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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

Syracuse Physicists Usher in a New Golden Age of Astronomy

Posted on: Oct. 16, 2017

Syracuse University physicists are among a global team of scientists to make a revolutionary discovery confirming the origins of gold and other heavy metals whose presence in the universe has been a long-standing mystery.

On Aug. 17, just days before the total solar eclipse would mesmerize the country, the Syracuse team witnessed the telltale celestial event: the gravitational waves from the collision of two massive neutron stars in deep space—and the resulting afterglow that signified the process of gold being created from the cosmic smash-up.

The transformative discovery marks the first detection of colliding neutron stars by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Observatory (LIGO) and the Virgo gravitational-wave detectors. Even more remarkable, it was the first time scientists were able to see the light from the collision with powerful telescopes that probe the farthest reaches of the universe. The public announcement today corroborates rumors and speculation about such a possible sighting that began swirling through cyberspace within days after the Aug. 17 event. Please visit SU News for more information.