The news was announced today, February 11, 2016. The actual detection happened about 5 months ago. It took this long to verify what happened.
Just over a billion years ago, a pair of black holes collided. They had been circling each other for aeons, gathering speed with each orbit. By the time they were a few hundred miles apart, they were whipping around at nearly the speed of light. Space and time became distorted. In the fraction of a second that it took for the black holes to finally merge, they radiated a hundred times more energy than all the stars in the universe combined. They formed a new black hole, sixty-two times as heavy as our sun and almost as wide across as the state of Maine. Then space and time became silent again.
The waves rippled outward in every direction, weakening as they went. On Earth, dinosaurs arose, evolved, and went extinct. The waves kept going. About fifty thousand years ago, they entered our own Milky Way galaxy, just as Homo sapiens were beginning to replace our Neanderthal cousins as the planet’s dominant species of ape. A hundred years ago, Albert Einstein, one of the more advanced members of the species, predicted the waves’ existence, inspiring decades of speculation and fruitless searching. Twenty-two years ago, construction began on an enormous detector, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). Then, on September 14, 2015, at just before eleven in the morning, Central European Time, the waves reached Earth. This morning, in a press conference in Washington, D.C., the LIGO team announced that the signal constitutes the first direct observation
of gravitational waves.
Above text quoted from The New Yorker Magazine. CLICK HERE to read the complete story.
You can see that super simulation of the block hole collision in the following Youtube video. Or CLICK HERE if you are viewing this in the email announcement produced by WordPress.
If you want to read more about this amazing discovery, CLICK HERE and you will be taken to an excellent web site called SXS which stands for Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes.
I posted this here tonight because if this is true, this is one of the biggest “discoveries” of the last few years! It needs to be remembered that some people really did notice.
My wife asked why it is important. Well hey, if gravity really is made of waves, then maybe those people who saw flying saucers weren’t crazy after all. Because of course they would travel by skimming on the edges of the waves, just like surfers at the beach. It would be much more efficient, and would not create as much pollution as rocket ships! All we have to do now is figure how how to build gravity wave skimmers.
We should also be able to build “telescopes” that see gravity waves instead of light waves and then maybe we can see where all the dark matter is at in the universe. We might even be able to “see” black holes! Perhaps the edge of the universe would show up too.
The only creepy part about this is that those two black holes crashed into each other so long ago. Like, what are they doing now? The only disappointing thing is that the gravitational waves only travel at the speed of light. This discovery won’t let us travel to Mars any faster. No short cuts here….