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Detection of gravitational waves from astronomical sources

The search for gravitational waves has seen a fundamental change in recent years, with the start of the operational phase of the first generation interferometers, LIGO and Virgo, that having reached their nominal sensitivity, began their first scientific runs searching for high frequency gravitational waves in 2009.

From the point of view of astronomical observations, it is fundamental, once an event that may result in gravitational wave emission is detected with telescopes or astronomical satellites, that the search for an associated (if not strictly simultaneous) gravitational wave signal be initiated, possibly making use of positional information for the event. It is also necessary to accurately predict the expected gravitational wave signal. For this reason the development of a detailed theoretical model is aimed at increasing the probability of detection and also gaining a physical understanding of the sources, laying the foundations for gravitational wave astronomy.

The Italian scientific community active is this area is not especially numerous, but carries out an expert role in many areas: many of the most astrophysically significant gravitational wave studies are carried out through INAF. Of relevance to the forthcoming runs of LIGO and Virgo are the recent studies of the possible connection between high energy, paroxysmal events and gravitational waves. Theoretical activity is also very developed. Oscillations of neutron stars are the subject of advanced research. Binary systems made up of massive black holes will be of great importance to the LISA mission. LISA will be able to detect the gravitational waves from these systems to great distances (redshifts z~10-15) and may detect up to a hundred events per year. Detailed numerical simulations are being developed by some groups, to investigate both the astrophysics of binary black hole systems and the possible cosmological impact of these systems. Currently, the large facilities Virgo and LIGO are being used, and in the future, as well as advancements in these structures, the Einstein Telescope and LISA will also be important.

Olivier Le Fevre - in memoriam

Jun 26, 2020

Olivier Le Fevre - in memoriam On June 25, the astronomer Olivier Le Fevre passed away

Magnetic tornadoes in the Sun’s atmosphere

Jun 26, 2020

Magnetic tornadoes in the Sun’s atmosphere A team of researchers led by Mariarita Murabito (INAF) that includes scientists of the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and the Warwick University has provided the first observational proof that solar tornadoes are produced by swirling magnetic fields

Ultraviolet light vs. COVID19: from the Sun to artificial lamps the germicidal power of ultraviolet rays against the pandemic

Jun 15, 2020

Ultraviolet light vs. COVID19: from the Sun to artificial lamps the germicidal power of ultraviolet rays against the pandemic Results of a study carried out by the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF) and the University of Milan, in collaboration with Istituto Nazionale Tumori and the Don Gnocchi Foundation of Milan, demonstrate the high germicidal power of short ultraviolet radiation (UV-C) on SARS-COV-2 coronavirus. This result has important public health implications on the strategies to be adopted to manage the pandemic and clearly explain how decontamination and sterilization protocols to prevent SARS-Cov-2 infection must be designed. Notably, taking off from these results a second study explains the role of Sun-derived UV-B/A in conditioning the epidemiology and the worldwide evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic