Science

Visible light search for gravitational waves black hole merger comes up empty

Visible light search for gravi...
The Blanco Telescope located at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, Chile
The Blanco Telescope located at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, Chile
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The Blanco Telescope located at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, Chile
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The Blanco Telescope located at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, Chile

Last week aninternational team of scientists announced that they had made historyby directly detecting gravitational waves. In light of thosefindings, a second team has attempted to detect the burst of visiblelight given off by the source of the waves – two merging blackholes. The results were disappointing, but could help future attemptsat imaging the source of gravitational waves.

Gravitational waveswere first theorized as a part of Einstein's theory of generalrelativity in 1916, and astronomers had been searching forthem ever since. On Sept. 14, 2015, twin state of the artinterferometry observatories known as LIGO finally detectedthe phenomena.

Encoded in the wavesare the vital characteristics of the source of the gravitationalevent, including its mass, size, and the general direction from whichthey emanated. Therefore by analyzing the wave picked up by theobservatories, astronomers could narrow down their search area in thehunt for the visible light component of the chaotic event.

Over the course of athree-week period, the astronomers made use of the 3 square-degreeDark Energy Camera mounted on the 4-m (13-ft) Blanco telescopelocated at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, tosurvey an impressive 700 square degrees of sky – the equivalent of 2,800 full Moons.

Unfortunately, the teamwas unable to locate the burst of light emitted by the merging blackholes. Whilst the search was ultimately a failure, it will have theeffect of aiding future efforts to achieve a dual observationof a gravity wave and the visible light burst by serving as a modelto be improved upon.

Source:Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

5 comments
hgdorsey
Actually the claim of discovering gravitational waves belongs to Thomas Townsend Brown. He was experimenting with gravitational wave communication in the 1950s, using electronically generated gravitational waves. This technology and math theory is described in detail in the book, "The Covert Colonization of Our Solar System".
darkstar01
The only reason this would be the case is if they wanted to hide the fact that if they can detect gravity, they can potentially make a device that resists or shields gravity waves, or reverses them. Knowledge is power.
uggliozzi
Is it possible that gravitational waves travel faster than light? If this were the case, the visible light associated with this event has not yet reached us.
HamyMac
Does this prove that gravitational waves travel slower than light speed... ie: have the visible light waves of the event already passed us by, followed at a distance by the gravitational waves that we then detected?
noteugene
I postulate that the black holes swallowed the gravitational waves. Cool huh?