Gravitational Waves: Space-time Ripples set to Revolutionize Astronomy

Gravitational Waves: Space-time Ripples set to Revolutionize Astronomy

Decades after the departure of science lover's favorite physicist Albert Einstein, researchers have showed that he was right about gravitational waves. A wave of cheer swept through science community on February 11 when scientists revealed that they have tasted success in the first direct detection of gravitational waves.

Gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of space-time which were first predicted by Einstein about 100 years ago. In his theory of general relativity in 1916, the German-born theoretical physicist mentioned that gravitational waves transport energy as gravitational radiation. The legend had provided indirect evidence of the ripples, but now, researchers at Large Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) have detected the signal and proved that Einstein was right.

The detection was made on September 14 last year, but the scientists announced the discovery after about five months. According to the scientists who made the discovery, the signal was detected when two black holes were circling close to each other. Experts, such as Stephen William Hawking, said that detection of gravitational waves is going to revolutionize astronomy. Now, astronomers will have a new and exciting way to observe the universe.

"The discovery is like Galileo pointing the telescope for the first time at the sky. You're opening your eyes - in this case, our ears - to a new set of signals from the universe that our previous technologies did not allow us to receive, study and learn from", said Vassiliki Kalogera, a professor of physics and astronomy at Northwestern University and a part of LIGO team.

Before this, humans have been deaf to these space ripples, said David Reitze, Executive Director at LIGO. Now, there are possibilities that more things are going to be revealed soon about the universe, Reitze added.