In 2017, an international group of astronomers and physicists excitedly reported the first simultaneous detection of light and gravitational waves from the same source–a merger of two neutron stars. In the world of astrophysics, Aug. 17, 2017, was a red-letter day. “This is a game-changer for astrophysics,” said UC Santa Barbara faculty member Andy Howell, who leads the supernova group at the Las Cumbres Observatory (LCO). “A hundred years after Einstein theorized gravitational waves, we’ve seen them and traced them back to their source to find an explosion with new physics of the kind we’ve only dreamed about.”
“Mergers of black holes with neutron stars are exceptionally rare in the Universe. “An actual merger of a neutron star with a black hole happens, perhaps, once every million years in a galaxy. To see one in the Milky Way, we would have to watch for a very long time,” Harald Pfeiffer, group leader in the Astrophysical and Cosmological Relativity department at Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (AEI) in Potsdam, Germany, told The Daily Galaxy about recent neutron star-black hole merger of GW200105, detected by LIGO and Virgo in the past five years that have opened a completely new new way of observing the Universe.
Avi Shporer, Research Scientist, MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research. A Google Scholar, Avi was formerly a NASA Sagan Fellow at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). His motto, not surprisingly, is a quote from Carl Sagan: “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”
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