Scientists have announced a major breakthrough confirming one of Einstein’s theories he proposed 100 years ago. For the first time they have observed gravitational waves – which emanated from the collision of two black holes making ripples in space time thus confirming a major tenant of General Relativity. Great Scott! Since we here at Break don’t science so good I am going to let other people explain exactly what happened with these Internet reactions from more learned folk:
1. Over At Reddit, They “Explain It To Me Like I’m Five!”
User Astrokiwi says: “Two big things!Firstly, General Relativity has always predicted that gravitational waves should exist. However, they are very weak, and even the most sensitive detectors should only detect the most dramatic ones – the “chirp” of gravitational waves that comes from the merger of two neutron stars, or even better, two black holes.
Recently, the LIGO detectors have been upgraded so that they finally have the sensitivity to detect the strongest of gravitational waves. And a few months ago, both sets of detectors (one in Louisiana, one in Washington state) detected a chirp of gravitational waves, fitting exactly the pattern of frequencies you’d expect from the merger of two black holes about a billion light years away with a mass of about 30x our Sun each.
This detection is a massive confirmation of General Relativity. It would be worrying if we didn’t detect anything, but this really confirms that our understanding of gravity and the universe is correct.
Secondly, this opens up an entirely new field of observational astronomy. Astronomy works mostly through telescopes that observe different types of light waves – visible light, infrared, x-rays, radio waves, etc. But gravitational waves are an entirely different thing, and they give us a wholly new point of view on the universe, letting us see things we couldn’t see otherwise. For example, something that’s 30x the mass of our Sun is a pretty small object to see at a distance of a billion light years! Black holes are also really really small (these are like 90 km across). So we detected something less than 100 km across that was a billion light years away! And that’s something that would be pretty much impossible to do with any other current method. It really is a wholly new window into the universe.”
2. @WorldScienceFestival Breaks Down The Experiment Visually
3. Neil deGrasse Tyson Explains Gravity Waves And The Experiment That Led To Their Detection
Neil also told Popular Science that he is “delighted.”
4. The Official Einstein Twitter Account (What?) Gave Some Gravity To The Situation
5. Professor Stephen Hawking Is Super Excited
6. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Thinks This Will Lead To A #ThrowBackThursday For The Universe
7. LIGO Laboratory Executive Director David Reitze Nearly Dropped The Mic Himself During The Annoucement
8. Dr. Kaku, The Guy From Every Discovery Channel Show Explains Why This Is So Important In One Tweet
9. The Hashtag #EinsteinWasRight Began Trending On Twitter With This Inspiring Thought
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