Pretty big deal. Typically gravity waves only last fractions of seconds. This event gave astronomers a chance to confirm Einsteins theory of gravity distorting both time and space.
http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/astronomers-catch-gravitational-waves-from-colliding-neutron-stars/So the rumors were right after all. On August 17th, the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) registered tiny ripples in spacetime, produced by a pair of frantically orbiting neutron stars right before they collided. What’s more: telescopes on the ground and in space detected the fading glow of the radioactive fireball that resulted from the cosmic smash-up, all across the electromagnetic spectrum.
This artist's conception portrays two neutron stars at the moment of collision. New observations confirm that colliding neutron stars probably produce short gamma-ray bursts.
Dana Berry / SkyWorks Digital, Inc.
"The detection of gravitational waves from a binary neutron star merger is something that we have spent decades preparing for," notes astrophysicist Alan Weinstein (Caltech). "All of our dreams came true." According to his colleague Barry Barish (also Caltech), one of LIGO’s founding fathers and co-recipient of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics, the new discovery "establishes gravitational-wave science as a new emerging field." Vicky Kalogera (Northwestern University) adds, "I couldn’t believe my eyes. It’s a lot more exciting than the first gravitational-wave detection" of colliding black holes, in September 2015.
The excitement is fully justified. Observing both gravitational waves and electromagnetic radiation from the catastrophic coalescence of two hyper-dense neutron stars provides astronomers with a wealth of new, detailed information. The new buzzword is multi-messenger astronomy, the study of the universe using fundamentally different types of emission.