Public talk (in German) “Gravitationswellen - wenn stellare Schwarze Löcher verschmelzen”

Public talk

  • Date: May 24, 2022
  • Time: 03:30 PM - 05:00 PM
  • Speaker: Karsten Danzmann
  • Location: DLR Köln Porz, Gebäude 53
  • Room: Großer Saal
  • Host: DLR Astroseminar
Public talk (in German) “Gravitationswellen - wenn stellare Schwarze Löcher verschmelzen”

More than 100 years ago, Albert Einstein predicted that large, compact, and fast-moving masses, such as those that occur in stellar explosions, cause dents in space-time that propagate like waves. These gravitational waves produce tiny length changes over millions of light-years as small as a fraction of an atomic nucleus. Their analysis illuminates, among other things, the physical processes of distant mergers of massive, compact objects that remain hidden from conventional astronomical measurement methods.

The first direct detection of gravitational waves happened in September 2015 with the Advanced LIGO detectors in the USA and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2017. Since then, the number of gravitational wave events has grown to nearly one hundred. In ultra-sensitive detectors, lasers interferometrically measure the distances between freely suspended test masses. When a gravitational wave reaches the detector, it stretches and squeezes the distances in a characteristic manner. At GEO600 near Hannover, for example, new technologies are being developed and investigated in this process, which will play a crucial role in improving the LIGO and the future space-based LISA observatory. With the measurements of gravitational waves produced by the merger of black holes and other compact objects, we have opened a new window into the universe. Now we can listen to the dark side of the universe, hoping to find new answers to old cosmological questions.

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