Image Credit: ESO
ENGRAVE - Electromagnetic counterparts of gravitational wave sources at the Very Large Telescope
ESO/A.J. Levan, N.R. Tanvir

ENGRAVE - Electromagnetic counterparts of gravitational wave sources at the Very Large Telescope

On 17th August 2017, a gravitational wave signal lasting for more than 50 seconds was discovered by the Ligo-Virgo Science Collaboration and just 1.7 seconds later a short burst of gamma rays was detected by the Fermi and Integral satellites. A new optical and infra-red source was identified in the galaxy NGC4993 that was unlike any other transient ever reported. This was AT2017gfo, a kilonova from the merger of two neutron stars, powered by the radioactive decay of r-processed heavy elements. The European Southern Observatory’s telescopes played a central role in the discovery and we have formed ENGRAVE to use ESO’s powerful resources during the next Ligo-Virgo observing run in 2019.