Short post of the month February 2016 – gravitational waves

Very interesting.

The Science Geek

The subject of February’s short post of the month is gravitational waves. These were predicted by Albert Einstein back in 1916, and after decades of searching have finally been detected. In an announcement made on 11 February at a Washington DC press conference David Reitze, the executive director of the LIGO Laboratory, said:

Ladies and gentlemen, we have detected gravitational waves. We did it!”

(Castelvecchi and Witze 2016). Later that day president Obama tweeted his congratulations to the team:

Obama LIGO Tweet

What are gravitational waves?

Gravitational waves are ripples in space time. As gravitational waves pass through an object they cause it to move slightly. The Universe is believed to be awash with gravitational waves, because when massive objects move, such as the Earth orbiting around the Sun, they emit gravitational radiation. However compared to other forms of radiation such as light and radio waves, gravitational waves are very very weak, which is why they have proved…

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