LIGO scientists observe second recorded gravitational wave - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

LIGO scientists observe second recorded gravitational wave

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HANFORD, WA. -- Scientists make yet another incredible discovery at the LIGO Hanford Observatory. You might remember the revolutionary announcement back in February that scientists detected gravitational waves for the first time ever.

For just a quick reminder, gravitational waves cause tiny, invisible stretching or distortion of atoms. They can be caused by a list of things in the universe. In this case, the LIGO team is observing the explosion from two black holes combining. 

OK, science lesson out of the way. The LIGO team originally observed gravitational waves last September from two massive black holes combining. On Wednesday, the team of LIGO scientists from around the world announced they have discovered a second set of gravitational waves passing over the earth.

This second one happened on Christmas Day and was much smaller than the first. We talked to Fred Raab from the LIGO Hanford Observatory. He says the discovery means scientists can continue studying the universe. 

"Oh it's very exciting," Raab said. "So the first discovery told us they existed and the second discovery helps us refine what we call the rate basically. From earth how often do you see these events occur?"

Scientists at the LIGO Hanford Observatory are currently working to double the sensitivity of the complex machine. This fall they plan to power it back up again and have another 6-months of observations. 

A different observatory in Italy called the Virgo is planning to go online at the beginning of next year, giving scientists even more chances of observing gravitational waves. 

Scientists someday believe they could observe gravitational waves on a daily basis.
 

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