Gravitational waves are propagating ripples in the fabric of space-time, and their existence is one of the major predictions of Einstein's theory of General Relativity. They are generated in highly energetic astrophysical events that involve rapid bulk motions of massive bodies, e.g. black holes. Once generated, the gravitational waves propagate through the Universe without absorption, and carry detailed information about the general-relativistic astrophysical processes that produced them.
Monash Researchers are part of the successful LIGO collaboration that made the first, direct detection of gravitational waves, announced in February 2016. These gravitational waves came from the inspiral and merger of two black holes, each of mass approximately 30 times that of the Sun, and located more than 1 billion light years from Earth. Monash researchers are involved in a number of facets of LIGO, including astrophysics, data analysis and instrumentation.
The Monash Gravitational-Wave Group also forms one node of OzGRav: the $31.3 million ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational-Wave Discovery, which will open in early 2017.
Monash researchers are also searching for very low-frequency gravitational waves coming from supermassive black holes, with masses more than a billion times that of our Sun. We search for these waves using Pulsar Timing Arrays, being active members of both the Australian Parkes Pulsar Timing Array, and also the International Pulsar Timing Array.
The Monash Gravitational-Wave Group meets weekly. Get in touch with any of the above researchers to find out more.
|The Monash Team that was part of the gravitational-wave discovery: GW150914|