Einstein published his theory of relativity proposing the existence of gravitational waves more than 100 years ago, and now he’s finally been proven right.
A team of physicists say they have recorded the sound of two black holes colliding a full billion light-years away from the Earth, which represents the first direct evidence that gravitational waves exist. Put simply, gravitational waves are the “ripples in the fabric of space-time,” meaning modern science has “tapped into the deepest register of physical reality,” as The New York Times so eloquently notes.
The smoking gun for gravity waves takes the form of a short, C-note chirp that was recorded by antennas in Washington State and Louisiana. If you need an example of the sheer force of two black holes colliding, it adds up to the approximate energy 50 times greater than all of the stars in the universe put together. That's one heck of a chirp. Experts say it represents one of the most significant recordings in human history.
“Until now, we scientists have only seen warped space-time when it’s calm,” Kip Thorne of the California Institute of Technology told The Times. “It’s as though we had only seen the ocean’s surface on a calm day but had never seen it roiled in a storm, with crashing waves.”
The report was published Thursday in Physical Review Letters, in a study with more than 1,000 authors, ranging from the LIGO group to the European Virgo Collaboration.
(Via The New York Times)