A state-of-the-art telescope for detecting optical signatures of gravitational waves - built and operated by an international research collaboration, led by the University of Warwick - has been officially launched.
The Gravitational-wave Optical Transient Observer (GOTO) was inaugurated at Warwick’s astronomical observing facility in the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias on La Palma, Canary Islands, on 3 July 2017.
GOTO is an autonomous, intelligent telescope, which will search for unusual activity in the sky, following alerts from gravitational wave detectors - such as the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (aLIGO), which recently secured the first direct detections of gravitational waves. ...
Know the quiet place within your heart and touch the rainbow of possibility; be
alive to the gentle breeze of communication, and please stop being such a jerk. — Garrison Keillor
They're expecting to catch an optical signal from the merger of black holes???
But LIGO should be able to detect things other than just the merger of black holes.
From an optical standpoint, the gravitational detection of a supernova would be the most obvious.
<<Measurable LIGO emissions of gravitational waves are expected from binary systems (collisions and coalescences of neutron stars or black holes), supernova explosions of massive stars (which form neutron stars and black holes), accreting neutron stars, and rotations of neutron stars with deformed crusts. The observatory may, in theory, also observe more exotic hypothetical phenomena, such as gravitational waves caused by oscillating cosmic strings or colliding domain walls.>>
Inferring Core-Collapse Supernova Physics with Gravitational Waves
J. Logue, C. D. Ott, I. S. Heng, P. Kalmus, and J. Scargill
Phys. Rev. D. 86, 044023 (2012)
Abstract : <<Stellar collapse and the subsequent development of a core-collapse supernova explosion emit bursts of gravitational waves (GWs) that might be detected by the advanced generation of laser interferometer gravitational-wave observatories such as Advanced LIGO, Advanced Virgo, and LCGT. GW bursts from core-collapse supernovae encode information on the intricate multi-dimensional dynamics at work at the core of a dying massive star and may provide direct evidence for the yet uncertain mechanism driving supernovae in massive stars. Recent multi-dimensional simulations of core-collapse supernovae exploding via the neutrino, magnetorotational, and acoustic explosion mechanisms have predicted GW signals which have distinct structure in both the time and frequency domains. Motivated by this, we describe a promising method for determining the most likely explosion mechanism underlying a hypothetical GW signal, based on Principal Component Analysis and Bayesian model selection. Using simulated Advanced LIGO noise and assuming a single detector and linear waveform polarization for simplicity, we demonstrate that our method can distinguish magnetorotational explosions throughout the Milky Way (D < ~10 kpc) and explosions driven by the neutrino and acoustic mechanisms to D < ~2 kpc. Furthermore, we show that we can differentiate between models for rotating accretion-induced collapse of massive white dwarfs and models of rotating iron core collapse with high reliability out to several kpc.>>