Will Discovery of Gravitational Waves Alter Our View Of Space-Time In The Future?
Dear Friends & Neighbors,
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Why is gravitational wave suddenly being reported in so many mainstream media lately (late 2016-2017) even though it is not a new topic of discussion in the scientific community?
As it turned out, it is due to the fact that three U.S. physicists (Rainer Weiss, Barry Barish, and Kip Thorne)
have been awarded 2017’s Nobel Prize in physics. They won the award for building a remarkable device that can detect gravitational waves. They have enabled scientists to physically detect gravitational waves, or ripples through spacetime caused by far-off violent cosmic collisions using these giant detectors (LIGO detectors , Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, in Hanford, Washington state, and Livingston, Louisiana, USA), therefore proving that Albert Einstein was correct in his prediction of the existence of gravitational waves back in 1916.
In 1916, Albert Einstein, on the basis of his theory of general relativity, predicted the existence of gravitational waves and interpreted gravity as a consequence of distortions in space-time, caused by mass. Therefore, Einstein also predicted that events in the cosmos would cause “ripples” in space-time -distortions of space-time itself- which would spread outward.
Although these distortions would be so miniscule that it would be practically impossible to detect them by any technology foreseen at that time. It was also predicted that objects moving in an orbit would lose energy for this reason (a consequence of the law of conservation of energy), as some energy would be given off as gravitational waves, although this would be insignificantly small in all but the most extreme cases.
Below, let’s take a look at Brian Greene‘s explanation of The Discovery of Gravitational Waves:
One case where gravitational waves would be strongest is during the final moments of the merger of two compact objects such as neutron stars or black holes. Over a span of millions of years, binary neutron stars, and binary black holes lose energy, largely through gravitational waves, and as a result, they spiral in towards each other. At the very end of this process, the two objects will reach extreme velocities, and in the final fraction of a second of their merger a substantial amount of their mass would theoretically be converted into gravitational energy, and travel outward as gravitational waves, allowing a greater than usual chance for detection. However, since little was known about the number of compact binaries in the universe and reaching that final stage can be very slow, there was little certainty as to how often such events might happen.In physics, spacetime is any mathematical model that fuses the three dimensions of space and the one dimension of time into a single 4‑dimensional continuum. Spacetime diagrams are useful in visualizing and understanding relativistic effects such as how different observers perceive where and when events occur.
Gravitational-wave astronomy is a branch of observational astronomy which uses gravitational waves to collect observational data about sources of detectable gravitational waves such as binary star systems composed of white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes; and events such as supernovae, and the formation of the early universe shortly after the Big Bang.
On February 11, 2016, the LIGO and Virgo Scientific Collaboration announced that they had made the first observation of gravitational waves. The observation itself was made on September 14, 2015, using the Advanced LIGO detectors. The gravity waves originated from a pair of merging black holes. After the initial announcement the LIGO instruments detected two more confirmed, and one potential, gravitational wave events. In August 2017, the two LIGO instruments, and the Virgo instrument, observed a fourth gravitational wave from merging black holes. Several other gravitational-wave detectors are planned or under construction.
For those of you who are curious about what gravitational waves or detection of the existence of gravitational waves would mean for us, for the future of astronomy, or a new way of studying and viewing the cosmos, please view these videos below:
- Gravitational Waves Theory explained by Neil deGrasse Tyson, below:
- Find out how gravitational waves are allowing us to unlock the secrets behind black hole formation and growth.
- What does it mean for the future of space science, below:
- Martin Hendry is Professor of Gravitational Astrophysics and Cosmology at the University of Glasgow, presented his talk in 2014, below:
Gathered, written, and posted by Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker
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