A New Era of Science Has Begun: Einstein's Gravitational Waves Theory Confirmed - TechTheLead
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A New Era of Science Has Begun: Einstein’s Gravitational Waves Theory Confirmed

There’s nothing more fulfilling than seeing your most strong belief become a fact-proved truth. It could have happened to Albert Einstein, if he’d lived longer (much, much longer). Finally, his theory of gravitational waves’ existence was confirmed by researchers on the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory project. In other words, yesterday, the world of science was shaken, when for the first time in human history, the possibility of having a grand unified theory of the Universe, to actually understanding its birth, became real. 

On September 14, 2015, researchers at LIGO detected gravitational waves, dynamical disturbances in the fabric of spacetime, created 1.3 billion years ago by two black holes colliding. So, the geniuses at LIGO made not one, but two breakthroughs, succeeding in observing two binary black holes.

“We can’t ‘see’ black holes with telescopes. This is the first time black holes have been directly detected by measuring them, through their gravity, as opposed to measuring the effect they have on other matter in the universe”

Listen to the sound of two black holes colliding, here!

Einstein’s original theory predicted that when mass changes position, it makes a ripple in the Universe’s gravitational field, a wave that travels at light speed from the source. Imagine a gravitational wave as a ripple on a pond, if you’d like. What causes them? Besides black holes, star systems and spinning planets with odd shapes can act as triggers too, causing space to stretch horizontally and compress vertically.

How did they detect them? The idea behind the LIGO came to Rainer Weiss of MIT in 1968, with construction of the facility beginning in late 1994. The device uses two 4-kilometer (2.5-mile) arms in an L shape as trackers. Each of them has an interferometer, a mix of lassers and mirrors that detect the micro movements – smaller than one-ten-thousandth the diameter of a proton (10-19 meter)!

With LIGO, they can approximate the source of movements, but a third facility will help them to triangulate the waves and pinpoint the exact location. We could finally understand the Universe, see the beginning of time.

As astronomer Bryan Gaensler, director of Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Toronto , puts it, “things we should never be entitled to see — colliding black holes, merging neutron stars, gargantuan collisions of galaxies — can now be routinely revealed to us. We are poised to discover whole new types of phenomena, and we will now receive entirely new insights on familiar objects”.

 

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