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Collision between neutron stars: the historic discovery presented at Miur

Collision between neutron stars: the historic discovery presented at Miur

For the first time, a collision between two neutron stars was captured by both the LIGO and VIRGO gravitational wave detectors and ground- and space-based telescopes, inaugurating a new era for the observation of the Universe.

The historic result, which had created a great deal of expectation in the press in the last few days, was unveiled yesterday at three simultaneous events in Washington, Munich and Venice, organized – respectively – by the LIGO-VIRGO scientific collaboration, the European Southern Observatory-ESO and the European Space Agency-ESA

The new discoveries were presented in Rome at the Ministry of Education, University and Research-MIUR, in the presence of Minister Valeria Fedeli. 

In representation of the Italian scientific community, in the forefront of the efforts that led to the historic result, the event was attended by the President of the Italian Space Agency-ASI, Roberto Battiston, the President of the National Institute for Astrophysics-INAF, Nichi D’Amico, and the President of the National Institute for Nuclear Physics-INFN, Fernando Ferroni.

“In particular, the role that our country has played is a source of satisfaction for us. Thanks to INFN with VIRGO – the experiment that revealed gravitational waves, allowing the source to be localized in the sky – INAF with the REM, VST and VLT telescopes, and ASI with the Integral and Swift satellites, which all together, with their observations, have obtained the exceptional amount of scientific results presented today”, said Minister Fedeli

But what is the scientific significance of this important result? Immacolata Donnarumma from the Italian Space Agency told us.

Summary of the Interview
This result is very important. Gravitational waves had already been detected in September 2015 but now we have been able to see what Einstein had predicted: an electromagnetic signal associated with the emission of gravitational waves created by the collision of two neutron stars. The first tangible evidence of an electromagnetic emission from the collision of two neutron stars. And this thanks to data from space and data from the ground. The really interesting thing is that space and ground worked together in an unprecedented coordination effort because as soon as an alert comes from space, the telescopes must be pointed to  try to understand what the signal is, what kind of signal it is, if it really is what was expected from similar events. A great result. The age of multi-messenger astronomy finally begins. Not only gravitational waves, we will also have particles, neutrinos and electromagnetic signal. In short, data from telescopes and interferometers. Multi-messenger astronomy is precisely this convergence: not only photons, but also particles and gravitational waves. As Marica Branchesi said in Washington, we also hope to detect some neutrinos and add another messenger to those we have seen so far. There is so much Italy in this result, a great synergy between research institutions. INFN, INAF and the Italian Space Agency worked jointly to achieve this historic result. Only think that many Italian researchers are in an international publication containing 3,500 signatures. A great coordination effort.

Publication date 10/17/2017
Source Redazione ResearchItaly
Tag Aerospace , Physical Sciences and Engineering