You thought space was cool before? Wait until you hear about what scientists discovered on September 14, 2015.
On a typical September morning in the two towns of Livingston, Louisiana and Hanford, Washington, something extraordinary happened. The twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatories (LIGO) detected gravitational waves from space. The theory of gravitational waves originated 100 years ago from Albert Einstein’s famous 1916 Theory of Relativity. This revolutionary, first-ever detection of gravitational waves confirms Einstein’s theory, which states that space and time aren’t actually two separate things but are linked together in a single fabric, called spacetime.
Do You Understand the Gravity of this Situation?!
Gravitational waves are ripples in spacetime, generated by a massive gravitational event and pushed outward, like ripples moving outward from a pebble when dropped into a pond.
Since the theory of Gravitational Waves proposed by Einstein a complete 100 years ago, scientists have been unable to directly detect them – until now. The LIGO observatories were built in the 1980’s for the sole purpose of detecting these waves, and have been waiting for a signal all this time. Finally, the astonishing gravitational waves have reached this impressive technology, accompanied by an epic story:
Supermassive black holes.
Two black holes were found to be the cause of the gravitational waves that reached our planet in 2015. Scientists learned that two black holes residing in a small galaxy called the Large Magellanic Cloud collided with each other, and formed one massive black hole. The moment of collision was the massive gravitational event to create the gravitational waves that reached us.
And here’s the real kicker: This collision of two black holes happened 1.3 BILLION YEARS AGO.
Us human beings have the technology to detect waves that were generated 1.3 billion years ago. This is an incredible human feat, and it has brought us all one step closer to unfolding the secrets of the universe (of course, much will always remain a beautiful mystery).
Below is the audio clip the LIGO collected. It is the 1.3 billion-year-old sound of two massive black holes crashing into one another. Listen to this as many times as you want and meditate on how astonishing it truly is – we have the ability to hear the very sound of Space and Time itself.
-Professor College Kid