Just a reminder to anyone who might be trying to watch the announcement, LIGO will announce its latest results about 10 hours from now.
Now that rumors have been flying around for a few weeks, LIGO has announced that there will be an update on their latest gravitational wave results on Thursday at 10:30 am. This kind of thing isn’t very common, so it does sound quite likely that they will announce that they have found something. A discovery of gravitational waves would be one of the most important physics results of the last few decades.
The Denver Broncos just defeated Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50, redeeming themselves after their shameful performance two years ago.
Also, apparently Super Bowl L wasn’t good enough for branding purposes so they stopped using Roman numerals, at least for this year.
The rumor from earlier this year that LIGO has found gravitational waves has returned. This time, there’s a theorist who claims that a paper will be released by Nature in less than a week, so we won’t have to wait long to see if this particular rumor is true. The claim is that LIGO has found definitive evidence of a black hole merger, which would be very exciting. Measurable gravitational waves are expected to be generated when two very large objects orbit one another at a close distance, with the waves bleeding off energy and causing the orbital radius to decrease until the objects merge. An interferometry experiment like LIGO would then see a clear oscillating signal from the orbits of these two objects. Gravitational waves are one of the most important predictions of general relativity that we could measure.
Speaking of underground physics, Gizmodo has an article today on Snolab, with pictures of some of the facilities and a few detectors. Snolab is the deep underground lab in Sudbury, Ontario where a number of particle physics experiments are operating or are planned, such as SNO (and SNO+) and quite a few dark matter searches.
Today’s XKCD basically describes a sizable fraction of my career working underground in salt mines.
A few days ago – January 28th – was the 30th anniversary of the accident that destroyed the space shuttle Challenger, killing all aboard. It was an accident that never should have happened. The design flaw leading to the accident was supposedly already known but never taken seriously enough until the Challenger was destroyed.