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Gravitational Waves and Cosmology

WVU astrophysicists part of gravitational wave search that provides insights into galaxy evolution and mergers

On the heels of their participation in the historic research that resulted in the detection of gravitational waves, West Virginia University astrophysicists continue to plow new ground and build upon their work.

WVU scientists were members of the LIGO team that detected gravitational waves from merging pairs black holes approximately 29 to 36 times the mass of the sun, confirming that distortions in the fabric of space-time can be observed and measured.

WVU scientists are also continuing to make discoveries about the universe as members of North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves, or NANOGrav, which has spent the past decade searching for low-frequency gravitational waves emitted by pairs of black holes with masses many millions of times larger than those seen by LIGO.

Analysis of NANOGrav’s nine-year dataset provides very constraining limits – estimates of the largest possible signal that could be in the data – on the prevalence of such supermassive black hole binaries throughout the universe, as published yesterday in The Astrophysical Journal.


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