The gravitational waves were detected by both of the twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors, located in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington, USA.

The discovery was made by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (which includes the GEO Collaboration and the Australian Consortium for Interferometric Gravitational Astronomy) and the Virgo Collaboration using data from the two LIGO detectors.

Gravitational waves

Physicists have concluded that these gravitational waves were produced during the final moments of the merger of two black holes to produce a single massive spinning black hole 21 times the mass of the sun.

This second event confirms that pairs of black holes are relatively common. The first detection of gravitational waves, announced on February 11, 2016, was a milestone in physics and astronomy, and confirmed a major prediction of Albert Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity

The second detection permits scientists to make predictions about how often we can expect gravitational waves in the future. Gravitational waves are bringing us a new way to observe some of the darkest yet most energetic events in our universe.

Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions

The GraWiToN project, contributor to this discovery, is an Initial Training Network, funded under Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions, coordinated by the European Gravitational Observatory (EGO), in which 14 EU-supported young researchers participate. The researchers were involved in the data analysis and the technological development necessary for this much-awaited scientific milestone. The Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellows working on the project come from host institutions in France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom.

LIGO and VIRGO scientific collaboration

LIGO scientific collaboration is composed by over 1,000 scientists from 15 countries with over 90 universities and research institutions actively participating. In Europe, British, German, Spanish and Hungarian institutes and Universities are members of the LIGO scientific collaboration.

Virgo collaboration is composed by about 250 scientists from five European countries, France (CNRS and EGO), Italy (INFN and EGO), The Netherlands (Nikhef and RUN), Poland (POLGRAV) and Hungary (Wigner).

More than 450 European scientists are collaborating in the LIGO and Virgo teams.