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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

The Sound of Gravity

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Thursday, February 11, 2016/Categories: natural history, space science, adventure

Like a voice echoing off a distant alpine peak, astronomers at CalTech and elsewhere have heard the sound of gravity for the first time. Using powerful detectors from a research installation known as the Laser Interferometer Gavitional-Wave Obervatory (LIGO), the prediction that distant objects could bend time and space by their interactions has finally been proven. This is the last piece of Albert Einstein's 1906 Theory of Relativity, to be found correct.


       Albert Einstein ca 1921 (credit: Wikicommons)                      Space-Time Curvature (credit: Wikicommons)

The stunning scientific achievement, 100 years in the making, required precise calculations based on the Theory's predictions as well as a very powerful detector technology to prove Einstein's theory was correct all along. The famous mathematician first calculated that black holes, by their gigantic gravitational pull, would exert other influences on objects in their vacinity. The CalTech researchers used the LIGO detectors to listen for ripples in a specific predicted measurement to occur when two black holes merged into one. This was proven just as predicted by the sound of a "blip". The renowned contemporary physicist and black hole cosmologist, Stephen Hawkin, offered this congratulation:

You can listen to the sound of the gravitational wave signal, view an animation of the black holes merging, and learn more about the fundamental discovery in this video:



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