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Four more gravitational wave detections

The uncertainty of science: The scientists running the LIGO gravitational wave detector have announced the detection of four more gravitational waves, bringing to eleven the total number so far observed.

During the first observing run O1, from September 12, 2015 to January 19, 2016, gravitational waves from three BBH mergers were detected. The second observing run, which lasted from November 30, 2016, to August 25, 2017, yielded a binary neutron star merger and seven additional binary black hole mergers, including the four new gravitational wave events being reported now. The new events are known as GW170729, GW170809, GW170818 and GW170823 based on the dates on which they were detected. With the detection of four additional BBH mergers the scientists learn more about the population of these binary systems in the universe and about the event rate for these types of coalescences.

The observed BBHs span a wide range of component masses, from 7.6 to 50.6 solar masses. The new event GW170729 is the most massive and distant gravitational-wave source ever observed. In this coalescence, which happened roughly 5 billion years ago, an equivalent energy of almost five solar masses was converted into gravitational radiation.

In two BBHs (GW151226 and GW170729) it is very likely that at least one of the merging black holes is spinning. One of the new events, GW170818, detected by the LIGO and Virgo observatories, was very precisely pinpointed in the sky. It is the best localized BBH to date: its position has been identified with a precision of 39 square degrees (195 times the apparent size of the full moon) in the northern celestial hemisphere. [emphasis mine]

The highlighted quote above illustrates the amount of uncertainty here. Though these appear to be gravitational waves, and have been confirmed in multiple ways, the data is very coarse, providing only a limited amount of basic information about each event. This limited information is still very valuable, and certainly advances our understanding of black holes and their formation, but it is important to recognize the limitations of that data.


Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


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  • Max

    I agree with your comments at the end of the article, as a skeptic, I search for alternative view points to get a more complete picture of what may be happening.
    I am not convinced that the data proves what they say is occurring. For example, a new collapsing black hole will produce the same gravitational wave milliseconds before the event horizon/time distortion cuts it off from the rest of the universe. Two black holes colliding is extremely rare, and it has happened too many times in a short period to be believable. The creation of a black hole would happen 1 million times more often and even that would be a rare event, perhaps once a lifetime.
    I understand that the science is new and the claims are extravagant. Gravity weakens the further the distance from the object, what magic could make you feel or measure the gravity fluctuation of a black hole from 10 light years away? let alone 1000, 1 million, or 5 billion light years away?
    (It has been proposed that all black holes create wormholes to each other connected via gravity compressing space-time, this prevents the expanding universe to affect local clusters, gravity so intense that it cuts through time and space making what one black hole experiences to be transferred through the network that connects them all… This would allow the effect of a collision to be measured like a local event, and re-felt as an echo from other directions, perhaps this is what is happening…)
    My point is, we know almost nothing about gravity and what causes it or influences it. The science is still in its infancy. Like the changing theory of the Big Bang… as it was pointed out that if one trillionth of the energy had formed matter in the first second, that would’ve been sufficient to create a event horizon stopping The creation of the universe before it was a second old.
    Just my personal thoughts leaking out onto the screen…

  • MDN

    What I find interesting is the the last “Observing Run” ran from November 30, 2016, to August 25, 2017, yet all of the reported detections were in the LAST MONTH (July 29th, August 9th, August 18th, and August 23rd if 2017)! That is a pretty extraordinary skew across an 11 month data set and I wonder if they are sand bagging a bunch more. I don’t know why they’d do that, but if not I’d like to hear the statistical analysis of what this might mean.

  • Orion314

    The “Thunderbolts project” gives an alternate view of “Gravity waves’ , well worth consideration…

  • Max

    Good YouTube post, I remember localfluff saying something similar a couple years ago.

