Scientists Have Once Again Detected Gravitational Waves

Thursday, 16 June 2016 - 10:30AM
Astrophysics
Physics
Thursday, 16 June 2016 - 10:30AM
Scientists Have Once Again Detected Gravitational Waves
Scientists announced today that they have once again detected gravitational ripples in spacetime coming from the collision of two supermassive black holes.

This discovery happened just months after the first-ever detection of gravitation waves rocked the physics world. Since the phenomenon is caused by celestial events like black hole mergers, this second gravitational wave spotting suggests that smaller-sized black holes might be more numerous than many had thought.

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"It looks like there are going to be more of these black holes out there than we imagined," says David Reitze, executive director of LIGO
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Despite this being the second detection, scientists seem to be an excited as ever about the presence of gravitational waves. "Just the fact that we've now seen more than one is very exciting," said MIT's David Shoemaker, who lead the Advanced LIGO construction program, "it takes us out of 'gee whiz, could it be true?' mindset to yes, this is a tool we can use."  

Opening quote
"The first event was realizing a dream," gushed Federico Ferrini, director of the European Gravitational Observatory, "Now we have a second, and in the future, we'll have more. It mean we've really entered the era of gravitational wave astronomy, and we can start to do statistics!"
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Jorge Cham of the website PhD Comics took it one step further, by comparing this second detection to a cochlear implant. "Imagine your whole life you have been deaf until one day your hearing was restored," he quipped. While the initial detection was incredibly exciting, this discovery absolutely confirms it, and ushers in a whole new era of physics. Chad Hanna, Penn State physicist and LIGO collaborator put it best:

Opening quote
"Now that we are able to detect gravitational waves, they are going to be a phenomenal source of new information about our galaxy and an entirely new channel for discoveries about the universe."
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