Gravitational waves have detected for First Time
A revolutionary new era in science has just begun with a violent event deep in space.Researchers declared that they have discovered waves in fabric of space called gravitational waves. It is an innovative discovery that has avoided Earth’s brightest minds and most sensitive machines for decades.
Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves 100 years ago, but he thought them far too thin to detect as they wave across the earth.
Einstein was wrong. The news was announced on 11tn February by the members of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO), a 15-nation, 900 scientists, $1 billion experiment that has searched for signs of the phenomenon since 2002.
“Finally these waves have been detected on Earth with an unbelievably sensitive experiment. And surprisingly the source of the waves is a system of two black in orbit around each other, that spiral inward and smash together, ” Cornell physics and astrophysics professor Saul Teukolsky confirmed in a statement.
The waves the researchers detected were created by two holes running over and merging to form a single black hole 1.3 million years ago. When the two black holes merged they released the energy of three suns.
Physicist Szabi Marka, a LIGO co-worker based at Columbia University, announced that detecting the waves “would revolutionize physics” and chart out “the last undiscovered territory of Einstein.”And a collision of two black holes is a cataclysmic event we could only dream of observing until now.
“Have gravitational waves as a tool will enable us to study black holes, and black holes hold the key to so many future problems in science,” Marka said.”We don’t actually know what happens around a black hole. We don’t know what happens when a black hole assembles another black hole. We don’t know what happens when a black hole eats something.”
There are many other uses of gravitational waves, now all directly within the area of possibility, and Marka says the coming era of research that’s barrelling toward us is going to be “spectacular”. We will open new doors which can never be closed be closed again.
The innovation not only support Einstein’s wildest predication and gives astronomers a powerful new tool to search the cosmos-from deep inside explosion stars to the surfaces of black holes bat also backs up a $1 billion idea and tell us we are on the right track to understanding how the universe works.
How we first learned gravitational waves exist:
Space is passing through by well space. It is a hidden fabric that can stretch and shrink and wrap and curve in multiple dimensions even time-hence the official name space-time. Anything with mass warps the fabric including you. Yet the denser and more massive an object the grater the twist.
Dense objects that move really, really fast can very distort space-time, some with enough energy to produce wave like a speedboat speed up across an easy-going lake. This description of gravitational waves pure imagine though until 1974.That is when astronomers Russell Hulse and Joseph Taylor stumbled upon the deep space equivalent of two speedboats spiralling into each other.
Both objects were neutron stars ultra dark dead stars that formed during a supernova. One of the neutron stars was rotating fast enough to emit radio pulses as a pulsar, which is how they found the star system to begin with.
Surprisingly over years they noticed the pulsar’s orbit was speeding up bit by bit and removed the stars would spiral into each other and smash together in about 300 million years.
Hulse and Taylor proved this by showing the energy loss matched up perfectly with Einstein’s predication. The astronomers won a 1993 Noble prize for their discovering of the bizarre objects, now called the Hulse- Taylor and its role in indirectly showing gravitational waves exits.
How we detected gravitational waves and why it took so long:
LIGO is an experiment that uses two L-shaped gravitational waves detectors: One is in Louisiana and another is located thousands of miles away in Washington State. These massive detectors use a clever trick to pick up on these waves that would be otherwise impossible to notice.
Each arm of the L extends for 2.5 miles. A laser beam is dividing at the bend in the L and travels down each arm to bounce off several mirriors.The mirrors lengthen and then recombined the laser at a detectors. Without a gravitational wave, the laser beams cancel each other out perfectly, so no light is picked up by the detector.
But when a gravitational wave hits the detector, sort of like a pool of oil on the surface of a rippling lake, one arm will shrink and other will stretch. Then as the wave finishes passing by, the arms will bounce back to normal. This shape shifting is absolutely imperceptible to the human eye, but it means the laser beams will no longer line up perfectly, and the detector will pick up a flash of light: the long sought sign of gravitational wave. And if the very same disturbance is recorded at both detectors, thousands of miles away, researchers can deduce that it came from space.
Marka compared the detectors to a pair of giant ears that can ‘hear’ the space-time waves that result from neutron star collision, black hole mergers, or other catastrophic events in space like a giant exploding star. The closer a collision is to earth, the louder the signal should be.
LIGO’s hearing when the laser beam is disturbed is sensitive enough to detect mind blowing small disturbances of space, much smaller than size of the atoms the detector is built of.
Put another way, detecting a gravitational wave is like noticing the Milky Way which is about 100,000 light years wide has stretched or shrunk by the width of a pencil eraser.
“Gravity is a horribly weak force, which makes our lives much harder,” Bartos said. But one thing that works to our advantages is that the signal decays much than light. Gravitational waves fade as you go farther but not as quickly.”So it is no wonder why it has taken researchers so long to find gravitational waves: it’s terribly tricky work. Even car traffic on road miles away can disturb LIGO despite the instruments sate of the art vibration dampening equipment.
Why the future of astronomy looks amazing:
Gravitational waves give a powerful new tool to study the universe said by Bartos and Marka.
One killer application of gravitational waves is to reveal supernovas-huge exploding stars that seed the universe with elements like, carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen as well as platinum and gold hour before they are visible to any telescope.
Gravitational waves arrive at earth long before any light. When a massive star’s core collapses, starting the supernova to form a black hole, the surface doesn’t know the core has collapsed for a while.
Bartos says that gravitational waves can reveal what’s going on inside a dying star.
It is not just about catching a supernova. You can only scratch the surface of them with telescopes.
Another advantage of gravitational waves can help astronomers understand the universe is in measuring the frequency of major comic phenomena.
Supernovas in the Milky Way which LIGO might detect are thought to occur two or three times every 100 years. And until now we had no idea how frequently events like black hole or neutron star mergers might occur and trigger detectable events. It seems they are rare but not rare for us to detect.
What’s in store for gravitational wave research?
“LIGO will be three times more sensitive in three years and we roughly expected to see 10s of events per year” Bartos said.
That sensitive could get even higher soon.LIGO wants to build a 3rd instrument, but in the meantime it will get help from Europe’s new VIRGO detector and Japan’s KAGRA facility.
The more detectors you have the better your sensitivity and the more objects you will see. It becomes easier to prepare out the things that happen here on the earth like traffic and earthquakes.
The future of gravitational wave astronomy is looking very bright and the top researchers behind LIGO possibly Kip Thorne and Ronald Drever of Caltech and Rainer Weiss of MIT are almost certainly going to get call from Stockholm sometimes soon.
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