Date sent: 4 September 2017, 09:30

From: Anna Watts (

Subject: IAU Div D (High Energy Phenomena and Fundamental Physics) Bulletin No. 16 - September 1 2017

*** IAU Division D Bulletin N. 16: September 1, 2017 ***



* Virgo joins LIGO for Observing Run O2

* Swift Guest Investigator Cycle 14

* IAU Symposium 338, Gravitational Wave Astrophysics

* Upcoming meetings



* Virgo joins LIGO for Observing Run O2

On August 1, 2017, the VIRGO gravitational wave detector based in Europe joined “Observation Run 2” (O2) to take data alongside the American-based twin LIGO detectors. This major step forward for the VIRGO Collaboration is the outcome of a multi-year upgrade program, whose primary goal was to significantly improve the detector performance in terms of sensitivity.

Although the VIRGO sensitivity is, for the time being, at a lower level of those of the LIGO interferometers, it is adequate for confirming a potential detection with LIGO and would allow the location of sources of gravitational waves in the sky with greater accuracy. The current VIRGO sensitivity significantly exceeds the previous VIRGO record sensitivity, achieved in 2011 before dismantling the detector to start its upgrade. VIRGO is now a brand new instrument comprising several new components, which have been made work together in less than one year, during the so-called commissioning phase.

The O2 data-taking phase started on November 30, 2016 and ended on August 25, 2017. It has already led to the discovery of a third stellar-mass black hole binary coalescence, GW170104, recorded on January 4, 2017 and announced by LIGO and VIRGO last June 1st 2017. The joint data analyses are still ongoing while more data are being recorded, for the first time with three advanced instruments.

After the completion of O2, the VIRGO operation will proceed to further improve the sensitivity of the detector and to gain more knowledge about the main sources of noise that are currently limiting it. Then, a new upgrade phase will start, where several key improvements will be made, among which the installation of monolithic suspensions. The mirrors will be indeed suspended by thin and strong fused-silica fibers, which will replace the current metal wires. Later, in Spring 2018, a new commissioning phase will start, with the goal of having a more sensitive detector by the time the LIGO-VIRGO “Observation Run 3” (O3) starts in Fall 2018


* Swift Guest Investigator Cycle 14

The Swift Guest Investigator (GI) Program solicits proposals for basic research relevant to the Swift mission. Cycle 14 retain all the elements of past cycles, including the successful "Key Project" category, and introduces a new joint program with the NuSTAR mission. See the Swift web pages ( for further details on the Cycle 14 program.

Important Dates for Cycle 14 are:
Phase 1 proposal due: September 21, 2017, 4:30PM EDT
Phase 1 proposal review: early December 2017
Cycle 14 observations begin: April 1, 2018



* IAU Symposium 338, Gravitational Wave Astrophysics

This is a reminder about deadlines for the International Astronomical Union meeting 338 on Gravitational Wave Astrophysics, to be held in Baton Rouge, LA, USA, on Oct 16-19 2017:

Abstract submission deadline: September 5, 2017

Hotel reservation deadline (for special rate): September 15, 2017

The meeting has exciting speakers on topics in gravitational wave astrophysics, multi-messenger astronomy and high energy astrophysics, with friendly sessions for contributed talks, poster sessions with poster prizes, and a lunch discussion on the status of women and underrepresented minorities in astrophysics. Included in the registration there will be a tour of the LIGO Livingston Observatory hosting one of the interferometers involved in the first detection of gravitational waves (and the ones that followed!), as well as a Science Education Center with hands-on educational exhibits.


For registration, abstract submission and details, please visit
For any questions, please email Gabriela Gonzalez,


IAU Division D is the Coordinating Division for this Symposium.



* Upcoming Conferences, Meetings, Workshops and Schools


High Energy Astrophysics in Southern Africa (HEASA 2017)
Johannesburg, South Africa
October 4-6, 2017


New perspectives on Neutron Star Interiors
Trento, Italy
9-13 October 2017


7th Fermi Symposium
Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
October 15-20, 2017


Magnetic Fields in the Universe VI: from Laboratory and Stars to the Primordial Structures
Natal, Brazil
October 16-20, 2017




If you wish to share with IAU Div D any information about matters that may be relevant to the activities of Div D Members, please send an e-mail to . This will appear in the next Bulletin, which will be sent out on October 1, 2017.  Thank you in advance for your inputs, and best regards.



Dr Anna Watts Secretary of IAU Div D Steering Committee

Associate Professor, University of Amsterdam


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