Press Statement 17-010
NSF statement on latest LIGO-Virgo detection of binary black hole merger
Jim Ulvestad, NSF acting assistant director for Mathematical and Physical Sciences, issues statement on detection of two 'light' black holes merging
December 6, 2017
Scientists supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) recently announced the detection of the merger of two relatively "light" black holes, 7 and 12 times the mass of the sun, respectively, at a distance of about 1 billion light-years. NSF'sLaser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) made the detection in June. LIGO is funded by NSF and operated by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The black hole merger, GW170608, is the lightest observed thus far by LIGO and the Europe-based Virgo detector. The LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the Virgo Collaboration submitted a paper toThe Astrophysical Journal Letters describing the newly confirmed observation.
Jim Ulvestad, NSF acting assistant director for Mathematical and Physical Sciences, issued the following statement on the observation:
Gravitational-wave detection is becoming almost commonplace, and each detection provides new ways to study some of the most powerful events in the universe. This binary black hole merger is the latest confirmation for the value of NSF's investment in Advanced LIGO upgrades that are making such detections possible. LIGO's twin detectors have now provided unprecedented insights into five binary black hole mergers and one binary neutron star merger, the latter event being the first to combine gravitational-wave detection with telescope observations to launch a new era of multi-messenger astrophysics.
Aya Collins, NSF, (703) 292-7737, email: email@example.com
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