Gravitational-Wave Detector Is Back To Help The Scientists Understand The Black Hole

First Posted: Dec 02, 2016 05:27 AM EST

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory stopped working in January for upgrades. Now, the LIGO is back to detect more gravitational waves and hunt space-time ripples.

In January, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) stopped collecting data. It is because it needs the scheduled period for upgrades to its two detectors. It is located in Hanford, Washington, and Livingston, Louisiana. Recently, the machines are back and they are searching for gravitational waves coming from distant cosmic sources.

The collaboration of LIGO was announced to first direct detection of gravitational waves in February 2016. The second time was in June. In both cases, the waves created by sets of black holes collide and merge together in space, according to Inverse.

Scientists, at the California Institute of Technology that operates the LIGO together with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said that "Since the end of LIGO's last science run in January, engineers and scientists have been evaluating LIGO's performance and making improvements to its lasers, electronics, and optics -resulting in an overall increase in LIGO's sensitivity."

The upgrade has given the Livingston detector with a 25 percent higher sensitivity compared to the previous run. It simply means it can detect black hole mergers at greater distances. Increasing the search area should lead the detector to find more black hole mergers. The Hanford detector has the same sensitivity as it did during its last run, but it underwent other upgrades and improvements.

The detection coming from LIGO is somehow a surprise to the astrophysicists as it detects two black hole mergers. It is based on estimations of the frequency of these mergers in the cosmos.

The scientists said in the statement: "As more black-hole mergers are detected by LIGO, scientists will start to get their first real understanding of black-hole pairs in the universe - including their population numbers, masses and spin rates. LIGO may also detect the merger of neutron stars - the dense cores of exploded stars. Knowledge of both black-hole and neutron-star mergers will improve our understanding of stellar evolution and death," according to

The LIGO collaboration plans to continue and improve the sensitivity of the instruments with each successive science run. 

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