Albert Einstein predicted them in 1915 and on September 15, 2015 they were discovered. An official announcement on February 11, 2016 by physicist and LIGO executive director David Reitze confirmed the detection of one of Einstein’s boldest predictions, the ripples in space-time known as gravitational waves. While the detailed physics are far too advanced to adequately comprehend and properly articulate in a simple post, the findings are revolutionary for the astronomic community and can greatly improve what we understand and what we can confirm about the known universe.
Einstein’s general theory of relativity serve as the basis for the discovery in which, gravitational waves along with the bending of light (gravitational lensing), black holes and an expanding universe are theoretically and mathematically proven through Einstein’s field equations. With huge advancements in technology and a continuously evolving understanding of Einstein’s postulate’s, we are now able to hear the effects of events eons past. The discovery of a massive black hole collision from 1.3 billion years ago has set a precedent for discovery of previously only hypothetical or theoretical concepts.
Astronomy has gotten new life and who knows what the world may discover in the next 100 years. Will everything we’ve grown to understand about the known universe be proven completely erroneous like Ptolemy’s geocentric model was by Copernicus? What universal “truths” will be rendered naïve and ignorant in centuries to come? While many of us will not be around in our current form to witness these eventual breakthroughs, what better time to embrace the origins of new scientific developments than now. An exciting time is ahead, then again…time is relative.
Universe we hear you and we’re listening.