August’s kilonova in NGC 4993
Robert Naeye for Astronomy magazine, on the instrumentation that detected a 130M year-old kilonova:
The LIGO and Virgo instruments detected a crescendo of waves for a whopping 100 seconds — much longer than previous detections. The duration, amplitude, and frequency of the waves had all the characteristics that theorists have expected for a binary system consisting of two neutron stars on a death spiral ending with coalescence.
I haven’t written too much about this event yet. Mostly because I’ve been devouring as much information about it as I’ve been able to find time for.
The series of events that led to the construction of LIGO and Virgo are incredible enough on their own. The subsequent series of events leading to the direct observation of a kilonova are downright unbelievable.
Naeye’s piece is great and goes into detail. But it merely scratches the surface. I urge you to pour over this event on your own to see how astounding this observation really was.