Sunday, June 4, 2017

Rumble in the Cosmos

The LIGO detectors in Washington and Louisiana "heard" its third gravity wave just after the first of the year, and researchers published the report late last month.

Albert Einstein's theory of relativity predicted that gravity would travel or propagate in waves, like light and radiation do. But gravity's weakness compared with the others meant those waves would be very tiny and almost impossible to detect. Which in fact they were up until the creation of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory a few years ago. Technology which wasn't even a dream during Einstein's lifetime has proved his theory to be largely correct.

Even this super-sensitive detector can catch only hints of the gravity waves that all objects have, as far as we know. And it catches them from amazingly powerful events, such as the orbital dance between two massive black holes, the most powerful gravitational sources we know. But technology will improve on the LIGO, so that smaller gravitational waves might be discovered. More study may even reveal that gravity has a wave-particle duality resembling that of light.

Now the universe has been weird for just about as long as human beings have lived in it -- and probably was before, but if intelligent life existed then it hasn't been talking. Thanks to the LIGO and subsequent and improved detectors, it seems like it's going to get weirder.


fillyjonk said...

Gravity particles, eh?

Presumably they could accumulate in, oh, things and places? I like this concept; it would explain some of the things happening in my nearly-50-year-old body.

CGHill said...

"If intelligent life existed then it hasn't been talking."

It was smart enough to keep its collective mouth shut?

Friar said...

Faith is evidence of things hoped for.