Cosmic fireworks: First joint detection of gravitational and electromagnetic waves from colliding neutron stars
The beginning of gravitational-wave multimessenger astronomy
17 August 2017 saw a major breakthrough in astronomy, when gravitational waves from a pair of colliding neutron stars were detected for the first time by the US-based Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and the Europe-based Virgo. This happens to be the strongest gravitational-wave signal detected so far, owing to the relatively close location of about 130 million light-years from earth. The detection was also confirmed by a large number of telescopes around the world that studied various forms of radiation from the merger. This is a new milestone in the success saga of advanced gravitational wave detectors, which have announced the discoveries of four black hole mergers to date. The first such detection in 2015 led to the awarding of the Nobel prize in physics this year.