On 11 February 2016, the LIGO collaboration announced the detection of gravitational waves, from a signal detected at 09:50:45 GMT on 14 September 2015 of two black holes with masses of 29 and 36 solar masses merging about 1.3 billion light years away. During the final fraction of a second of the merger, it released more than 50 times the power of all the stars in the observable universe combined.
AstroSoc had the privilege of a talk from one of the LIGO contributors, Simon Stevenson (a PhD student at UoB). He spoke about the gravitational wave discovery, the contribution from physicists here at UoB, and his personal contribution to the discovery. It’s such an exciting time to be a part of the Department, and hopes are high for the future of gravitational wave astronomy!
For more information, see: www.ligo.caltech.edu/page/what-are-gw