Gravitational waves could prove the existence of the quark-gluon plasma

Computer models of merging neutron stars predicts how to tell when this happens

Goethe University Frankfurt

IMAGE: Montage of the computer simulation of two merging neutron stars that blends over with an image from heavy-ion collisions to highlight the connection of astrophysics with nuclear physics. view more  Credit: Lukas R. Weih & Luciano Rezzolla (Goethe University Frankfurt) (right half of the image from

Neutron stars are among the densest objects in the universe. If our Sun, with its radius of 700,000 kilometres were a neutron star, its mass would be condensed into an almost perfect sphere with a radius of around 12 kilometres. When two neutron stars collide and merge into a hyper-massive neutron star, the matter in the core of the new object becomes incredibly hot and dense. According to physical calculations, these conditions could result in hadrons such as neutrons and protons, which are the particles normally found in our daily experience, dissolving into their components of quarks and gluons and thus producing a quark-gluon plasma.

In 2017 it was discovered for the first time that merging neutron stars send out a gravitational wave signal that can be detected on Earth. The signal not only provides information on the nature of gravity, but also on the behaviour of matter under extreme conditions. When these gravitational waves were first discovered in 2017, however, they were not recorded beyond the merging point.

This is where the work of the Frankfurt physicists begins. They simulated merging neutron stars and the product of the merger to explore the conditions under which a transition from hadrons to a quark-gluon plasma would take place and how this would affect the corresponding gravitational wave. The result: in a specific, late phase of the life of the merged object a phase transition to the quark-gluon plasma took place and left a clear and characteristic signature on the gravitational-wave signal.

Professor Luciano Rezzolla from Goethe University is convinced: “Compared to previous simulations, we have discovered a new signature in the gravitational waves that is significantly clearer to detect. If this signature occurs in the gravitational waves that we will receive from future neutron-star mergers, we would have a clear evidence for the creation of quark-gluon plasma in the present universe.”


Publication: Post-merger gravitational wave signatures of phase transitions in binary mergers Lukas R. Weih, Matthias Hanauske, Luciano Rezzolla, Physical Review Letters DOI 10.1103/PhysRevLett.124.171103

Video: Visualisation of merging neutron stars: This simulation shows the density of the ordinary matter (mostly neutrons) in red-yellow. Shortly after the two stars merge the extremely dense centre turns green, depicting the formation of the quark-gluon plasma.

Pictures may be downloaded here:

Caption Montage: Montage of the computer simulation of two merging neutron stars that blends over with an image from heavy-ion collisions to highlight the connection of astrophysics with nuclear physics. Credit: Lukas R. Weih & Luciano Rezzolla (Goethe University Frankfurt) (right half of the image from

Caption Simulation: Shortly after two neutron stars merge a quark gluon plasma forms in the centre of the new object. Red yellow: ordinary matter, mostly neutrons. Credit: Lukas R. Weih & Luciano Rezzolla (Goethe University Frankfurt)

Further information:

Goethe University Frankfurt
Prof. Dr. Luciano Rezzolla
Chair of Theoretical Astrophysics
Institute for Theoretical Physics

Current news about science, teaching, and society can be found on GOETHE-UNI online (

Goethe University is a research-oriented university in the European financial centre Frankfurt am Main. The university was founded in 1914 through private funding, primarily from Jewish sponsors, and has since produced pioneering achievements in the areas of social sciences, sociology and economics, medicine, quantum physics, brain research, and labour law. It gained a unique level of autonomy on 1 January 2008 by returning to its historic roots as a “foundation university”. Today, it is one of the three largest universities in Germany. Together with the Technical University of Darmstadt and the University of Mainz, it is a partner in the inter-state strategic Rhine-Main University Alliance. Internet:

Publisher: The President of Goethe University Editor: Dr. Markus Bernards, Science Editor, PR & Communication Department, Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 1, 60323 Frankfurt am Main

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John V. Wright
May 3, 2020 10:34 pm

When I mention casually over breakfast to my wife that gravitational waves could prove the existence of the quark-gluon plasma she knows that I have been reading WUWT again…..

Paul Jenkinson
Reply to  John V. Wright
May 4, 2020 12:26 am

Just starts arguments in my house.I desist these days.

