We want to share our excitement about the first-ever direct detection of gravitational waves! The event happened right before the beginning of the first observing run of the advanced LIGO detectors, on 14 September 2015. The waves were generated as two black holes merged into a single black hole about 1.3 billion light years from Earth. In astronomy units this is 410 Mpc, approximately 10% of the way across the visible Universe!

Just as exciting: this is also the first-ever observation of binary black holes. In fact, since black holes are black, and emit no light or electromagnetic radiation, this is the only way we can see them.

Did Einstein@Home play any role in this? No, it didnít. The signal in the instrument lasted only about 1/4 of a second. Itís not a continuous-wave signal like the type that Einstein@Home has been searching for. But since the observing run ended in mid January, we have been preparing the data to start a new low-frequency all-sky search for continuous gravitational waves. We are now starting to run this on Einstein@Home, so please sign up your computers and disable their sleep mode! In the next months we will extend the frequency range of the continuous waves all-sky searches, target interesting point sources and we are also gearing up to perform broader surveys for binary black hole mergers.

Bruce Allen
Director, Einstein@Home