Detecting gravitational waves
More about gravitational wave detectors on earth and in space
The two GRACE Follow-On satellites have been measuring the Earth’s gravitational field since mid-2018 to obtain important data for geophysics and climate research. On board is a laser interferometer that will serve as a model for future satellite missions and represents a step toward the LISA gravitational wave observatory.
During collaborative measurement campaigns, so-called observation runs, the worldwide gravitational wave detector network listens for signals from space. During the third observation run “O3”, which started on April 1st, 2019, the LIGO detectors (USA), Virgo (Italy), and GEO600 (Germany) recorded a range of promising signals.
Albert Einstein predicted their existence back in 1916, and on 14 September 2015 they were directly detected for the first time: Gravitational waves. Two large interferometric detectors of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration with major contributions from German researchers detected the signal known as “GW150914”. The waves originate from the merger of two black holes and are the first direct observation of these exotic objects.