Rod Evans
Reply to  John V. Wright
May 4, 2020 12:54 am

I had the same impulse to advise my wife of the momentous news conveyed in that headline.
She gave me one of those pitying looks, that only long suffering wives can muster.

F. Ross
Reply to  John V. Wright
May 4, 2020 4:11 pm

Your wife gets up in time for breakfast?
Lucky you.

Bill Treuren
May 3, 2020 11:26 pm

I get the same glazed reaction here and it is not rewarded with a fresh coffee.

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
May 4, 2020 12:57 am

Well…well…well, this quite made my day. Can you see this glue being available to stick things together anytime soon? But seriously, it is interesting.

Neil Jordan
Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
May 4, 2020 8:26 am

I like your query about the glue. When will this gluon will be available at my favorite hardware store? Will it be a 2-part mix like epoxy? Tiny single use tubes? Or in a big jug like Elmer’s so I can make really awesome slime?

J Mac
Reply to  Neil Jordan
May 4, 2020 11:39 am

Would be wonderful if it was reversible….
Mr Myagi’s Gluon – Gluoff!

May 4, 2020 1:40 am

Computer Models!

M Courtney
Reply to  mwhite
May 4, 2020 2:33 am

That re then tested against observations of reality.
That’s how real science works.

Reply to  M Courtney
May 4, 2020 10:03 am

If I understand right, they have posited an effect their models predict. Their hypothesis will be tested against observations of reality; assuming we’re still around to make those observations.

But yes Matthew, this is indeed proper science. Their predictions are falsifiable.

Curious George
Reply to  mwhite
May 4, 2020 8:42 am

Are they trying to detect second-order effects?

David Stone CEng
May 4, 2020 1:48 am

And just how was the “computer model” verified against anything? Gravitational waves do not exist and are another piece of mathematical nonsense against the actuality. Prove the alleged velocity (c), it is an arbitrary number fed into GR to get a wanted result.

Mark - Helsinki
Reply to  David Stone CEng
May 4, 2020 2:40 am


Lets not forget, the basis for a Neutron star existing does not actually exist either.

This is why Astronomy is a mess. People come up with ideas in their heads, then they hit the numbers to make that imaginary idea real.

Pulsar star theory was literally someone asked a question about what it could be, then the mathematicians made it pulsars “real”. To make that nonsense real it had to spin 1.5 times as fast as a dentists’ drill. Yep, they claim a star is spinning that fast so they don’t have to admit and accept that it’s more than likely it’s some electrical phenomenon, because we now know the pulsar bursts slow down and speed up and change emission types, which completely destroys the theory, yet they still blab on about this imaginary super fast spinning star 😀

The problem with Astronomy is the studies and missions cost millions of dollars in many cases, and years of work, and ego will not allow most to admit their idea was bollocks.

NASA has also engaged with this nonsense when they wasted millions sending quarts gyroscopes into space, but never factored in all of the things that might affect such sensitive instruments. The real experiment was a failure, the gyroscopes could not detect “earth’s spin effect on spacetime” but… they played with the data for 5 years until they had a result and then claimed success.

Solar theory is a mess (it’s a patchwork of often incompatible theories, and to save them when inconvenient evidence emerges, they create a patch theory to bind the parts of a failed theory together.

Astronomy still tells us the universe and it’s amazing diversity is dominated by gravity and explosions and unproven constants, constants that one by one are falling by the wayside as the new generation of astronomers come along, with their awareness thanks to the internet, of other ideas that would never have seen the light of day before the internaught came along

Reply to  Mark - Helsinki
May 4, 2020 6:01 am

I’m not upset a lot of theories will be proven wrong. You have to start somewhere and a lot of current discoveries are from new instruments we’ve only just created and deployed. We live is such a relatively stable part of the universe and all the action is happening so far away that we have to make sense of something from incomplete information about it.

I still remember a test question I had in the eighth grade on how many moons Jupiter had. The correct test answer was 12. Google it now and the answer is 79 known moons. There could be more!

Eustace Cranch
Reply to  Mark - Helsinki
May 4, 2020 6:10 am

Let me guess- El*ctric Universe?

Einstein, Planck, Bohr, Dirac, Heisenberg, Pauli, Feynman, Chandrasekhar, Dyson, Hawking… all a bunch of ignoramuses who missed the REAL explanation.


Mark - Helsinki
Reply to  Eustace Cranch
May 6, 2020 1:53 pm

Let me guess, you have no clue what you are talking about so try to character assassinate me.

