LIGO scientists have observed gravitational waves for the first time.
100 years ago, Einstein theorised gravitational waves would come from black hole or neutron star collisions, though he never thought it possible to observe them. Scientists built the LIGO, Laser Interferometer Gravitational wave Observatory, which uses 4 km perpendicular pipes to measure the change in the length of travel for the lasers. Compression in one direction while elongation in the other are signs of the waves.
LIGO: The First Observation of Gravitational Waves
MIT explains LIGO
This is an exciting new development and opens up a new field of study.
“Hopefully this first observation will accelerate the construction of a global network of detectors to enable accurate source location in the era of multi-messenger astronomy,” says David McClelland, professor of physics and director of the Centre for Gravitational Physics at the Australian National University.