Two billion years ago, two massive black holes collided. This past August, thanks to an international detection network, scientists were able to observe the gravitational waves also known as the “ripples in space and time” produced by this stellar crash. Data collected will further help astrophysicists test the theoretical durability of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. It might also contribute to new information about advanced cosmic insights.
Gravitational Wave Detector Aids Important Discovery
On August 14, equipment at the Louisiana and Washington State outposts of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory or LIGO and the Virgo Gravitational Wave Detector in Italy spotted the gravitational waves created by the billion years old collision.
Over 1.8 billion light years old, the event occurred thousands of millennia ago and is now just reaching our observable frontier. According to the data collected, the merged black holes were over 25 times the size of the Sun.
The scientific community is enthusiastic about these observations. These represent the first time that three wave detectors picked up data, thus allowing astronomers to better pinpoint the “source location,”. This helps with telescope positioning.
Why is telescope positioning important? Orbiting objects and cosmic debris offer information and aid the scientific theory. As such, if researchers can arrange telescopic lenses in ideal positions, they can gather otherwise unprocurable insights into the nature of gravity, black hole formation, and wave polarization properties.
Ongoing Research Will Only Lead To More Important Discoveries
Scientists first observed gravitational waves back in 2015, but Einstein first theorized and hinted at their existence some 102 years ago. In the 1970s and 1980s, Joseph Taylor Jr. made significant headway in the field. This latest important discovery is sure to be one of many future events that will help us better understand the universe.
Perhaps even more astonishingly, Penn State’s B.S. Sathyaprakash recently opined, “As far as we can tell, Einstein is still right.”