No, I am not really interested in any cultish set of fixed ideas from astronomers or anyone else.

You on the other hand, are arrogant and stupid at the same time, dunning kruger you

Gary Sandberg
Reply to  Mark - Helsinki
May 4, 2020 9:09 am

This is what comes of sniffing the gluons.

Reply to  Mark - Helsinki
May 4, 2020 6:12 pm

Wow, perhaps you have a PhD in astrology?

The idea that pulsars spin is directly based on observational data, namely periodic pulses of energy (e.g. X-rays, although they emit at other wavelengths also). And the observed spin of most pulsars fits with the conservation of momentum, on the assumption that pulsars are collapsed stars. The latter assumption also accords with observational data: the pulsar in the Crab Nebula appears to be the remnant of a supernova observed in 1054 AD.

Millisecond pulsars (which I guess is what you’re referring to when you talk about dentists’ drills, although in fact those drills spin an order of magnitude faster than millisecond pulsars) are like other pulsars, except that the spin more rapidly; the mechanism that supplies that high speed spin is not know, although there are theories.

Mark - Helsinki
Reply to  mcswell
May 6, 2020 2:00 pm

“The idea that pulsars spin is directly based on observational data, namely periodic pulses of energy”

The idea is based on someone’s imagination, not observation. A periodic flash is observed, and someone pondered “maybe its a spinning star” and all evidence there after is interpreted as such

Keep it simple, what makes more physical sense in our physical world, a star spinning that fast or electrical activity in plasma caused by processes unknown in the star? Only a moron would pick the spinning option FFS. get a grip 😀

the intermittent flash has been observed to speed up and slow again and change emission type from xray to other types. You left that bit out, and it smashes the theory.

I am definitely smarter than an astonomer with a PhD, and more equipped because of my lack of fear of being an outcast for challenging obviously bullshit theories.

The theory literally came from a one answer to a question of what it might be and everything is now interpreted through that idea, a spinning star.

Reply to  Mark - Helsinki
May 4, 2020 7:06 pm

“This is why Astronomy is a mess. People come up with ideas in their heads, then they hit the numbers to make that imaginary idea real.“

Coming up with ideas… in a vacuum?

Reply to  David Stone CEng
May 4, 2020 7:30 am

These things that “don’t exist” have been measured.
They first measured the velocity of light almost 100 years ago. It’s been remeasured using differing techniques many times since then.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  David Stone CEng
May 4, 2020 10:18 am

I hope you don’t depend on GPS to navigate, because you know they rely on the “alleged” velocity of light and Einstein’s theories. Without those corrections, your GPS receiver would have an accuracy of about +/-1mi. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg as far as our modern dependence on those theories (and the speed of light). But I suppose like the old joke about the carpenter that didn’t believe in glass because he never saw it before, you deny relativity because you don’t directly see the effects of it in your day-to-day work as a Civil Engineer.

Charles Nelson
Reply to  David Stone CEng
May 4, 2020 3:12 pm

The aether is back!

David Blenkinsop
May 4, 2020 2:01 am

Isn’t “quark gluon plasma” just a slight variation on the idea that all the atomic nucleii around us are supposed to be made of quarks stuck together with gluons in the first place?

Curious George
Reply to  David Blenkinsop
May 4, 2020 11:31 am

Authors believe that the quark-gluon plasma somehow has different gravitational properties. I’ll enjoy my day rather than wade through that “science”.

Reply to  David Blenkinsop
May 4, 2020 5:55 pm

A quark gluon plasma would be to ordinary nuclei as an (electric) plasma is to a solid (or a liquid or a gas, I don’t know which would be the closest analogy).

Mark - Helsinki
May 4, 2020 2:30 am

Neutron stars dont exist, “strange matter” does not exist, so neither do Neutron stars.


David Blenkinsop
Reply to  Mark - Helsinki
May 4, 2020 5:41 am

At least neutrons are a known particle, so any theory that says ultradense stars might be made of them is at least based on something known.

What seems more problematic to me is when they start talking about the fascinating topic of black holes, with their event horizon ‘envelopes’ shrouding “naked singularities” that no one must ever see? In comparison, some sort of super neutron star would seem like more of a believably exotic object, IMO.

