Ripples in space-time: they are there – Einstein’s theory is correct, and now further




Gravitational waves, predicted by Albert Einstein in 1916 on the basis of his theory of relativity, moving through space at the speed of light. Although two scientists indirect evidence for the existence of the waves already publicized were in 1974, they have never been directly observed. Until now.

Gravitational waves or gravitational waves occur when massive collisions in the universe, such as colliding black holes or exploding stars. Or immediately after the Big Bang. The observations of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, which were made ​​in the United States, they also show that we can directly observe. Thus the missing part of the general theory of relativity was completed a century after Einstein’s prediction.

General relativity predicts that large objects space-time bending around. With a probe of the NASA space, the Gravity Probe B, it was discovered that the space-time around the earth indeed is bent and twisted by the rotation of the earth. If very heavy objects in space are very close together and they move more rapidly than the gravity becomes very strong. Because of this, they compress the space, creating waves that go through the whole universe. These waves are restrained by nothing.

In the case of the waves that observed LIGO, it comes to gravitational waves of two colliding black holes. Black holes are respectively solar masses (M ☉) of 29 and 36. A solar mass, or the mass of the sun, is almost 2 × 10³⁰ kilograms.

With the observations are gravitational waves not only for the first time directly detected, but it also opens the possibility finally to test the theory of general relativity, on the basis of the properties of the waves. For example, it is not known whether Einstein’s theory does hold in places where the gravity is very strong, as in the case of two merging black holes or two colliding neutron stars.

The special feature of gravitational waves is that they, in contrast to light waves, radio waves and sound waves, do not need a matter to arise. So they can therefore arise when black holes that emit no electromagnetic radiation. They go through everything and they do not like light blocked by intervening stars or planets. So the waves do not come with anything, they are the empty space.


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