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Scientists discover Gravitational waves 100 years after Einstein predicted it

Photo: BBC

Washington: Scientists said on Thursday they have detected the existence of gravitational waves, which were predicted by Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity 100 years ago.

The detected gravitational waves were produced during the final fraction of a second of the merger of two black holes to produce a single, more massive spinning black hole, they said at a news conference in Washington, Xinhua reported.

The gravitational waves were detected on September 14, 2015, at 5.51 a.m. by both of the twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors, located in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington.

Based on the observed signals, LIGO scientists estimated that the black holes for this event were about 29 and 36 times the mass of the sun, and the event took place 1.3 billion years ago.

About three times the mass of the Sun was converted into gravitational waves in a fraction of a second — with a peak power output about 50 times that of the whole visible universe.

“Our observation of gravitational waves accomplishes an ambitious goal set out over five decades ago to directly detect this elusive phenomenon and better understand the universe, and, fittingly, fulfils Einstein’s legacy on the 100th anniversary of his general theory of relativity,” said David Reitze, executive director of the LIGO Laboratory.

Rainer Weiss, professor of physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is one of the scientists who originally proposed LIGO as a means of detecting gravitational waves in the 1980s.

“It would have been wonderful to watch Einstein’s face had we been able to tell him,” he added.

The existence of gravitational waves was first demonstrated indirectly in the 1970s and 1980s by American scientists who found a binary pulsar whose orbit was slowly shrinking over time because of the release of energy in a way Einstein’s theory predicted.

Two of the scientists were awarded the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physics.

The new discovery, accepted for publication in the journal Physical Review Letters, was made by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC), a group of more than 1,000 scientists from universities around the US as well as in 14 other countries.

“This detection is the beginning of a new era: The field of gravitational wave astronomy is now a reality,” said Gabriela Gonzalez, LSC spokesperson and professor of physics and astronomy at the Louisiana State University. (IANS)

Here is a video from BBC that explains about gravitational waves:

Next Story

Albert Einstein’s Century-old Prediction comes True: Third Gravitational Waves detected by Scientists

New detection of the gravitational waves is the third time that Einstein's theory is validated

Black hole. Wikimedia
  • For the third time, scientists have detected the gravitational waves validating Albert Einstein’s predictions
  • The prediction was made a century ago
  • The latest detection has strong implications on the nature of black holes and dark matter

June 04, 2017: The third set of gravitational waves has recently been detected by LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory), a complex yet effective experiment to detect gravitational waves. The detection validates Albert Einstein’s theory that space compresses and stretches itself.

The prediction was made a century ago. The successful detection also holds significance for the true nature of black holes and dark matter. It puts the predicted theory to test!

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The historic moment was witnessed by the international research team, including scientists from India. The faint hum of the waves can only be heard by the cutting edge science and sensitive detection of LIGO. The wave is produced when two black holes merge together.

The latest detection is called GW170104 for which the observations began last year. Gravitational waves were first observed in September 2015 and then in December of the same year.

Black Holes merging. Wikimedia

The third waves have been detected twice as far from the Earth as the earlier two detections. The combined black hole has a mass about 49 times more than that of the sun. The merger of the two black holes can be traced back 3 billion years ago.

The waves are studied in a research paper that has received acceptance for publication by journal ‘Physical Review Letters’. IIT Madras has contributed significantly to the study. It models the gravitational waves sources and tests the consistency of signals.

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Scientists say that the new detection advances their goal of observing ancient events through waves, otherwise invisible through other means.

LIGO is based in the US. But India is working to set up its own observatory as well. India hopes to set it up by 2024. India looks to contribute to the global scientific knowledge.

– by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2393

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