One thing to note here is that I keep an open mind, and am *almost* convinced that the claimed detection of gravity waves is for real. But then, if gravity is limited by the speed of light, gravity waves would almost *have* to be real, so looking favorably at evidence for them might seem reasonable, as well as another “win” for Einstein’s gravity theory in particular! For me, though, the thing that makes the “wheels fall off” is those physics ‘singularities’ that are supposedly embedded in the alleged ‘light trapping’ black holes — alternatives to this picture, anyone?

Tom in Florida
Reply to  David Blenkinsop
May 4, 2020 6:22 am

You are mixing up gravitational waves and gravity waves. They are different.

David Blenkinsop
Reply to  Tom in Florida
May 4, 2020 7:16 pm

Oops, terminology! I meant “gravitational’, like, you know, the LIGO results? That’s the context here.

Reply to  David Blenkinsop
May 5, 2020 9:53 am

For me, though, the thing that makes the “wheels fall off” is those physics ‘singularities’ that are supposedly embedded in the alleged ‘light trapping’ black holes — alternatives to this picture, anyone?

I guess you missed my reply to this question of yours on another thread:


David Blenkinsop
Reply to  Jim Masterson
May 5, 2020 1:51 pm

Thanks for the time dilation related answer. The singularity gets moved to the infinitely distant future? That in itself would still be pretty singular! For comparison, an old time sailor guided by a Mercator map might conclude that the North Pole must be infinitely far away, perhaps.

Reply to  David Blenkinsop
May 5, 2020 3:21 pm

A more important question may be what’s north of the North Pole? Some questions lead to nonsense answers. For instance, what happened before the Big Bang, id est, before space-time existed?


Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Mark - Helsinki
May 4, 2020 5:43 am

comments like yours earns this site the closed-mind science denier reputation.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
May 4, 2020 7:31 am

Joel, I can’t figure out why these kinds of posts bring out the kooks in droves. I see it on other astronomy sites too. I think it has to do with being completely clueless about something but having to pretend to know everything about it.

Reply to  beng135
May 4, 2020 10:36 am

There are a lot of people who are utterly convinced that everything they don’t understand must be a fraud. I see the same reaction whenever issues of finance come up.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
May 4, 2020 7:38 am

Progs have an agenda they believe regardless of supporting information.

They have what they believe to be real, and to accompany this they also have a propaganda campaign to disparage anyone who does not agree.

This is their modus operandi.

Progs decided that they would grab control of overall global society with the Climate Crisis. This began in earnest in the 1950s, with Manhattan Project alum Harrison Brown guesstimating the future, and being among the first in this modern era to decide that we were about to crash the planet. “Must Destruction be our Destiny,” 1945, and “The Challenge of Man’s Future,” 1954.

It is a normal part of their propaganda that opponents are disparaged.

So, now, we all must fall in lock-step with your views or be branded as outcasts?

Progs are going to call dissenters some disparaging term regardless. It is called “ad hominem.”

And, we should be encouraged by this, because it shows this is all they got.

Some here agree with my believe that God created the universe. Some don’t. I appreciate being able to be part of this blog community and throw in my two cents.

–For a long time, it was “comets” that was brought in to save every logical inconsistency in the desire for a Godless Cosmology.

Then, “dark matter.”

Now, it is “gravitational waves.”

Or maybe, just maybe, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth,” and “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

I believe it is maximally strategic to investigate and assume a fully Natural world, without Deux Ex Machina explanations of “Life, the Universe, and Everything.” However, to start with an inviolate premise that there is nothing superrnatural whatsoever, and you are breaking the rules to believe anything supernatural, despite the mounting evidence, is faith-based foolishness.

David Blenkinsop
Reply to  TheLastDemocrat
May 5, 2020 12:56 am

Somehow, the following quotation seems appropriate:

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,
that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God”

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
May 4, 2020 1:30 pm

He meant it? I thought he just forgot the /sarc tag.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Mark - Helsinki
May 4, 2020 10:27 am

How do you know? The existence of Neutron stars are predicted based on theories that are well established and tested. Objects out there that are highly consistent with the predictions have been observed. It would seem to me at this point that with the weight of that evidence, you will need more than a “FFS” to convince most people that your claim has any merit. Now dark matter and dark energy are not on nearly as good of footing, and for that reason, many people like myself are highly skeptical of them.

“In God we trust. Everyone else bring data.” Got any data?

