Revolutionary discovery: Scientists find gravitational waves Einstein predicted
Einstein has been proven right – again.
For the first time, scientists have observed ripples in the fabric of spacetime called gravitational waves, arriving at Earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe. This confirms a major prediction of Albert Einstein's 1915 general theory of relativity and opens an unprecedented new window to the cosmos.
Gravitational waves carry information about their dramatic origins and about the nature of gravity that cannot be obtained from elsewhere. Physicists have concluded that 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. This collision of two black holes had been predicted but never observed.
The discovery was made possible by the enhanced capabilities of Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors, a major upgrade that increases the sensitivity of the instruments compared to the first generation LIGO detectors, enabling a large increase in the volume of the universe probed -- and the discovery of gravitational waves during its first observation run.
NSF is the lead financial supporter of Advanced LIGO.
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