sometime this fall - likely September or October - the twin detectors in Livingston Parish and Hanford, Washington, will again begin collecting data in the search for signals similar to those detected on Sept. 14 from a 1.3 billion-year-old merger of two black holes. Gravitational waves are distortions, or ripples, in the fabric of space and time caused by violent and energetic events such as colliding black holes or neutron stars, exploding supernovae or the birth of the universe itself. The ripples travel through the universe at the speed of light, carrying with them information about the cataclysmic events that created them. Read more