LIGO's Third Observing Run Started with a Bang!

LIGO is just four months into its third observing run (O3) and there’s already a lot to be excited about. O3 began on April 1st, 2019 with high expectations for detections thanks to a series of upgrades that were made to both instruments after LIGO’s second observing run ended on August 25th, 2017. Also joining O3 on April 1st was Virgo, the European-based gravitational-wave detector in Italy, which almost doubled its sensitivity since its last run.

By July 31st, 2019, LIGO had sent out 25 alerts regarding possible detections; three have since been retracted, leaving 22 "candidate" gravitational wave events. You can learn more about each of these (and subsequent candidates) by visiting the LIGO/Virgo detection alert page GraceDB or the UK-based GW Public Alerts page.

So far, no electromagnetic counterparts related to our public alerts have been observed, but all candidates are being actively analyzed by LSC/Virgo science teams. A sensitivity improvement will be implemented in an upcoming commissioning break when LIGO will temporarily halt the observing run (from October 1 to 31, with the run resuming on November 1).

For more details, read the full story at the LIGO Lab webpage.