Gravity Wave

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Furthermore, these ripples would travel at the speed of light through the Universe, carrying with them information about their cataclysmic origins, as well as clues to the nature of gravity itself. The strongest gravitational waves are produced by catastrophic events such as colliding black holes, the collapse of stellar cores supernovae , coalescing neutron stars or white dwarf stars, the slightly wobbly rotation of neutron stars that are not perfect spheres, and possibly even the remnants of gravitational radiation created by the birth of the Universe itself.

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The animation below illustrates how gravitational waves are emitted by two neutron stars as they orbit each other and then coalesce. Though Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves GW in , the first proof of their existence wouldn't arrive until , 20 years after Einstein's death. In that year, two astronomers using the Arecibo Radio Observatory in Puerto Rico discovered a binary pulsar , exactly the type of system that, according to general relativity, should radiate gravitational waves.

Gravitational wave - Wikipedia

Knowing that this discovery could be used to test Einstein's audacious prediction, astronomers began measuring how the stars' orbits changed over time. After eight years of observations, they determined that the stars were getting closer to each other at precisely the rate predicted by general relativity if they were emitting gravitational waves GW would remove energy from the system causing them move closer together as they orbit each other.

For a more detailed discussion of this discovery and work, see Look Deeper. Artist's Impression of a Binary Pulsar.

Since then, many astronomers have studied pulsar radio-emissions and found similar effects, further confirming the existence of gravitational waves. But these confirmations had always come indirectly or mathematically and not through actual 'physical' contact.

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All of this changed on September 14, , when LIGO directly sensed the distortions in spacetime caused by passing gravitational waves generated by two colliding black holes nearly 1. LIGO's discovery will go down in history as one of humanity's greatest scientific achievements.

NEW Gravitational Wave Discovery!

And one event yellow might be a mash up between a black hole and a neutron star. Researchers also spotted three possible instances of black holes colliding, the most commonly detected source of gravitational waves. And on April 25, for the second time ever, scientists observed waves that were apparently from two merging neutron stars. But no definite light show from the blast has yet been detected. A day later, physicists detected the enticing potential merger of a black hole and neutron star. Although the detection could be a false alarm, astronomers are trying to pinpoint light from that cataclysm as well.

Observing such a coalescence could help uncover the properties of the mysterious, ultradense material that makes up a neutron star or reveal how fast the universe is expanding.

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Gravitational wave

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