Added by greenfieldc
14th Oct 2017

Groundbreaking observations of an astronomical phenomenon that has never been witnessed before.

The ESO Telescopes have observed First Light from Gravitational Wave Source; Merging neutron stars (of at least 10 solar masses).

For the first time ever, astronomers have observed both gravitational waves and light (electromagnetic radiation) from the same event! 

On 17 August 2017 the NSF's Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) in the United States, working with the Virgo Interferometer in Italy, detected gravitational waves passing the Earth. This event, the fifth ever detected, was named GW170817. About two seconds later, two space observatories, NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and ESA’s INTErnational Gamma Ray Astrophysics Laboratory (INTEGRAL), detected a short gamma-ray burst from the same area of the sky; Merging Neutron Stars!

Claimed that elements heavier than iron are produced from mergers or neutron stars!

The announcement from the HQ of the European Southern Observatory, arrived (like so many these day) on our Twitter feed! "Media #Advisory: 16.10, 16:00 CEST, #press conference @ESO HQ announcing unprecedented discovery." 

Their website had an invitation to sign up to watch the press conference on line and more details of the discovery, but on the understanding that the information was embargoed and not to be discussed before the press conference, taking place at 3pm BST on Monday 16th October.

The announcement from ESO was preceeeded earlier in the week with comments made by the team at LIGO.
Lots of speculation on various scientific journals, blogs and of course Twitter too.

I'll be updating this page immediately after the official announcement, but for now, this is what ESO have written;

"ESO will hold a press conference on 16 October 2017 at 16:00 CEST, at its Headquarters in Garching, Germany, to present groundbreaking observations of an astronomical phenomenon that has never been witnessed before. The event will be introduced from ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile by the Director General, Xavier Barcons, and will feature talks by representatives of many research groups around Europe".


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2017-10-16 07:29:55
Martin Howe says:

NASA have even delayed APOD to be updated during this conference. Must REALLY be important!


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