, °F

Personalized Forecasts

Featured Forecast

My Favorite Forecasts

    My Recent Locations

    First detection of gravitational waves from neutron-star crash marks new era of astronomy

    By Mike Wall
    October 16, 2017, 3:06:21 PM EDT

    Share this article:

    A new era of astronomy has begun.

    For the first time ever, scientists have spotted both gravitational waves and light coming from the same cosmic event — in this case, the cataclysmic merger of two superdense stellar corpses known as neutron stars.

    The landmark discovery initiates the field of "multimessenger astrophysics," which promises to reveal exciting new insights about the cosmos, researchers said. The find also provides the first solid evidence that neutron-star smashups are the source of much of the universe's gold, platinum and other heavy elements. [Gravitational Waves from Neutron Stars: The Discovery Explained]

    neutron star impact

    An artist’s illustration of merging neutron stars. Credit: Robin Dienel; Carnegie Institution for Science


    How do researchers describe the finding? "Superlatives fail," said Richard O'Shaughnessy, a scientist with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) project.

    "This is a transformation in the way that we're going to do astronomy," O'Shaughnessy, who's based at the Rochester Institute of Technology's Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation, told Space.com. "It's fantastic."

    Report a Typo

    Continue Reading on SPACE.com >

    More Weather News