The astronomy faculty of the University of Groningen is building three telescopes which can detect light from gravitational waves.
Translation by Traci White
OOG TV reports that the telescopes, which will eventually be moved to Chile, will be built and tested in Groningen at the Kapteyn Institute on the Zernike campus. The tests will involve aiming the telescopes at the north start to ensure that they are correctly aligned. The three telescopes are called BlackGEM and will ultimately be set up at La Silla Observatory in the Atacama Desert.
The waves occur when two black holes collide with each other and cause a ripple to travel through space. The collision can also produce light, and that is what the trio of telescopes are designed to detect.
The project was initially developed in Nijmegen and designed by ASTRON in Dwingeloo in Drenthe, but technician Marielle Bekema told OOG TV that the Drenthe facilities lacked the manpower to assemble the telescopes. According to the Radboud University in Nijmegen, the three telescopes are part of phase one of the project: fifteen telescopes will eventually come online at the site in the Andes mountains in Chile.
The existence of gravitational waves was predicted by Albert Einstein nearly 100 years ago, but the sound of the waves was only detected for the first time in 2015 by LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory.
Photo source: NASA