Gravitational Waves Found for the First Time

Scientists have just confirmed the discovery of gravitational waves created from two merging black holes.
Trevor English

Scientists have just confirmed the discovery of gravitational waves created from two merging black holes. Researchers at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) in the United States first observed the waves which confirm Einstein's Theory of General Relativity.

In essence, the theory states that gravity bends space and time, therefore, the more massive the object the greater the effect. The gravitational waves discovered are oscillations in space-time created by the collision of the black holes.

The waves were first observed on September 14, 2015, but were just recently proven and confirmed. Black holes were long thought to be the only objects with enough mass to create waves large enough for detection. A stunning 50 times the power of all of the stars in the observable universe was released in the collision. It was determined that the chances of the scientists being wrong about the discovery is 1 in 6 million. Below is a video demonstrating what the collision would have looked like.

This new evidence for Einstein's theory sparks a new wave of an investigation into the physics of the universe. Not to mention decades of research-based upon gravitational waves has gained additional traction from the discovery.

"Detecting and measuring gravitational waves is the holy grail of Einstein’s theory of General Relativity." ~ Bob Bingham, Physicist

On top of confirmation of the existence of gravitational waves, it was also proven that they travel at the speed of light. Theoretically, physicists believed that the waves moved at this speed, but now that it's confirmed, the door is open for further research. Each of the black holes is estimated to have been 40 times the mass of the Sun and 150 km in Diameter.

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gravitational waves detected
Source: Tod Strohmayer/Wikimedia Commons

There is no doubt to the discovery as the two observatories are acclaimed as the "most precise measuring devices ever built," according to the laboratory director. This groundbreaking discovery could lead to further confirmation of theories surrounding the creation of the universe, what lies beyond black holes, and even a new field of physics named quantum gravity.


Einstein had it right all along, and physicists, researchers, and engineers all over the world are celebrating this incredible new discovery.