Gravitational Waves Detected by LIGO

The discovery will open infinite opportunities for discovering the mysteries of Space and time.

Gravitational Waves Detected by LIGO

There are two black holes that are 100 kilometers across. One of them has 36 times more mass than the sun while the other has 29 times. They are dancing around each other in an orbit, gaining acceleration that is reaching the speed of light.

The event horizons of both of them are almost touching. Then, suddenly there is a jerk for an instant as the mass starts distributing each other. Then, all is calm as within a second, a black hole is born.

The most amazing thing about this black hole is that it is less than the sum of its parts. Mass equal to about three suns has turned into energy taking on the form of gravitational waves.

What are Gravitational Waves?

In simple words, a gravitational wave is a ripple that stretches and compresses space and everything in its path. When the merger was taking place, during its final seconds, the holes created exponential amounts of energy into space. This energy was 50 times more than the rest of the universe emitted through light, x-rays, radio waves and gamma rays combined. All this happened more than a billion years ago.

In September last year, at facilities known as the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO), scientists were able to catch a very minute slice of those waves.

The slice of wave is called GW150914 by LIGO scientists. On February 11th 2016 a scientific announcement revealed the detection of the first gravitational wave by humans. This is a victory that took centuries in coming. It has opened an opportunity to look into happenings that were until now, inaccessible. In fact, the mystery of the Big Bang can also be finally unveiled.

The idea of the gravitational waves first came to fore with the general theory of relativity which is regarded as Einstein’s fundamental explanation of gravity. The theory was unveiled around 100 years ago.

Einstein discovered that mass deforms the time and space around itself. Gravity is the effect of this deformation or in simple words; it is the behavior of things that are moving in space-time.

As the name suggests, LIGO is an in interferometer which works by splitting a laser beam into two. If the half beam’s paths are not disturbed, the waves will come to the detector; however, a passing gravitational wave will stretch and compress the half-beam paths.

The shape of the resulting pattern will contain all in the information regarding the source of the wave. Einstein was never certain about the existence of the gravitational waves. Their discovery has offered irrefutable evidence of black holes.


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Dan Nicholson

Senior editor at The World beast. Follow Tweets by @DanNicholson001