Reply to  Mark - Helsinki
May 4, 2020 6:17 pm

Can you say “non sequitur”? I knew you could!

The existence of “strange matter” is not a prerequisite for the existence of neutron stars, although it has been hypothesized that strange matter might exist in the core of neutron stars.

BTW, you should try reading Larry Niven’s book “Neutron Star.” Then again, I suppose you might gag…

May 4, 2020 6:33 am

As long as they’re “gravity” waves and not time waves… studies have yet to prove either way.

May 4, 2020 6:51 am

Colliding neutron stars were important to our solar system. Much of the heavy metals were produced from a nearby collision before it formed. Table w/sources of elements:

Reply to  beng135
May 4, 2020 7:33 am

How do these elements created by colliding neutron stars escape the neutron star.
Standard cosmology has all heavy elements coming from super nova.

Reply to  MarkW
May 4, 2020 8:39 am

MarkW, the collision is a violent event (the two stars are orbiting each other at relativistic speeds at the collision), spewing debris outward at very high speeds.

Rich Davis
Reply to  beng135
May 4, 2020 10:12 am

If it takes a star with 10-50 solar masses to create a neutron star, and neutron stars end up being about 1 solar mass, then it follows that most (>90%) of the mass of a star that ends up becoming a neutron star would be ejected during the supernova explosion. Most such explosions presumably are not binary systems of stars that are both massive enough to form neutron stars, I would assume.

Whether there was such a binary neutron system near the solar system 5+ billion years ago, before earth formed, I have no idea. How would we know such a thing? How would we know that a large neutron star or a black hole observed “nearby” had formed by the merging of two neutron stars more than 4.5 billion years ago?

In any case, it seems much more likely to me that most of the elements we find on earth heavier than iron are probably directly from supernova explosions rather than from matter ejected during neutron star mergers. But I have no background in astrophysics.

Reply to  Rich Davis
May 4, 2020 10:41 am

Had to have enriched the material that formed the solar system not long before, since uranium-235 doesn’t have a particularly long half-life (700 myrs) & is still present today after 4.5 billion yrs, albeit in small amounts.

Reply to  beng135
May 4, 2020 10:38 am

If there was enough energy to throw much at all away from the collision, then the stars themselves wouldn’t collide in the first place.
The combined gravity is huge.

Reply to  MarkW
May 4, 2020 11:01 am

I’m not saying you are wrong, but the tidal forces are huge too.


Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  MarkW
May 4, 2020 9:39 am

Two nucleosynthesis processes make elements heavier than iron.
“Neutron reactions in astrophysics”

The (r) rapid process: believed BNS mergers are the major r-process sources in the universe.
A current understanding from GW1708017.

The (s) slow process: Believed that asymptotic giant branch stars are the primary source. See section 2 in the first ref above.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
May 4, 2020 12:46 pm

It’s entirely possible that I only think I understood that paper, but it says that neutron capture s process occurs at least in red giants, not just during the supernova event. So I gather it’s the supernova that disperses the heavy elements to space after they were formed in the latter stages of the star’s evolution.

Two neutron stars colliding would throw off nothing but neutrons, right? I don’t see how it could make sense that we’d get heavy elements from nothing but neutrons. (And that’s granting that the merging of the two neutron stars throws anything off at all).

Reply to  Rich Davis
May 5, 2020 8:11 am

Rich Davis, I’m an engineer — just interested in astronomy. But my guess is varying-size “chunks” of neutrons (ranging from one to quadrillions still glued together by nuclear forces) that are blasted away are going to very quickly “decay” — neutrons at varying rates emitting an electron and gamma ray & becoming a proton. If that happens in a sizable “chunk”, you could very briefly have a new element with an extremely high atomic number (protons). But almost all such elements would be extremely unstable, and would continue to decay until reaching some relatively stable configuration — some isotope of uranium or plutonium for example. Smaller “chunks” might decay to one of the stable rare earth elements. Just a guess of course.

Phil Salmon
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
May 4, 2020 5:14 pm

Do you think that Betelgeuse which is a red giant approaching supernova is engaging in > Fe nucleosynthesis already?

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Phil Salmon
May 4, 2020 8:08 pm

No. Fe nucleosynthesis is a very short-lived process… days hours.
But.. if Betelgeuse blows up tomorrow I’ll change my conclusion and say yes.
Real scientists are open to new observations altering conclusions.

