Astronomers Garner Media Attention Following Neutron Stars Discovery

An international research collaboration, including four Northwestern University astronomers, is the first to detect the spectacular collision of two neutron stars in a nearby galaxy using both gravitational waves and light.

The discovery ushers in an exciting new era in astronomy less than two years after the first detection of gravitational waves opened a new window onto the universe. Gravitational waves were directly detected for the first time in 2015 by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), confirming Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

The discovery of colliding neutron stars was made by thousands of scientists and engineers August 17 using the U.S.-based LIGO; the Europe-based Virgo gravitational wave detector; and some 70 observatories, including NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. Read more.

Featured events

Vicky Kalogera and Raffaella Margutti, two Northwestern faculty members who played key roles in the detection of colliding neutron starts that was announced on Monday, will appear on Chicago Tonight on Tuesday, October 17, to discuss the findings and their research. The program airs at 7 p.m. on WTTW, Channel 11. Kalogera and Margutti are both members of Northwestern's Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics.

In addition, Kalogera will be interviewed live on the National Public Radio program “Science Friday” this Friday at 1:20 p.m. The show airs on WBEZ 91.5 FM.

On November 28, Kalogera, Margutti, Shane Larson, and Wen-fai Fong will be participating in a moderated panel discussion, as they describe their roles and experiences in the making of this latest groundbreaking discovery. These exceptional researchers will also explain what these new findings mean for humanity's understanding of the universe, and the dawn of a new age of astronomy.

October 16, 2017