A New Black Hole
On 1st June 2017 the LIGO Scientific Collaboration announced another detection of a signal from colliding black holes. The newfound black hole, formed by the merger, has a mass about 49 times that of our sun.
The signal named 'GW170104' was detected on the fourth of January 2017 and lasted just a fraction of a second. This result is the first outcome of LIGO's second current observing run, which began November 30, 2016, and will continue through this summer. In parallel the LIGO collaboration is working on technical upgrades for LIGO's next run, scheduled to begin in late 2018, during which the detectors' sensitivity will be improved.
Black holes and gravitational waves are fascinating and relatively new topics in physics and astronomy with many non-intuitive features. When you find yourself trying to explain them to your friends and family by waving arms and searching for analogies, maybe our apps can help:
Pocket Black Hole
Pocket Black Hole is our most popular app especially on phones and tablets. It simply let's you add a black hole lensing effect to the phone camera. You can move, grow or shrink the black hole and take screenshots. That's it. It's free, has no ads, try it!
Stretch and Squash
Stretch and Squash shows the effect of a passing gravitational wave on LIGO, a laser interferometer or on you! You can switch between different types of gravitational waves. Slightly less fun than Pocket Black Hole but very useful for explaining what gravitational waves do.
Black Hole Master
Black Hole Master let's you play as a controller of black holes. This game is not yet available on phones, but is a lot of fun on a PC (Windows, Mac, Linux) with game controllers. It's a fast paced arcade game which works especially well for the younger people with quick reflexes. It provides a first intuitive feeling for gravity as a purely attractive force. Black Hole Master has been the highlight on many science fairs and events!
Image credits: top image: LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC), bottom image: LSC/Sonoma State University/Aurore Simonnet