Breakthrough! The detection of gravitational waves from a neutron star merger
On August 17th 2017 the LIGO-Virgo interferometer detected gravitational waves from a neutron star merger in a galaxy 130 million light years away. This was a breakthrough for physics and astronomy. What followed was a
frenzy of activity as astronomers around the world worked to detect electromagnetic radiation with conventional telescopes. After this unprecedented effort the event was detected in gamma-rays, x-rays, visible light and radio waves. I will discuss this incredible scientific result and its implications, including: predictions made by Einstein; the production of gold and other heavy elements; and our understanding of black hole formation. I will also give a 'behind the scenes' perspective of how it happened, and discuss the changes in the way we do science in this era of big astronomy.
Cataclysmic Collision Artist’s illustration of two merging neutron stars. Image credit: NSF/LIGO/Sonoma State University/A. Simonnet
Presenters: Assoc. Prof. Tara Murphy, Sydney Institute of Astronomy, University of Sydney
Date: Friday 23 November 2018
Venue: Swinburne University, ATC building, ATC101 (enter via Burwood road)
Time: 6.30 to 7.30pm
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