A few months ago, the scientists discovered what they termed as the gravitational waves. It is said by the scientists that the presence of these waves was predicted by the great scientist, Albert Einstein. The discovery is considered to be a major breakthrough in the research of black holes and eventually, the formation of the universe.
What are gravitational waves?
- These are disturbances or ripples in the space and time.
- An analogy to understand: When you move your hands through a still pool of water, waves are formed and follow their path. A similar phenomenon takes place in the fabric of space and time.
Who discovered these waves first?
Laser Interferometer Gravitational Observatory(LIGO) in the U.S was the first to corroborate Einstein’s prediction on the presence of such waves.
What is the cause of these waves?
Mainly caused by the massive accelerating objects like black holes or neutron stars.
Also, catastrophic events like:
- colliding black holes.
- the collapse of stellar cores or stars called supernovae.
- the coalescing of the neutron stars or white dwarf stars.
- unstable rotation of neutron stars (which might not be perfect spheres).
- remanents of the gravitational radiations created by the birth of the universe.
What are the characteristic features of the waves?:
- Travel with the speed of light.
- They are very tiny and delicate to be detected.
- Do not interact with matter and travel through the universe unhindered.
What is the significance of this discovery?
- Since they are unimpeded waves, they will carry information about their origin without any distortions. This will help in tracing the origin of the universe.
- Improved methods for estimating the distances of galaxies.
- Mapping the abundance of black holes and frequency of their mergers.
- Would help in tracing the cosmic information like that of the supernova.