Virgo–POLGRAW


Gravitational waves: astrophysics and source modeling, data analysis, construction of the Virgo detector

VIRGO joins LIGO for the “Observation Run 2” (O2) data-taking period

01.08.17 - Today, Tuesday August 1st 2017 at 11 CEST, the VIRGO detector based in Europe has officially joined “Observation Run 2” (O2) and is now taking data alongside the American-based twin LIGO detectors. This major step forward for the VIRGO Collaboration is the outcome of a multi-year upgrade program, whose primary goal was to significantly improve the detector performance in terms of sensitivity. More informations.

GW170104: Third direct detection of gravitational waves

01.06.17 - The Advanced LIGO detectors registered in the 4th of January 2017 a merger of a black hole binary system of masses approx. 30 and 20 Solar masses and a formation of a remnant black hole of 49 solar masses and spin parameter of about 0.64, at a distance of about 880 Mpc (corresponding to a redshift z = 0.18). It is likely that at least one of the black holes was spinning opposite the direction of the binary orbit. This is the first detection to show evidence for such a spin configuration. The detection was also used to test the general theory of relativity and to estimate the graviton mass.

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Virgo-POLGRAW is a Polish team of researchers analyzing the data collected by the LIGO and Virgo detectors in search for gravitational waves predicted by the general theory of relativity by Albert Einstein.

Gravitational waves astrophysics is a new and promising field of research of the Universe. In contrast to the observations of the electromagnetic waves (radio waves, visible light, X-rays and gamma), which are the main source of our current knowledge, we ''listen'' to the Universe by registering minor disturbances of the space-time curvature using the LIGO and Virgo laser interferometric detectors. Gravitational waves are emitted during the largest cosmic cataclysms: mergers of binary systems of neutron stars or black holes, explosions of supernovae, and by other sources, eg. unstable or deformed rotating neutron stars. The direct detection of gravitational waves allows the study of objects that are dark (do not shine in electromagnetic waves), testing the theory of gravity in the dynamic regime of strong gravitational field, and the direct study of the interior of neutron stars which contain the densest and most extreme matter existing currently in the Universe. These informations cannot be currently obtained using other methods.

In addition to the data analysis and the development of the statistical signal detection theory, we modeling astrophysical sources of gravitational waves, make predictions about the population of these sources, search for the electromagnetic waves emission accompanying the gravitational waves and take part in the construction of the Virgo interferometer.

The leader of the Virgo-POLGRAW group is prof. Andrzej Królak from the Mathematical Institute PAS. The project is currently financed by an NCN Harmonia grant ,,Udział Polski w projekcie Advanced Virgo'' UMO-2014/14/M/ST9/00707). Polish participation in the Virgo project is on the Polish Roadmap for Research Infrastructure. The group consists of

  1. Institute of Mathematics, PAS
  2. Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center, PAS
  3. Warsaw University Astronomical Observatory
  4. Institute of Astronomy, University of Zielona Góra
  5. Department of Physics, University of Bialystok
  6. National Centre for Nuclear Research
  7. Centre for Astronomy, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń
    • Kazimierz Borkowski
  8. Institute of Theoretical Physics, University of Wrocław
    • Arkadiusz Błaut
  9. Astronomical Observatory of the Jagiellonian University
    • Andrzej Kułak
    • Michał Ostrowski

Financing sponsors and sources of computing grants.

Member of the Virgo-POLGRAW group: Paweł Ciecieląg, Magdalena Sieniawska, Orest Dorosh, Izabela Kowalska-Leszczyńska, Dorota Rosińska, Adam Zadrożny, Michał Bejger, Andrzej Królak, Piotr Jaranowski, Tomasz Bulik.

Members of the LIGO-Virgo Collaboration Meeting, organized in Kraków, September 2010.