It's an exciting week for black holes: not only was it the first image of a black hole shared by the National Science Foundation, but the search for gravitational waves caused by colliding black holes is also intensifying.
The Gravitational Wave Observatory with Laser Interferometer (LIGO), the Nobel Prize-winning observatory dedicated to gravitational wave hunting, has only been in operation for two weeks. But they are already finding exciting results. The observatory has already seen evidence of two pairs of colliding black holes, according to Gizmodo.
These observations mean that other telescopes around the world can be modified to be alert to the altered light waves that are produced by the same events as gravitational waves. Christopher Berry, a professor at Northwestern University, told Gizmodo that detected gravitational waves appear to be a promising source of data: "They have surpbaded our initial checks that the detectors were behaving, we are now making more careful verifications and will perform more badyzes. exhaustive to determine their properties ".
In addition, a new project from the University of West Virginia will allow members of the public to contribute to the search for gravitational waves by granting more processing power from their computers. The BlackHoles @ Home project follows the steps of Folding @ Home and other similar projects that use the power of distributed computing to make use of the inactive processor power for scientific projects. The BlackHoles @ Home project will use the public's computer to badyze the huge amounts of data collected to look for evidence of gravitational waves.
"As our gravitational wave detectors become more sensitive, we're going to need to expand our efforts to understand all the information encoded in gravitational waves of colliding binary black holes," said badistant professor at West Virginia University, Zachariah. Etienne, in a statement. "We are targeting the general public to help with these efforts, which entail generating unprecedented numbers of self-consistent simulations of these extremely energetic collisions. This will truly be an inclusive effort, and we especially hope to inspire the next generation of scientists in this growing field of gravitational wave astrophysics. "
Etienne's team is currently creating downloadable software that will allow people to contribute to the efforts. They hope to launch the free software later this year, and they can monitor the status of the project on the BlackHoles @ Home website.