Sunday, 27 March 2016

Hearing the Universe for the First Time

 Scientists have announced a revolution in astronomy: LIGO – the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory – has recorded signals of the gravitational waves resulting from two black holes colliding. Gravitational waves are tiny ripples in space time, which Albert Einstein predicted in his general theory of relativity over 100 years ago.
Large bodies like black holes warp space-time around themselves, and when they collide, the distortions of the collision ripple outward at the speed of light. LIGO consists of two giant detectors, each eight kilometres in length, one in Louisiana and one in Washington State.
The detectors are like microphones listening to the Universe, sensitive to waves coming in from all directions. Professor Sheila Rowan explains why this discovery is equivalent to developing an entirely new sense, allowing astrophysicists to “hear” the universe for the first time.




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