For the second year in a row, the journal Science is hailing a discovery sparked by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory as the Breakthrough of the Year.
Last year, the breakthrough was LIGO’s first-ever detection of a gravitational-wave burst thrown off by the merger of two black holes. This time, the prize goes to the studies spawned by the first observed collision of two neutron stars.
More than 70 observatories analyzed the data from the Aug. 17 event, which came in the form of gravitational waves as well as electromagnetic emissions going all the way from radio waves to gamma rays.
“The amount of information we have been able to extract with one event blows my mind,” Georgia Tech physicist Laura Cadonati, deputy spokesperson for the LIGO team, told Science.