Betelgeuse going SN2 Kabluie would be a fun, once in millenia treat for us. But unlikely.

Phil Salmon
May 4, 2020 6:53 am

What signal? A neutron fart?

May 4, 2020 8:49 am

Neutron stars are among the densest objects in the universe.

I guess they haven’t met any health care bureaucrats. 🙂

(I know, I know. Cheap shot, easy target, etc. But I’ve been on lockdown too long.)

J Mac
May 4, 2020 11:46 am

An interesting hypothesis! Time will tell whether observational data will support it or not.

Joel O'Bryan
May 4, 2020 12:37 pm

I have a hypothesis that a GW, if sufficiently strong* and/or close**, will induce oscillations and standing-waves in the hundreds of thousand kilometers long, thin magnetic flux tubes rising near the base of the convective zone of stars, including our sun.
* strong is measured by “radiated GW energy” in solar masses.
** close is measured as giga-lightyears (Gly).

The ultimate result of this oscillation disturbance is it initiates the of twisting magnetic flux tubes between two standing wave points under the alpha effect and the magnetic buoyancy as they rise. This magnetic rope dis-organization results in looped magnetic fields at the chromosphere, the surface we see in visible light. Solar spots, or sun spots for our sun, are thus the result of strong GW events passing through a star’s convective zone some hundreds of hours earlier.

In addition to the GW passage through Earth by the LIGO detectors, the Binary Neutron Star inspiral-merger event discussed in this article, GW170817, was precisely located (by RA, Dec) by multiple optical, gammaray, xray and radiotelescopes telescopes in NGC4993, a galaxy some 40 Megaparsec (Mpc), or about 130 million lightyears (ly), from Earth in the deep Southern Hemisphere sky.

14 Days after GW170817 our Sun developed sunspot activity that surprised the solar physics community with multiple beta-gamma-delta (bgd) sunspots, the most vigorous solar sunspot and flaring/CME events of SC24. The period from 1-14 September 2017 was a very interesting time for sunspot watching community, and the CMEs and xray flares got the attention of space weather community. There was also a significantly strong GW from a binary black hole (BBH) merger on 14 August 2017, as well as a possible GW lensed GW detection from this event. Basically my hypothesis says our sun gots it magnetic strings (super high pressure, high tension long thin magnetic flux ropes deep in CZ near the tachocline) “plucked” like a harp multiple times in mid-August. Modeling of solar CZ flux tubes suggests these Magnetic ropes rise under magnetic buoyancy at average speed of 140 m/s towards the surface. The Sun has a radius 695 Megameters (Mm). The base of the CZ is estimated at r/R = 0.71, thus the CZ layer is about (0.29)695 Mm = 201 Mm. Assuming an average flux tube rise speed of 140 m/s this gives a “delay” of 1.435 million seconds, or ~400 hours for the deepest disturbance (twisted, looped flux tubes) to reached the visible surface where we see this as sunspots. If the disturbance starts somewhat higher at around 175 Mm depth with a very strong GW or alternatively, the average rise speed of the flux tube were faster (~160 m/s average) during the active period of the solar cycle maximum, then the rise time to eruption would be on the order of 14 days (~340 hrs).

The polarization of the GW is important, as Einstein’s General Relativity predicts only one type of GW polarization and thus the stretching is transverse to the propagation direction of the GW. The LIGO interferometers are basically orthogonal antenna arms that detect this shortening and lengthening of space as the GW oscillations pass though the laser beams bouncing backing forth off the test masses strung as reflective target at the end of each LIGO arm. This polarization dependent stretching and contraction of space alters the path length distance (by femto meters) thus causing the interference pattern the computers analyze in real-time to determine the GW frequency, the amount of light “strain” (displacement). With 3 widely spaced GW LIGOs (Hanford, WA; Livingston, LA; Northern Italy) online and detecting the same waveform, offline processing pipelines can pinpoint likely sky locations of the event and alert the rest of the observing astronomy community in near real time to the GW event time and approximate sky localization coordinates (RA, Dec). Thus decades of planning all came together very nicely to detect the beginning of BNS merger optical event in NGC4993 beginning about 2 seconds after the GW170817 event, exactly as modeling predicted the optical breakout (photons) from the ultrahot cocoon of plasma. The resulting GW of BNS inspiral spread outwards and arrived at Earth 130 million years later, where it arrived here (3rd rock from the Sun) at 12:41:04 UTC on 8/17/2017 (mm/dd/yyyy). 17 days later Active Region (AR) 12673, bgd classification spot, unleashed an X9.3 flare, the largest of SC24. This region AR 12673 and AR 12674 were both bgd classification regions.

