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17 October 2017 Statement

CSIRO has today welcomed the latest astrophysical discovery involving gravitational waves. Announced this morning, the violent death spiral of two dense neutron stars has been detected via gravitational waves for the first time.

CSIRO, alongside hundreds of international researchers, played its part in the follow-up discovery working closely with colleagues at the University of Sydney and the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics. CSIRO’s Australia Telescope Compact Array was used to monitor the gravitational wave event for more than 40 hours over several weeks. CSIRO was also responsible for coating many of the optics used in the LIGO instrumentation including ultra-high performance optical mirrors.

On 14 September 2015, the universe's gravitational waves were observed for the very first time. In October this year the discovery was recognised by a Nobel Prize in Physics.

Larry Marshall Chief Executive CSIRO:

"This landmark discovery is an excellent example of the breakthroughs that can be achieved when great minds and organisations unite. As Australia’s national science agency we are proud to have delivered the unique optics that helped enable the original discovery, and are excited to continue supporting the global community through the delivery of excellent science and world class facilities like the Compact Array whose applications are as unlimited as space itself."

Douglas Bock Director of CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science:

"This extraordinary detection by an Australian team, using Australian facilities, made a significant contribution to the global discovery. Running a national facility involves providing researchers with access – fast – so they can monitor unexpected astronomical events of extraordinary scientific interest."

Dr Cathy Foley, Deputy Director CSIRO Manufacturing:

"The coatings, which were developed and applied at CSIRO, are among the most uniform and precise ever made. This precision ensures that LIGO's laser remains clean and stable as it travels through the detectors. This is a testament to the excellence of the CSIRO team formed to undertake this work. We are thrilled to play a part in this discovery."

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