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A simulation of a dying star shows how it could create gravitational waves

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Cocoons of debris around dying stars could shake ripples in spacetime unlike any astronomers have ever seen.

“This is a potential source of gravitational waves that has never been investigated before,” astrophysicist Ore Gottlieb of Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., said June 5 in a news conference at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Albuquerque.

The waves could potentially be picked up in the latest run of LIGO, which began on May 24.

Since LIGO’s first detection in 2015, all the gravitational waves seen thus far have been from the spiraling death dance of two compact objects — black holes, neutron stars or both (SN: 2/11/16). These events give off what are called coherent gravitational waves. “You can think of it as an orchestra playing harmonically,” Gottlieb said.

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