LIGO Document G0900605-v3

Gravitational-Wave Astronomy: Observational Results and Their Impact

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Direct detection of gravitational waves has been eagerly anticipated for decades. The successful construction and operation of highly sensitive detectors is an achievement to be proud of, but actual signals are still around the corner. Even so, null results from recent searches have told us some interesting things about the objects that live in our universe, so it can be argued that the era of gravitational-wave astronomy has already begun. After reviewing what we have learned so far, I will look into the not-so-distant future and predict some ways in which the detection of GW signals will shape our knowledge of astrophysics and transform our field.
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