They concluded that those two neutron stars were destined to crash into each other in about 300 million years. David Coulter, an astronomer at University of California, Santa Cruz, and colleagues used the Swope telescope in Chile to pinpoint the event's exact location, while Las Cumbres Observatory astronomers did so with the help of a robotic network of 20 telescopes around the globe.
The team of gravity wave-hunting scientists working with the LIGO and Virgo detectors announced the first observations of a collision of neutron stars, an "unprecedented discovery", at a press conference on Monday. "At the other end of the scale, he said, "the two neutron stars would merge and form an unstable, rapidly spinning super-massive neutron star, which could produce a gamma-ray burst after a holdup of tens or hundreds of seconds".
Detection of the ripple in space-time sent off a cascade of discoveries detected by scientists using the space-based telescopes called Fermi, Integral and Hubble. "This has confirmed that - it's been a suspicion for decades".
In the Aug 17 breakthrough, scientists observed both gamma rays and gravitational waves from the same source for the first time - enabling them to make a fresh, though preliminary, estimate of how fast the Universe is expanding.
In yet another nod of good fortune, it so happened that on August 17, the Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope and the International Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory (Integral) were pointing in the direction of the constellation Hydra. They're also wondering why the gamma ray burst was only two seconds long.
Astronomers are certain about that because the object is both in the LIGO-Virgo localization region of the sky, and lies at exactly the same distance - some 130 million light-years away - that LIGO's signal analysis had suggested. Scientists could identify the chirp source as objects that were much less massive than the black holes seen to date.
The other option was the merger of neutron stars - tiny stars of incredible mass - which would result in an enormous spray of stellar debris.
To improve the measurement, scientists will have to spot many more neutron-star mergers.
Boy Scouts to welcome girls into all ranks for the first time
BSA at the time pushed back against such claims, explaining they'd always been discussing introducing girls into the program. After joining dens, they would be able to continue with the organization and eventually earn the coveted Eagle Scout rank.
The new detection of gravitational waves also serves as a benchmark in a new era of astronomy where violent but nearly-invisible cataclysms can be "felt" as they rip through the fabric of space itself. Produced when the largest stars come of the end of their life, run out of fuel and collapse in on themselves, neutron stars are the smallest and most dense stars can get.
"Now with today's announcement we are seeing the dawn of a new field of "multimessenger astronomy", where detections of transients across the electromagnetic spectrum, along with gravitational waves, are opening up a whole new window on the Universe".
Within hours, astronomers were training their telescopes on that promising region, looking for X-rays, ultraviolet waves, optical light, infrared light and radio waves.
University of Sydney Associate Professor Tara Murphy, who leads the radio astronomy follow-up in Australia, says she was in the United States with colleague David Kaplan when they saw the gravitational wave announcement come through on the private email list of the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). Initially, the explosion they saw looked bright blue. Some of it coalesced into heavy elements, like gold, platinum and uranium.
"You can see in detail what kind of things were made in this explosion", Gerdes said. A teaspoon of neutron-star stuff weighs around a billion or so tons.
"We've heard this thunder before, but this is the first time we've also been able to see the lightning". For example, the origin of some of the heaviest elements in the Universe has always been misunderstood, and now it seems they may be formed in neutron stars. According to Daniel Holz, an astrophysicist at the University of Chicago, "back-of-the-envelope calculations indicate that this single collision produced an amount of gold greater than the weight of the Earth". The significance of the discovery was immediately apparent.