Lining Up Gravitational Waves and Light in a Neutron Star Merger

This must be an important paper as the first 6 page are authors.

Um, yes. This is looking at the coincidence of gravitational waves and light in a recent detection event at LIGO. You know this, right @Patrick? What do the @physicists think?

The recent discovery by Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo of a gravitational wave signal from
a binary neutron star inspiral has enabled tests of general relativity (GR) with this new type of
source. This source, for the first time, permits tests of strong-field dynamics of compact binaries
in presence of matter. In this paper, we place constraints on the dipole radiation and possible
deviations from GR in the post-Newtonian coefficients that govern the inspiral regime. Bounds on
modified dispersion of gravitational waves are obtained; in combination with information from the
observed electromagnetic counterpart we can also constrain effects due to large extra dimensions.
Finally, the polarization content of the gravitational wave signal is studied. The results of all tests
performed here show good agreement with GR.

Yes, and it falsifies YEC Lisle’s Asymmetric Speed of Light solution to the distant starlight problem for YECs. Lisle didn’t think it was possible to falsify his ASL idea and low and behold scientists did just that by observing the collapse of two neutron stars via gravitational waves and light waves.


Maybe the resident physicists can comment, as has been suggested. This is from the short summary:

Using the binary neutron star coalescence signal
GW170817, and in some cases also its associated electromagnetic counterpart, we have subjected general relativity to a range of tests related to the dynamics of the source (putting bounds on deviations of PN coefficients), the propagation of gravitational waves (constraining local Lorentz invariance violations, as well as large extra dimensions), and the polarization content of gravitational waves. In all cases we find agreement with the predictions of GR.

While this by itself is an important paper, it is one of the “child” papers of this one (they were released by the collaboration at the same time). The importance of these sets of paper cannot be overstated. It is fair to say that this is the second most important gravitational wave observation to date.


I know that there were physicists who were challenging previous detections at LIGO by claiming that the proposed signal was just processed noise. Do these results put those doubts to bed (or at least significantly weaken them)?

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First of, these challenges were already addressed by the LIGO collaboration before this detection, and there is no doubt that the signal is real. However, this detection, as it was also detected in the electromagnetic spectrum, put the nail in the coffin to the challenges you mentioned.


This was the merger in which they also detected signals indicating the production of heavier elements in the process, wasn’t it? Giving some solid evidence behind the theory represented in purple on this interesting figure? Very very cool, in my opinion.