As predicted by Albert Einstein in his 1916 General Theory of Relativity, astronomers may finally have found the elusive gravitational waves, mysterious ripples in the fabric of space.
As these ripples pass the Earth, local space is alternately stretched and compressed.
Einstein was yesterday said to be “ecstatic” at the news, as he pedalled around the cosmos on his white bicycle.
The worldwide scientific team behind the project – the LIGO collaboration – observed the warping of space-time generated by the collision of two black holes, a event in space that occurred over a billion light-years from Earth. The findings could offer new insights in to the Big Bang.
The LIGO project involves a number of labs around the world firing lasers through very long tunnels, trying to sense ripples in the fabric of space-time. The anticipated signals are extremely subtle and disturbances picked up by the interferometer detector machines might be merely fractions of the width of an atom in size.
The black hole merger radiated three times the mass of the sun in pure gravitational energy.
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