On June 29th NANOGrav announced the results of their 15 Years data set! Using Pulsars within our Milky Way Galaxy, NANOGrav fashioned a Gravitational Wave Antenna to uncover the background "hum" of Gravitational Waves. CSU Alum Dr. Joseph Glaser, (BS Honors in Physics & BS Mathematics, 2014) is part of this exciting team, providing key computational expertise.
Pulsars are a type of neutron star, the ultradense substances left behind after a star dies. These Pulsars spin rapidly, generating consistent radio waves in steady pulses. These pulses can be measured from earth and due to their consistent signature, can be used as clocks. According to the General Theory of Relativity, low-frequency gravitational waves could change the time it takes for these signals to arrive. Taking a pair of these pulsars, and measuring the difference in arrival time between them helps uncover the shape of the signal that distorts the pulses. By comparing the measurements of 68 pulsars in our galaxy over 15 years, they have uncovered evidence to support the Gravitational Wave Background Signal, which is likely caused by binary supermassive black holes formed from merging galaxies. (Fig1, Blue Line Proposed Signal, Yellow Bar Measured Results between Pulsars Pairs.)
Congratulations go out to all members of the NANOGrav for this incredible discovery, and we look forward to the exciting opportunities and research these findings create!
For more information, you can watch the announcement and presentation on YouTube.”