Swope Science


Science and discoveries

Artist’s concept of the explosive collision of two neutron stars. Illustration by Robin Dienel courtesy of the Carnegie Institution for Science.

The Swope telescope became famous when, on August 17, 2017, a team of four Carnegie astronomers provided the first-ever glimpse of two neutron stars colliding, opening the door to a new era of astronomy. Carnegie’s scientists were alerted to the event by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), which detects gravitational waves, ripples in space-time, caused by distant cosmic events. Thanks to a rapid response, the Swope observer, Natalie Ulloa from Universidad de La Serena, became the first human to set eyes on a neutron star merger, and making Swope the first telescope to observe the optical counterpart of a gravitational wave source. More.