Monday, February 15, 2016

Gravitational Wave & LIGO Follow-Up

Here's an informative article over at the Christian Science Monitor: Why This Gravitational Wave Finding is Such a Huge Deal.  Read the whole thing, but here are the punch lines:
  1. Einstein was right, gravitational waves really do exist.  We sort of knew this already, through indirect observation of the orbital decay of binary neutron stars.  But it is awfully nice to observe these directly.  Now the subject is 100% nailed down.
  2. For the first time, black holes have been directly observed.  You can't see them with light, but now we can directly "see" them by the gravitational waves they radiate.
  3. Now for the important part, so pay attention: Think of all the new and interesting science we can do through this way of seeing out into the universe.  That's the real story here.  This is the equivalent of the first telescope being pointed out at the planets and stars.  Something unexpected is sure to pop up, and in unexpectedness there is discovery, new knowledge, and maybe even a path to some wisdom.
Bonus link: the Wikipedia entry on LIGO.  You ought to go skim that article too.
Image shamelessly stolen from the linked article.

That is all for today.

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