Gravity waves are something that scientists have not been able to prove since Einstein’s theory of general relativity came to be. There hadn’t been a way to prove they existed, and moreover, we never really understood how to observe them.
Gravity waves occur when a massive collision happens in space between two large celestial objects, such as two black holes or two stars colliding with one another. The collision sends ripples through space time, and they look much like ripples in water when something disturbs the surface tension.
A leaked rumor made headlines in January suggesting that scientists at the Laster Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, also known as LIGO, had successfully discovered gravity waves, but the information was never shared until the scientists were absolutely sure of what they were looking at because they wanted to protect their credibility until what they had observed could actually be analyzed much further and proven.
On Thursday, the official announcement has gone out, and scientists at LIGO have indeed discovered what they believe to be gravity waves in deep outer space. The waves were spotted in September of 2015 and are the result of a massive collision between two black holes that are anywhere between 20 and 30 times the mass of our own Sun.
“We have detected gravitational waves. We did it,” said David Reitze, executive director of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (Ligo), at a press conference in Washington.
LIGO has been observing the specified area for more than a decade, keeping any eye on deep space and looking for any strange activity that could prove the existence of gravity waves. The official discovery of such a physics quandary is a huge step forward in not only space and astronomy, but also in our understanding of physics.
Armed with the knowledge that such a force exists in our universe, we can now study the phenomena and attempt to discover other forces like it.
Source: The Guardian