Detected Gravitational Waves Just Blew Apart What We Know About Space
Luis Castillo | February 14, 2016, 19:14
Gravitational waves, often said to look like ripples in a pond, are able to answer questions about creation of astronomical phenomena and disturbances, such as the merging of black holes, collision of neutron stars, supernova explosions and more. The results have told scientists how black holes combine: they orbit each other at up to 250 rotations per second before a final collision.
He also went on to give the listeners an idea of how much history, even before Einstein, went into shaping the science that led to the discovery of gravitational waves.
"Gravitational waves, sort of at a fundamental level, are very similar" to a pond, explained Reitze.
Here's a breakdown on why this is such big news for the scientific community.
The astronomers are so cautious that they routinely have other scientists deliberately inject false data to test their abilities. And how if we throw bigger rocks in, they make bigger ripples? "Until this moment we had our eyes on the sky and we couldn't hear the music, The skies will never be the same!". Which in this case scientists say confirms long-held notions about the nature of black holes, and Einstein's general theory of relativity. The waves were detected on 14th September 2015.
"All of this technology wasn't available to Einstein", Weiss said.
"As we open a new window into astronomy, we may see things we've never seen before", Reitze said.
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Albert Einstein's theory of relativity predicted it, and physicists throughout the century worked-worked hard-to identify it. But it wasn't until after the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) in Livingston, Louisiana, was put to work did we find evidence of its existence.
The twin LIGO instruments in the states of Washington and Louisiana use a split laser beam to detect infinitesimal changes in length between L-shaped arms as gravitational waves pass through.
Based on the observed signals, LIGO scientists estimate that the black holes for this event were about 29 and 36 times the mass of the sun, and the event took place 1.3 billion years ago.
The new discovery has encouraged further studies into gravitational waves around the world, with China accelerating its domestic research, said Li Miao, dean of the Institute of Astronomy and Space Science of the university in south China's Guangdong Province.
"The colliding black holes that produced these gravitational waves created a violent storm in the fabric of space and time, a storm in which time speeded up, and slowed down, and speeded up again, a storm in which the shape of space was bent in this way and that way", Caltech physicist Kip Thorne said.