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From Gravitons to Electrons: the Discovery of GW151226

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Date: Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

Speaker:  Sarah Caudill, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


LIGO’s detection of the first gravitational wave signal, GW150914, ushered in the era of gravitational wave astronomy with quite a bang, giving us a measurement of the heaviest stellar mass black holes to date and providing new stringent tests of general relativity. However, the detection of the second signal, GW151226, on December 26, 2015 was arguably just as exciting. I will describe the technology that allowed this signal to be detected just 70 seconds after arrival. Additionally, GW151226 spent nearly 55 cycles in LIGO’s sensitive band compared to only 10 cycles for GW150914. I will discuss the precise measurements of the compact binary parameters that were afforded by this longer signal. Finally, I will describe how these two gravitational wave detections inform our predictions for more discoveries in the near future.

Host: Jim Brau

Time: 4:00-5:00pm
Location: 100 Willamette Hall

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