    Some more of our comments here;

    Some professional concerns about it here;

    Along with z man’s posting only a month ago;

    From this article;
    “First, it’s highly unlikely that it has happened again. But the answer is that separating signal from noise is very, very difficult in this kind of analysis. The signal is extremely faint (on the order of a billionth of a billionth the diameter of an atom); that’s why you need such sensitive detectors to pick them up at all.
    Also, the Universe is actually a pretty noisy place. “The problem isn’t so much the absolute weakness of the waves; the problem is that there are many other disturbances that also wiggle the interferometer,” physicist Sabine Hossenfelder”

    I had a friend who retired from JPL. He taught me much, including about the games that they would play with Congress for funding of the real science projects. Advertisements are created with the people demanding security against a threat, The president gives them “Star Wars”, Congress allocates billions. (they don’t mind because it’s not their money, and they receive a promise from the corporation to be on the Board of Directors receiving millions per year after congressional retirement… in a no-show job)
    This is what he told me, posted nearly three years ago (Wayne also makes good points)

    It would be interesting to see if anyone has access to a gravity detector, it would settle the argument.

    I still think that gravity/Time distortion is the a byproduct of mass, you can’t have one without the other. In a collision, mass is converted into energy.
    “an equivalent energy of almost five solar masses was converted into gravitational radiation”.
    Energy byproduct is light and magnetism. (The biggest EMP pulse that can ever be created) Not more gravity, but less gravity due to the mass conversion. To say that the mass becomes gravitational radiation is to indicate that they know what Gravity is… That it’s not a force, but energy that radiates and can extend it’s self independently, separate from mass.
    Otherwise, the only gravity wave is the reduction of gravity/time corresponding to the mass that no longer exist that was converted to energy. A negative time/gravity wave as gravity becomes weaker. I believe It would be felt/measurable at near the same distance as a magnetic wave.
    I hope I’m proven wrong, this would mean they know more about gravity/time then they lead us to believe. If that is so, antigravity craft are a reality.

  • wayne

    I may have asked you this before– can you give me the 5 cent tour on the “electric universe?”

  • wayne

    you might like this:

    Dr. Leonard Susskind
    “ER = EPR” or “What’s Behind the Horizons of Black Holes?”
    ( 1 of 2 )

  • Orion314

    Wayne, the 5 cent tour of the electric universe? The conventional cosmology taught today remains essentially a theory of gravity. “The Electric Universe” presents an alternative theory that recognizes electrical forces as the dominant influence in shaping the universe, and a major factor in determining much of our cultural and historical experience.In the twentieth-century, the pioneers of plasma science inspired a new school of investigation called plasma cosmology. Plasma cosmologists suggest that electricity is the primary force organizing spiral galaxies and galactic clusters now seen in deep space. Plasma cosmology has achieved surprising success in predicting major discoveries of the space age. This new perspective does not require purely theoretical inventions based on mathematical assumptions like the Big Bang, dark matter, dark energy, neutron stars, or Black Holes.Proponents of the Electric Universe suggest that there are no isolated islands in the universe. All objects in space, from subatomic particles to galactic clusters, are connected by manifestations of the electric force acting in real-time.
    The Standard Model of the Sun proposes that pressure at the core of the Sun provokes a thermonuclear reaction. Proponents of this model say that this thermonuclear furnace causes the Sun to shine.
    The Electric Sun Model, on the other hand, envisions thermonuclear reactions and neutrino production at or close to the surface of the Sun where the maximum exchange between the Sun and its external environment occurs.
    It is electricity that energizes the stars, including the Sun, in a form of glow discharge. This external power source explains why the temperature of the Sun increases above the photosphere to coronal temperatures of 2 million degrees. Powerful plasma feedback effects maintain a steady output of visible solar radiation while variations in power input show up in the familiar sunspot cycle. It is in the nature of a glow discharge that all stars possess a weak electric field beyond the corona. As charged particles of the solar wind move away from the Sun, they continue to be accelerated due to the Sun’s electric field, which extends to the heliopause. Comets are electrically charged bodies moving on elliptical orbits through the Sun’s interplanetary electric field. As it approaches the Sun, the comet’s swift radial movement develops arcing on the nucleus. The arcs produce jets of dust and ions that form the coma and visible tails.
    Many comets are solid rocks with dry surfaces. The sharply defined features of comet nuclei make clear that they are not “dirty snowballs” sublimating in the Sun. Due to the electric force, a comet can entrain a mass of hydrogen from the Sun greater than the mass of the comet’s nucleus. The unexpected X-rays of a cometary discharge can reach 2 million degrees. Cometary nuclei reveal deeply cratered and blackened surfaces due to electric arcing. Since comet nuclei are eroded electrically, they could not survive across eons of solar system history and may have been produced much more recently than proposed in the Standard Model. Just a start…cheers!

