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Year in review: Gravitational waves offer new cosmic views

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2016’s announcement of the first detection of gravitational waves, produced 1.3 billion years ago in the collision of two monstrous black holes, has given scientists a whole new way of observing the heavens.

SPACETIME RIPPLES Scientists announced the direct detection of gravitational waves this year.

When scientists converted the gravitational waves into sound waves, the waves produced something like the everyday chirp of a bird, quickly rising in pitch and volume before cutting off.

LIGO is expected to usher in a new era of astronomy, in which gravitational wave detections could become commonplace. In pursuit of this new type of astronomy, scientists have been chasing gravitational waves for decades. Almost as soon as LIGO’s updated detectors were turned on, the gravitational waves rippled by, slightly altering the length of LIGO’s ultrasensitive detectors.

The trio of detectors – Virgo, plus LIGO’s two-will give scientists the ability to locate the sources of gravitational waves on the sky.

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Article originally posted at www.sciencenews.org

Post Author: Carla Parsons

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