100 years later, Einstein is still making headlines

Posted on February 12th, 2016 by Cici

Not just smoke and mirrors: Scientists at LIGO use lasers, mirrors and a 4 km evacuated tube to locate gravitational waves. The observatory cost a total of $620 million to build. Image from bbc.com.

A hundred years after Einstein predicted it, a team of physicists has proven that gravitational waves exist.

LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) scientists got the first readings of what they suspected was a gravitational wave on Sept 14, 2015, and have spent the last five months confirming their data. According to their findings, there is a 1 in 6 million chance that they are NOT correct, so you might as well believe them. Ready for more big numbers? The gravitational wave that they detected was created 1.3 billion light years away (gravity apparently moves as quickly as light) when two black holes merged together.

LIGO started operations in 2002 and was shut down in 2010 for several years while upgrades were made. In 2015, shortly before the discovery, LIGO was equipped with advanced detectors. Apparently, they work.

But what does the discovery mean? It is a whole new way to look at and explore the universe. In the past, life-changing breakthroughs were created following the discovery of x-rays and radio waves. Scientists are giddy about what gravitational waves may mean for mankind.

But to make things easier to understand, Brian Greene and the World Science Festival made this video:

A great explanation of yesterday’s discovery, by Brian Greene and the World Science Festival.

Posted by I fucking love science on Friday, February 12, 2016

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