By Joel Cruz |Staff Writer|
For the first time, scientists from the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have observed ripples in the fabric of spacetime called gravitational waves, confirming a major prediction of Albert Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity.
The gravitational waves were spotted by two Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors located in Livingston, La. and Hanford, Wash, according to the LIGO discovery press release.
LIGO Scientific Collaboration, is a group of more than 1000 scientists who’ve joined together in search for gravitational waves.
They have concluded that the waves were produced during the final fraction of a second of the merger of two black holes to produce a single, more massive black hole 1.3 billion years ago, according to the LIGO discovery press release.
Even though the event lasted only 20 milliseconds, the peak power output was about 50 times the output of all the stars in the known universe, according to an article on the LA Times.
The detection of these waves opens up the universe to new investigations and could offer a window on the Big Bang, according to the LIGO Collaboration international team.
“Our observation of gravitational waves accomplishes an ambitious goal set out over five 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,” said David H. Reitze, executive director of the LIGO Laboratory at a news conference in Washington D.C.
“I think it’s really cool that they discovered gravitational waves. I think that space is such a mystery to us that even the smallest discoveries are major ones because they can lead to new understandings in the future,” said student Devin Ramos.