  • Max

    The pioneer of the sun being electric with micro flares, now called nano flares.
    (confirmed within years of the Soho Solar observatory launching) (British scientist wrote a book “Our Mantic Sun” and was interviewed on the BBC) (I listen to it again on the way back machine)

    If our Sun was powered by nuclear fission, we would all be dead from neutron radiation exposure, The earth would be dead and deep space would be a wash with deadly radiation.

    Jupiter would be another great Electric example, it is very hot under the surface with the layer of electricity/plasma which creates a strong magnetic field.

  • Orion314

    re: your point “If our Sun was powered by nuclear fission, we would all be dead from neutron radiation exposure, The earth would be dead and deep space would be a wash with deadly radiation.”
    That is really good consideration I’d love to hear refuted via proponents of the standard “Sun’s a nuclear fireball” model…

  • Col Beausabre

    1. Earth’s magnetic field shields us (The Van Allen Belts were confirmed by some of the earliest artificial satellites)
    2. It IS awash with deadly radiation, so much so that prolonged exposure is a major concern for deep space missions and proposed lunar and martian colonies will have to be shielded – probably by being underground.

  • Max

    Col Beausabre;
    Exactly right, Earth’s magnetic field and atmosphere gives us protection. Best shielding we have for a spacecraft it’s the same we use in nuclear reactors… heavy water. In combination with a magnetic field to redirect charged particles, it will hopefully be sufficient to protect astronauts from everything but neutrino radiation. 1/2 of all neutrinos that hit the earth pass right through, that is why neutrino detectors are placed so far below the ground away from natural radiation sources.
    From Wikipedia under “Sun”;
    “Neutrinos are also released by the fusion reactions in the core, but, unlike photons, they rarely interact with matter, so almost all are able to escape the Sun immediately. For many years measurements of the number of neutrinos produced in the Sun were lower than theories predicted by a factor of 3. This discrepancy was resolved in 2001 through the discovery of the effects of neutrino oscillation: the Sun emits the number of neutrinos predicted by the theory, but neutrino detectors were missing ​2⁄3 of them because the neutrinos had changed flavor by the time they were detected.[111]”

    A factor of three, 10×10×10

    Huh? Somehow, solar neutrinos can magically change into other forms of subatomic particles. Another convenient theory to explain why the models don’t work. It’s magic! More dark matter, or dark energy?
    Either way, this description of neutrinos used to be under the category of theoretical problems. It has been moved to another section. Other theoretical problems with the sun have been Deleted! There are only two left in the category now where there was a dozen 10 years ago.
    I also noticed that the theory of the energy radiating from the center of the sun it’s back again. Even though it is well proven that all heat, light, and Solar wind comes from the overheated chromosphere. Is there a war of information going on inside the scientific community?

  • wayne

    Thanks for that, I appreciate your effort. (that was the 25 cent tour!)

    Holy Cow guys!
    I love me some particle-physics & cosmology (on a theoretical basis), but I’ve been up all night, so I will not weigh in on this at all, right now, pro or con.

    Personally, I’m not wedded to any particular Theory, (from the ultra- tiny to the ultra- massive) and I remain open to discussion. I will say…the whole “dark-energy, dark matter” stuff, annoys me to no end, they might as well just say “insert miracle here.” (ya know?!) ((If I’m not allowed to do that, they shouldn’t either!))

    (I am quite fond of Conformal Cyclic Cosmology, but the many-worlds stuff, Inflation, and some other things I can’t think of right now, annoy me to no end, as well.)

    The Standard Model is far from tidy, on that I will agree.

    Does anyone here have a firm grasp on Feynman-diagrams?

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