A computer calculation of the two merging black holes whose gravitational waves LIGO observed. The holes' strong gravity warps the light from the background stars as it passes by the holes. Image courtesy the Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes collaboration.
The gravitational-wave signals seen by the two LIGO observatories (magenta and cyan) and a supercomputer calculation of the waves emitted by two merging black holes (yellow).
Observation of gravitational waves from merging black holes
On September 14, 2015, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) made the first observation of gravitational waves passing through Earth. This gravitational-wave signal (named GW150914) originated from a pair of merging black holes over a billion light years away. In this talk, I will discuss this observation, the methods that made it possible, and implications for the dawning age of gravitational-wave astronomy. I will also highlight contributions from student and faculty researchers in CSUF's Gravitational-Wave Physics and Astronomy Center, including a comparison of the LIGO observation with supercomputer calculations of the merging black holes and the gravitational waves they emitted.
More information is available
Geoffrey Lovelace, assistant professor of physics at California State University, Fullerton, is a computational astrophysicist specializing in numerical relativity. His research focuses on using supercomputer simulations to model colliding black holes and the gravitational waves they emit, to help Advanced LIGO and other detectors observe as many of these waves as possible. He earned his doctorate in physics from the Caltech and his bachelor's degree in physics from the University of Oklahoma. Lovelace worked for five years as a research associate at Cornell University before joining the Cal State Fullerton Physics Department faculty in 2012.
"What's Up?" in this month will be presented by Chris Butler
Pre-meeting Slide Show (~2 MB)
Club Announcements (~2 MB)
Meeting Video (YouTube)