Thursday, February 11, 2016

Gravitational Waves!

The astronomical world was rocked today (well, news of the announcement leaked out a few weeks ago) by the announcement of the first confirmed detection of gravitational waves --literally ripples in the space-time continuum-- caused by the collision and merger of two black holes located an estimated 1.3 billion light years away. Not only was this the first event detected by gravitational waves, it was the first direction detection of black holes and binary black holes.

This ushers in a new era in astronomy allowing us to probe the universe in a way that's never been done before. If the history of science is any guide, it is certain that there will be unanticipated discoveries that will be made.

There's an amazing amount of info on the 'net about this discovery, so here I've just added this video about it and will a couple of links as well.

The New Yorker has a compelling article on how the gravitational waves were detected. For the more technically inclined be sure to look at this article from the American Astronomical Society and this one from Sky & Telescope magazine.

We live in amazing times. 

1 comment:

  1. This is so exciting!

    This may sound dumb/obvious, but I realized when this was revealed that... there's no such thing as a straight line. That is, light can never travel in a truly straight line since its path will always be distorted at least infinitesimally by matter in the universe. Fascinating!