Gravitational-wave astronomy in O3 and beyond

Up-to-date information on gravitational-wave astronomy and expertise at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Hannover and Potsdam.

Joint observing run O3

On 1 April 2019, the twin LIGO instruments, the Virgo detector, and the GEO600 instrument began their third observing run “O3”. KAGRA joined at the end of the run The detectors’ sensitivities had been further increased in the months before and in previous engineering runs.

In October 2019 after the first half of O3 (called O3a), data taking was interrupted for a full month for maintenance and upgrades at the detectors. The second half of O3 (called O3b) was planned to conclude on 30 April 2020, but was finished already on 27 March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Results from O3

LIGO, Virgo, and KAGRA raise their signal score to 90

Gravitational-wave catalog update lists 35 new signals more

Gravitational waves from two black holes swallowing neutron stars whole

First robust detection of these rare events more

Dozens of new gravitational-wave events in six months

New LIGO/Virgo catalog contains 50 gravitational-wave signals, several from unusual sources more

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Next observing run: O4

As of now, it is not possible to give a definitive start date for the next observing run “O4”. LIGO, Virgo, and KAGRA are closely coordinating to start the O4 Observing run together. We plan to start the O4 Observing run in March 2023. An Engineering Run is planned to start one month before the observing run; low-latency alerts for candidate events identified during engineering time may be released, both to exercise the system and to preserve the scientific value. (information as of June 2022)

LIGO projects a sensitivity goal of 160-190 Mpc for binary neutron stars. Virgo projects a target sensitivity of 80-115 Mpc. KAGRA should be running with greater than 1 Mpc sensitivity at the beginning of O4, and will work to improve the sensitivity toward the end of O4.

LIGO Scientific Collaboration departments and research groups at AEI

LIGO Scientific Collaboration researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Potsdam and Hannover and at the Leibniz Universität Hannover are leading partners in the international gravitational-wave community.


Other relevant departments and research groups at AEI

“LIGO/Virgo public alerts” during O3

In O3, possible transient gravitational-wave signals (candidates for binary merger signals) identified by the LIGO Scientific and Virgo Collaboration researchers were made public in near real time. Data about the candidate, such as type of signal, sky position and estimated distance were published as part of these “alerts”. Professional and amateur astronomers could schedule follow-up observations of gravitational-wave signals based on this information.

Status of the detectors

The current status of all gravitational-wave observatories, their sensitivity curves, and observational horizon distances are available in the Gravitational Wave Open Science Center.


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