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Old 11th February 2016, 3:44 PM   #1
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Default Gravitational waves may have been detected

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Speculation is rife that scientists have finally found direct evidence for gravitational waves — a feat that Albert Einstein never thought we would manage.

In September last year, rumours began circulating that scientists at the Advanced LIGO facilities in the US had at last detected these miniscule ripples in space-time.

...

Scientists from LIGO will give an update on their progress at a press conference in Washington early tomorrow.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-1...-found/7159238
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Old 12th February 2016, 1:56 AM   #2
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Boom.

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Scientists have for the first time observed elusive gravitational waves – tiny ripples in the fabric of space-time caused by violent astronomical events.
The discovery, announced overnight in Washington DC, confirms the last outstanding prediction made by Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity.
http://www.smh.com.au/technology/sci...11-gmr9ja.html
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Old 12th February 2016, 2:55 AM   #3
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Confirmation of gravitational waves is almost certain to lead to a Nobel Prize for physics.
Not too bad!
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Old 12th February 2016, 9:53 AM   #4
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Fark me...

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"What we've measured in trying to record that signal is these two points in our interferometer, these two mirrors that are separated by four kilometres, moved by an amount of an incredible 10 to the minus 18 of a metre in a tenth of a second," he said.

"Even getting that concept of how small is 10 to the minus 18 of a metre? Well, it's 10,000 times smaller than a nucleus.

"It's like we've been able to measure our sun shift one human hair closer to the nearest star."


...and in terms of the Noble prize...

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There were 56 Australian scientists who were part of the 1,000-strong advanced-LIGO team.

Australian National University's Professor David McClelland led the local effort, as part of the 15-nation consortium involved in the project.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-1...tected/7140750
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Old 12th February 2016, 10:12 AM   #5
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Thanks RnR, see below.
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Old 12th February 2016, 10:21 AM   #6
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Fixed

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Old 12th February 2016, 11:12 AM   #7
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Can someone explain what they are and how it can benefit? I heard on triple J the bowling ball on the trampoline analogy then add a ball and see the effects but still cant understand how it works as we know gravitational force is in play by large bodies.
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Old 12th February 2016, 11:17 AM   #8
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The gravitational waves are oscillations in the metric structure, not in the potential. A better picture is this
https://pbs.twimg.com/tweet_video/Ca8gp2wWAAABh0i.mp4

If you consider a cross section of that you would see a circle become stretched vertically then horizontally, then back again. That's what the waves 'do' when they pass through space (the whole bowling ball sheet thing really irks me tbh)

Also this
http://www.god-does-not-play-dice.net/fig_1_1.jpg
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Old 12th February 2016, 11:29 AM   #9
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If you double the length of the detectors, do you half the signal strength that can be detected? Or is it a non-linear relationship?

Edit: oh wow - the current setup is only at 1/3 its theoretical sensitivity! From the presentation above at around 1hr 17m.
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Old 12th February 2016, 11:50 AM   #10
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This is amazing stuff. Overnight it expanded from a physics experiment to a new field of astronomy! Let's hope it wasn't a rogue microwave near LIGO . New scientist have a great article on this, easy to digest: https://www.newscientist.com/article..._source=NSNSAL. I love how Kip Thorne (dude who produced and added scientific validity to the movie Intersteller) is apart of the LIGO team.

I have a question to anyone in the know, these black holes aren't the biggest out there, supermassive blackholes are at the heart of most galaxies and there's one in our own Milky Way, *I'm assuming* a supermassive blackhole's influence on spacetime fabric and gravitational waves are significantly more powerful than these two black holes (29 and 36 solar masses), so why have we only been able to detect them this time when they merged/collided? Is it just the grav wave output of two blackholes colliding/merging is substantially higher than just a chillin almost dormant supermassive blackhole?
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Old 12th February 2016, 12:10 PM   #11
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I have a question to anyone in the know, these black holes aren't the biggest out there, supermassive blackholes are at the heart of most galaxies and there's one in our own Milky Way, *I'm assuming* a supermassive blackhole's influence on spacetime fabric and gravitational waves are significantly more powerful than these two black holes (29 and 36 solar masses), so why have we only been able to detect them this time when they merged/collided? Is it just the grav wave output of two blackholes colliding/merging is substantially higher than just a chillin almost dormant supermassive blackhole?
Think of it as being able to detect a series of radio waves from a moving electron. If the electron isn't moving, like the massive black holes in the center of our galaxy, then there won't be any radio waves generated. The speed and the masses involves also played a part in the signal strength. The instruments could only detect the event 0.2s(?) before the two black holes merged - at this time the black holes had accelerated to 0.5c and the energy output of the gravity waves alone were equal to 3 solar masses. A friggin' massive event.

With higher sensitivities, and the presentation talks a little about the current efforts of putting these instruments in space, they should be able to detect different types of events over different time periods ie minutes and hours rather than split seconds.
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Old 12th February 2016, 12:16 PM   #12
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Think of it as being able to detect a series of radio waves from a moving electron. If the electron isn't moving, like the massive black holes in the center of our galaxy, then there won't be any radio waves generated. The speed and the masses involves also played a part in the signal strength. The instruments could only detect the event 0.2s(?) before the two black holes merged - at this time the black holes had accelerated to 0.5c and the energy output of the gravity waves alone were equal to 3 solar masses. A friggin' massive event.

With higher sensitivities, and the presentation talks a little about the current efforts of putting these instruments in space, they should be able to detect different types of events over different time periods ie minutes and hours rather than split seconds.
Ahhh gotcha! Thanks for the reply. So its essentially the actual movement of these blackholes through space that's causing gravitational waves, and thus the detection to be possible. I read that as they got close to merging they were spinning around each other in just milliseconds.
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Old 12th February 2016, 12:39 PM   #13
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I like the analogy of gravity wave propagation being like flexing a ball just a little - the ball being the universe. Do gravity waves propagate at the speed of light?
The energy output of that black hole merger was phenomenal; 3 solar masses converted to energy in 0.1 seconds!
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Old 12th February 2016, 1:01 PM   #14
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Yes - gravity waves propagate at the speed of light.
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Old 12th February 2016, 2:28 PM   #15
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The energy output of that black hole merger was phenomenal; 3 solar masses converted to energy in 0.1 seconds!
I wonder how many civilizations near that event were wiped out
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