Scientists detected gravitational waves from the black holes for the third timeOn January 4, 2017, scientist discovered disturbance that rippled through the time and space for the third time at a distance of 3 billion light-years. The similar ripple was predicted 100 years ago and was detected for the first time in February 2016 and the second few months later. These gravitational waves were generated by massive celestial objects that crash and merge, setting off ripples through space and across time. They were detected by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory or LIGO from the violent death spirals of merging black holes.

According to David Shoemaker, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and spokesman for LIGO, an international collaboration involving more than a thousand researchers, the latest black holes detected were slightly smaller as compared to the previously detected. Twin LIGO detectors, one from Louisiana and another from Washington picked up the faint vibrations of two black holes that were 20 and 30 times huger than the sun respectively before they flew towards each other and merged together to form a larger black hole.

During merging of these black holes, the two solar masses of equal weight were converted into gravitational waves. Michael Landry, a LIGO physicist at California Institute of Technology said, “These are the most powerful astronomical events witnessed by human beings.” The new detection also disclosed the way black holes spin with respect to their orbits. They spin in both counterclockwise as well as clockwise direction and sometimes could tilt at angles.

“We’re really moving from novelty to a new observational science”, David further added. When the gravitational waves pass through the 2.5-mile-long L-shaped laser beams, one arm of the L will either shrink or expand, throwing the beams out in order. This L-shaped laser beam consists of Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory or LIGO. The shapes of the waves were matched with computer models that revealed the collision took place 3 billion light years from Earth, two times far away as previous detections.


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