“Ladies and gentlemen, we have detected gravitational waves. We did it,” said David Reitze, executive director of LIGO, the Laser Gravitational-Wave Observatory, at a press conference in Washington on February 11th.
One hundred years after Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves, scientists have finally spotted these elusive ripples in space-time.
The LIGO also estimates that the waves were produced by the collision of two black holes located 1.3 billion light-years from the earth.
One black hole was about 36 times the mass of the sun, and the other was 29 times as large as the sun.
As the two black holes spiraled into one another, they merged into a single one.
The merger radiated three times the mass of the sun in pure gravitational energy.
“These amazing observations are the confirmation of a lot of theoretical work, including Einstein’s general theory of relativity,”says physicist Stephen Hawking of the University of Cambridge, UK.