A new era of astronomy has kick-started as scientists have directly detected gravitational waves and for the first time. Scientists said that the gravitational waves were created owing to the creation of two black holes.
First time also, the signal was created with the collision of two black holes, but the only difference this time is that it was a completely different binary black hole system. The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) has detected the signals.
When the researchers ruled out other possible source for the waves, they then matched the situation with the collision of two black holes at the speed of light, 1.4 billion light years away. “The first event was so beautiful that we almost couldn’t believe it. Now, the fact of having seen another gravitational wave proves that indeed we are observing a population of binary black holes in the universe”, said Salvatore Vitale, MIT research scientist and LIGO team member.
Till the time the LIGO was not present, it was not possible for scientists to detect them through the universe. But with the creation of LIGO, things have changed completely. To date, LIGO is considered to be the largest scientific investment ever being made by the National Science Foundation.
The facility has two main locations – one in Louisiana and the other in Washington. The same team has detected gravitational wave for the second, but this time, it is completely separate one. By studying gravitational waves, researchers will get the opportunity to learn more about the frequency of black holes and the way they merge.
Lisa Barsotti, principal research scientist at MIT and member of LIGO team, said that such detections are very important for them and have a strong impact on their lives.
The study paper published in the scientific journal Phys News informed…
“In 1915 Albert Einstein put forward his general theory of relativity, making the bold step of equating gravity to distortions of time and space caused by the presence of mass. He and others went on to predict that accelerating masses would generate ripples of distortion, flowing out as gravitational waves, though it was thought these would be too weak to ever measure.”
“Like the first detection, this second fleeting signal came from two black holes in a tight orbit – what’s known as a binary black hole system. After spending many millions of years orbiting each other in ever decreasing circles, these black holes collided in a fraction of a second over a billion years ago.”
The existence of two black holes with such high masses came as a surprise to many astronomers at the time of the first announcement, since the formation routes for such black holes are unclear. It was in fact the first direct evidence that binary black holes exist and can collide and merge.
The existence of massive black holes raises many questions: were they formed in the Big Bang or through the collapse of matter at a later date? Did they form from a pair of supermassive stars or did they join together by chance once the stars had become black holes? Are they related to the formation of the supermassive black holes that appear to exist in the cores of nearly all galaxies? And what are the implications for the collapse of matter into stars and galaxies and the formation of structure in the universe?
Observing gravitational waves either from single neutron stars or binary pairs would reveal the physics of matter under the most extreme conditions in the universe. Having three detectors working in conjunction will also mean that we can be more accurate about the position in the sky from which a wave is coming. That will help us to identify any signals from these sources seen by conventional telescopes – the flash from the collision or its aftermath. This will multiply the scientific return from both kinds of signals many times over, for example by giving us more insight into the structure of the universe.
According to a story published on the topic by VOA News, “Using the European Southern Observatory’s ALMA or Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array of radio telescopes, the scientists say they’ve picked up a strong signal that indicates oxygen in a galaxy about 13.1 billion light-years away. This means that the oxygen formed no later than about 700 million years after the Big Bang, what is said to have marked the beginning of our universe. The scientists found the ancient oxygen in the distant galaxy as SXDF-NB1006-2, in the constellation Cetus.”
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“The first event was so beautiful that we almost couldn’t believe it. Now, the fact of having seen another gravitational wave proves that indeed we are observing a population of binary black holes in the universe. We know we’ll see many of these frequently enough to make interesting science out of them.” Salvatore Vitale, MIT research scientist and LIGO team membe,” according to a recent Tech Crunch report.
Gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of space and time throughout the universe and were theorized by Albert Einstein over 100 years ago. They’re caused by extreme, cataclysmic events that occur in outer space — like two black holes colliding into each other. Directly detecting gravitational waves is a huge deal, because by doing so scientists are confirming Einstein’s theory of general relativity.