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Revolutionary discovery: Scientists find gravitational waves Einstein predicted, may be a bit premature

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THEME:   WORLD

By Serge K | February 11, 2016 6:28 pm

Words have been circulating since November that ‘something’ was detected in September 2015. Analysis is currently ongoing and if everything checks out an announcement is expected in February.

About 1.3 billion years ago two black holes spun closer and closer together until they collided in a famous furious bang. Each black hole packed roughly 30 times the mass of our sun into a minute volume, and their head-on impact came as the two were approaching the speed of light.

LIGO has found gravitational waves

LIGO has found gravitational waves

From just that one signal alone, physicists could infer the masses of both black holes by studying the frequency (one was 29 solar masses, the other 36 solar masses). After the merger, the newly formed black hole was missing roughly 3 solar masses—emitted in a powerful burst of gravitational waves. Imagine three of our Suns suddenly annihilating and you’ll get an idea of just how much energy we’re talking about here.

The staggering strength of the merger gave rise to a new black hole and created a gravitational field so strong that it distorted spacetime in waves that spread throughout space with a power about 50 times stronger than that of all the shining stars and galaxies in the observable universe. Such events are, incredibly, thought to be common in space, but this collision was the first of its kind ever detected and its waves the first ever seen. Scientists with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) announced on Thursday at a much-anticipated press conference in Washington, D.C. (one of at least five simultaneous events held in the U.S. and Europe) that the more than half-century search for gravitational waves has finally succeeded.

Study of the universe via gravitational waves “will be the astronomy of the 21st century,” predicts Arizona State University’s Lawrence Krauss, who is not part of the discovery team.  “This is a whole new window on the universe.”

Caution is necessary over claims that gravitational waves have been found. It could be a false to test the detectors and scientists involved – it has been in past.

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