When Black Holes Collide

We are all familiar with the singularity called a black hole. To reiterate, it is the result of a collapsing large star whereby the immense matter that collapses causes a gravitational pull so strong, not even light can escape.

Now, let’s explore what happens when two black holes attract each other. It has never been proven before, but Einstein’s General Relativity gave strong evidence that when these singularities merge, gravitational waves, notably, ripples in spacetime are created.

Gravitational waves develop when a pair of black holes orbiting around each other lose energy and spew these waves forward. In order to confirm that this phenomena exists, we have to look back towards the beginning of time, specifically, 1.3 billion years ago and watch two black holes on a collision course.

In order to detect these entities, two twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory detectors were constructed. One located in Livingston, Louisiana and the other in Hanford, Washington.

Scientists from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) built these complexes that are capable of locating the waves that have been measured to be one-thousandth the size of a proton. The intense work proved successful, as gravitational waves were observed on September 14, 2015.

So why this so important? The reason is that by detecting this phenomenon, a whole new world of physical exploration of the universe has materialized. One that can give scientists more information of how the big bang started than any time before. Some say that this discovery is as important as the time when Galileo invented the telescope.  

We now await the analysis to come from this fascinating discover and wonder where it will not take us.

Interesting Facts on Astronomy and the Universe