Einstein’s Theory Confirmed as First Gravitational Waves Detected



/ 2 years ago

 

Two white dwarf stars orbiting each other every 5 minutes.

100 years after their existence was predicted by eminent physicist Albert Einstein, a team of scientists have detected the existence of gravitational waves. On 14th September, 2015, the two Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatories (LIGO), one in Linvingston, Louisiana, and the other in Hanford, Washington – both in the US – observed signals emitted during the merging of two black holes. Those signals have now been confirmed to be gravitational waves, the team from LIGO reports.

“Our observation of gravitational waves accomplishes an ambitious goal set out over 5 decades ago to directly detect this elusive phenomenon and better understand the universe, and, fittingly, fulfills Einstein’s legacy on the 100th anniversary of his general theory of relativity,” David H. Reitze, Executive Director of the LIGO Laboratory and Caltech resident, said.

The discovery was made following a major upgrade of the Advanced LIGO detectors which increased it sensitivity, allowing the equipment to detect the gravitational waves on its first attempt.

“In 1992, when LIGO’s initial funding was approved, it represented the biggest investment the NSF had ever made,” France Córdova, Director of the National Science Foundation, said. “It was a big risk. But the National Science Foundation is the agency that takes these kinds of risks. We support fundamental science and engineering at a point in the road to discovery where that path is anything but clear. We fund trailblazers. It’s why the U.S. continues to be a global leader in advancing knowledge.”

Image courtesy of Space.com.


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