UMD Researchers Contribute to First-ever Direct Observation of Neutron Star Merger

UMD Researchers Contribute to First-ever Direct Observation of Neutron Star Merger

On August 17, 2017, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars—the dense, collapsed cores that remain after large stars die in a supernova explosion. The merger is the first cosmological event observed in both gravitational waves—ripples in the fabric of spacetime—and the entire spectrum of light, from gamma rays to radio waves. 

University of Maryland researchers from the Department of Physics and the Department of AstronomyPhoto of neutron star merger played key roles in detecting both the gravitational and light signals of the historic event, and co-authored several research papers published on October 16, 2017.

Gravitational waves from the merger arrived first at the twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors, located in Hanford, Washington, and Livingston, Louisiana, and the newly operational Virgo detector, located near Pisa, Italy. Less than two seconds later, the Gamma-ray Burst Monitor on NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescopedetected a short burst of gamma rays.

A rapid analysis of these signals enabled the LIGO and Virgo teams to locate the signal in a region covering less than 0.1 percent of the total sky area as viewed from Earth. Astronomers around the globe then directed more than 70 space- and ground-based telescopes toward the event for follow-up observations.

For a full account of the observations, click here.  

October 17, 2017


Prev   Next

Current Headlines

Important Information from UMD's Division of Research on the Impact of COVID-19 on Research Activity

Public health planners: Free resources for emergency health clinics

Clark School Engineers Create Solutions for a Crisis

COVID-19 Decision Making Gets a Big Data Boost

MEI2 leads U.S. side of $18.4M U.S.-Israel Energy Center focused on Energy Storage

Faculty Scholars and Researchers Honored at Maryland Research Excellence Celebration

University of Maryland Among Top 100 Proposals for MacArthur $100 Million Grant

Darryll Pines Named University of Maryland's 34th President

News Resources

Return to Newsroom

Search News

Archived News

Events Resources

Events Calendar

Additional Resources

UM Newsdesk

Faculty Experts

Connect

social iconstwitterlinkedinrssYouTube
Division of Research
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742-1541
© Copyright 2017 University of Maryland

Did You Know

UMD is the only major public research university inside the Washington, DC beltway.