see this link for an explanation of classifications:

Hypothesis makes predictions to be useful scientific tools for understanding nature. This GW-AR hypothesis makes predictions that there is both a delayed phase of AR region creation starting at about 12 days and extending to about 20 days after a strong GW event. This is due to the face-on orientation of the deep CZ flux tubes (horizontal) and the orthogonally arriving GW polarization inducing the oscillation to create a standing wave. This of course happens on both sides of the sun, the point with GW facing event and the antipode on the other side of the spherical CZ shell.

The Sun is of course differentially rotating with latitude. One Carrington rotation being formally and arbitrarily defined as 27.2753 days, but for the purposes here, I have adopted the synodic rotation period of 26.24 days (the time it takes for the same spot to return to Earth’s apparent view due to Earth’s 365.24 day orbital period in the same direction as the sun’s rotation). Thus in 14-17 days (17/26.24= 0.65) it takes for the disturbed flux tubes to erupt at the photosphere in the late phase, that region will have rotated 65% of 360 degrees or about 233 degree from the GW arrival angle. Being precisely located in time and angle of arrival into our solar system (RA, Dec) allowed this hypothesis to be tested and found it satisfies this to the limits of random buoyant drift as the flux tubes move upwards and twist under the alpha effect through the CZ over the14 -17 days. You can familiarize yourself with the alpha effect here:

This hypothesis also posits an early phase of excitation of existing AR’s magnetic field structures nearer the photosphere at the sun’s limb regions relative to GW arrival angle. This early phase AR-flaring is hypothesized to be due to the near vertical orientation of the magnetic field lines nearer the surface when viewed at the limb, where these vertically-oriented magnetic field lines in the limb AR’s would be most sensitive to the “strain” from the passing GW. This early phase AR excitation would both dependent on the presence of an existing AR(‘s) near the limb as the GW passes through the Sun and the GW being on sufficient strength to displace the near surface (less than 30 Mm depth) magnetic field structures to initiate instability (and thus flux rope twisting leading to xray flares due to magnetic re-connection events).

So what does this Strong GW-AR hypothesis do that we can make predictions?

Another very interesting prediction of this hypothesis (and the main reason for this long post) is that it is not confined to just our Sun in terms of a strong GW event inducing CZ disturbances to rising magnetic flux tubes. If this hypothesis is valid, then any star with a CZ should be susceptible to GW passage disturbance and thus active region formations and flaring.

Our nearest neighbor is Proxima Centauri (PC) at 4.24 ly. It is a deep southern hemisphere celestial (telescope) object. PC as a Red Dwarf is known as flare star, and is noteworthy for some observed superflaring it undergoes a few times every year. Being “close” we have a relatively accurate distance (based on parallax measurements) and of course RA, Dec on PC. Well it just so happens that GW170817, being precisely located in RA/Dec, was southern hemisphere arrival angle that was not too far from the Alpha Centauri trinary star system from our viewpoint. Proxima Centauri, the Red Dwarf of the system, was 0.725 radians off the point of origin of GW1780817 (NGC4993) and it passed through the Alpha Centuari system about 1 1/2 years before it reached Earth. The GW from this BNS merger that we called GW170817 passed though PC on March 15, 2016 (2016.20, the 73rd day of 2016).

Now we know that PC is a Red Dwarf (spectral class M5.5) of approximate radius 0.154 solar radius, or 107 Mm. PC does not have a radiative zone. Its CZ is in direct contact with the very hot outer core and estimated to start at r/R = 0.25, this is about 80 Mm deep. PC is ill-behaved and throws of lots of flares likely due to complex, likely chaotic stellar magnetic field and a sluggish rotation (~83 days).

