[ExI] Advanced LIGO

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Mon Feb 18 16:03:59 UTC 2019

On Mon, Feb 18, 2019 at 9:46 AM William Flynn Wallace <foozler83 at gmail.com>

> Do these detections have anything to do with a theory?

1) LIGO has given us by far the best experimental evidence that Einstein's
General Relativity is correct.

2) It tells us that 20 to 80 solar mass Black Holes are far more common
than had been previously thought and nobody is quite sure how they formed.

3) We now know that the very heaviest elements like Gold Mercury Thorium
and Uranium were formed by the collision of 2 Neutron Stars. Just a few
months ago massive amounts of these elements were found in the debris from
a Neutron Star Collision detected by both gravitational wave and optical
(and radio) astronomers.

4) Optical and Gravitational Wave astronomy are complementary, with LIGO
it's easy to tell the distance to a gravitational wave source but hard to
tell its position in the sky, with conventional telescopes it's easy to
tell the position in the sky of a optical source but hard to tell its
distance. Neutron Star-Black Hole mergers and 2 Neutron Stars colliding
produce both a optical and a gravitational signal, and after we've found
about a dozen of those we should be able to determine the ultimate fate of
the universe and give us a hint in solving the greatest mystery in physics,
Dark Energy.  By determining the distance to these Neutron Star events much
more accurately than ever before it will let us figure out if the
acceleration of the universe is itself accelerating and thus if we're
heading for the Big Rip. You asked what all this is good for and I suppose
it would be good to know what things will be like in the far future.

The Big Rip <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Rip>

 John K Clark
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