Slovenian Scientists Are the Co-authors of a Discovery in the Field of Gravitational Waves Study

An important discovery was made by about 70 observatories from all over the world, including Slovenian researchers. The staff of the Jožef Stefan Institute, the Institute of Chemistry, the University of Nova Gorica and the University of Ljubljana determined the place and time of the two neutron stars merger to within a second. This happened in the NGC 4993 galaxy located at a distance of 130 million light years from the Earth. The results are published in such scientific journals as The Astrophysical Journal Letters and Nature Astronomy.

After the first direct fixation of gravitational waves 2 years ago, three other similar phenomena were discovered, which occurred due to the merger of black holes. On 17 August 2017, gravitational waves formed by the merger of two neutron stars were discovered in the LIGO Observatory and the Virgo Centre. In the same part of the space, the Fermi satellite with a delay of 1.7 seconds detected a flash of gamma radiation. A few hours later, telescopes on the Earth recorded visible light. With the help of these observations, scientists were able to pinpoint the exact location of the event.

The discovery is innovative not only because the gravitational waves were first discovered through the merger of neutron stars. Gravitational waves with a known place of origin were also recorded for the first time. Most importantly, a large number of scientists and observatories participated in the observations. The discovery took place due to their fruitful cooperation.