Madrid, 17 May. (Europe Press) –
BlackGEM packageThree new telescopes located at the ESO (European Southern Observatory) La Silla Observatory (Chile) have started operations.
These telescopes Monitor the southern sky To detect cosmic phenomena that produce gravitational waves, such as neutron star and black hole mergers.
Certain cataclysmic events in the universe, such as the collision of black holes or neutron stars, create gravitational waves, creating ripples in the fabric of time and space.
Observatories such as LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) and the Virgo interferometer are designed to detect these disturbances. But no Its appearance can be determined very precisely Missing is the rapid glow that results from collisions between neutron stars and black holes. BlackGEM is dedicated to using visible light Quickly scan large areas of the sky to accurately capture gravitational wave sourcesinforms the ESO It is a statement.
“With BlackGEM we intend to expand the study of these cosmic phenomena using both gravitational waves and visible light,” says Paul Groote of Radboud University in the Netherlands, the project’s principal investigator. “The combination of the two gives us more information than just studying these events alone.”
By detecting both gravitational waves and their visible counterparts, the astronomical community can confirm the nature of gravitational wave sources and precisely determine their locations. The use of visible light also allows detailed observations of the processes occurring at these junctions, Formation of heavy elements like gold and platinum.
However, to date, only one visible counterpart to the gravitational wave source has been detected. Furthermore, even the most advanced gravitational wave detectors such as LIGO or Virgo cannot accurately identify their sources. At best, they can narrow down a source’s location to an area of the sky about 400 full moons wide. Using visible light, BlackGem will efficiently scan such large areas at high enough resolution to systematically detect sources of gravitational waves.
The three telescopes that make up BlackGEM were developed by a consortium of universities: Radbot University, the Netherlands Research School of Astronomy and KU Leuven in Belgium. The telescopes are each 65 centimeters in diameter and can study different parts of the sky simultaneously. The collaboration aims to eventually expand the array to 15 telescopes and further improve its scanning coverage. BlackGEM is located at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. It is the first collection of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.
“Despite the modest 65-centimeter primary mirror, we took full advantage of the excellent viewing conditions at La Silla, so we achieved the same depth as other projects with much larger mirrors,” says Grout.
Once BlackGEM accurately identifies the source of the gravitational waves, larger telescopes such as ESO’s Very Large Telescope or the future Very Large Telescope will be able to carry out detailed follow-up observations. This will help shed light on some extreme phenomena in the universe.
In addition to its search for optical counterparts of gravitational waves, BlackGEM will also conduct surveys of the southern sky. Your operations will be fully automated, That means the array can quickly detect and observe “transient” astronomical events that appear suddenly and quickly fade away. This will give the astronomical community deeper insight into short-lived astronomical events such as supernovae, massive explosions that mark the end of a massive star’s life, according to ESO.