Astronomers have detected gravitational waves from a merger of two black holes into one that has the mass of 49 suns and took place 3 billion light years away from Earth.
The detection of gravitational waves is the third since 2015 when astronomers began to use the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory to look for them, The New York Times reported. The observatory validates Einstein’s prediction that space-time can shake and vibrate when these mergers (or any other massive events) occur in space, and it has helped astronomers learn more about massive black holes and how they function.
"We are moving in a substantial way away from novelty towards where we can seriously say we are developing black-hole astronomy," MIT physicist and spokesman for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration David Shoemaker said, the NYT reported.
The waves had to travel for about 3 billion years, or about a quarter of the universe’s life span, scientists said. The detection was made in January but has only been announced recently, according to the Sun.
The black holes were thought to be rotating in a non-aligned way (in opposite directions) while they orbited because of the nature of the waves generated. The LIGO equipment was originally meant to detect collisions of neutron stars but has now been shown to detect the waves from the merging black holes as well.
Twitter users were wowed by the research.
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