Since we know (can calculate) a fairly close date of the GW170817 passing through PC (March 15, 2016), and we know it is 4.244 (+/- 0.001) ly from us (and closing), we can calculate when a hypothesized flaring observations would be predicted as a result of GW disturbance to its magnetic flux tubes in the CZ. That earliest date is June 8, 2020 (4.244 years after March 15, 2016). That would be the earliest we could anticipate seeing Superflare eruptions from PC, but given that its red dwarf CZ is only ~80 Mm, then with a 140 m/s flux rise time (similar to the Sun), then Superflaring on Proxima Centauri would be predicted by 160 hours post-GW170817v passage, or on/about 14-15 June 2020.

Southern hemisphere astronomers should start keeping on eye of Proxima Centuari in early June to mid-June for Superflaring, the likes of which could be epic. Possibly even brighter than the naked-eye superflares on PC that were observed in March 18, 2016, and reported by Howard, et al, 2018 out of UNC-Chapel Hill.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
May 4, 2020 12:44 pm

errata: ” This polarization dependent stretching and contraction of space alters the path length distance (by femto meters) thus causing the interference pattern the computers analyze in real-time to determine the GW frequency, the amount of light “strain” (displacement). ”

That should read attometers (am), not femtometers of displacement. That is an attometer is 10^-18 meters. Really really unimaginably small displacement on a 4 km light beam.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
May 4, 2020 12:48 pm

Southern hemisphere astronomers should start keeping on eye of Proxima Centuari in early June to mid-June for Superflaring, the likes of which could be epic.

As long as Eta Carinae doesn’t go supernova first.


Phil Salmon
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
May 4, 2020 3:11 pm

You forgot the part about how gravitational waves are disrupted by CO2.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Phil Salmon
May 4, 2020 5:45 pm

I do have a Gravitational Wave mechanistic connection to Atlantic Basin Hurricanes. A connection of two hypotheses: one hypothesis, astrophysics-based connecting to the other atmospheric physics-based of hurricane rapid intensification events under geomagnetic disturbance conditions (Ap spikes).

Strong GW, GW170817 (17Aug2017) –> Solar Active region with beta-gamma-delta characteristics AR 12673 and12674 (1Aug-2Sept 2017)–> X9.3flare on 6Aug2017 with CME (w/a 35 hour transit time to 1AU, very fast) –> Ap Spiked to 96 on 9 August2017, a severe geomagnetic storms (Ap was spiking that entire period from around Aug 20-end Spet 2017 from solar storms driven by solar AR flares) –> Atlantic Basin hurricane strengthening favored (mechanism unknown)–> Hurricane Irma cat 5.

James Donald Bailey
May 4, 2020 2:39 pm

quark gluon plasmas have been created and observed in collision experiments at the RHIC in Brookhaven and at the LHC in CERN.

These experiments were in part driven by the need to understand such a state of matter which must have existed shortly after the big bang. Though the accelerator created plasmas can’t be exactly the same as what is believed to exist back then.

Finding evidence of naturally occurring QGP will be a big deal, but we already have seen QGP. And since the circumstances will be different, there is a good possibility for learning new things, to help improve our understanding of the universe around us.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  James Donald Bailey
May 4, 2020 5:47 pm

Neutron spallation experiments have been done by CERN, Los Alamos and Japan’s neutron spallation source. These experiments help to understand the range of neutron energies around such neutron rich environments and how unstable isotopes are created that quickly run through a decay chain.

Ian Coleman
May 4, 2020 3:19 pm

God. God made it all. I don’t know the exact date He did it, or how He hauled the lumber, but God made it. I’m not going to tell you again.

And who made God? His parents had sex. Don’t be so stupid.

Also, as long as I’m here, can any of you smart people tell me why Captain Kirk’s middle name is Tiberius? Because I’m interested in complex problems too.

Reply to  Ian Coleman
May 4, 2020 6:21 pm

I guess Kirk’s great-great-great…grandfather was Marcus Aurelius Arnheiter, and the family was very patrician.

Ian Coleman
May 4, 2020 8:52 pm

Why thank you for that, mcswell.

I think Quark, Gluon and Plasma were characters in the original Star Trek. They were a law firm, I think.

Daryl M
May 6, 2020 6:56 pm

I’m really disappointed to see the comments in this thread. Gravitational wave astronomy is an exciting field that is resulting in confirmation of many phenomena that before could not be observed. I’m also shocked to see that people are claiming that neutron stars don’t exist or that strange matter stars cannot exist. All I can say is that people making these claims need to read more. A more appropriate question is how can neutron stars possibly not exist?

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