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  • News

    Black hole heavyweights triggered gravity wave event

    The recent detection of gravitational waves is a stunning confirmation of Albert Einstein’s theories and the start of a new way of observing the universe. And at the center of it all is a celebrity couple: the first known pairing of black holes and the most massive ones found outside of the cores of galaxies.

    On September 14, the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave...

    02/17/2016 - 12:34 Astronomy, Physics
  • Context

    Gravity waves exemplify the power of intelligent equations

    It isn’t often that physics produces news that diverts the mainstream media from politics, crime and sports. But, now, in the space of four years’ time, physicists have twice elevated the intellectual content of Google News listings: with the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012, and now the detection of the spacetime vibrations known as gravitational waves.

    Finding the Higgs shored up...

    02/16/2016 - 15:56 Physics, History of Science
  • Context

    ‘Gravity waves’ is an OK way to refer to gravitational radiation

    It’s OK to call them “gravity waves.”

    Purists insist that the spacetime ripples just discovered by the Advanced LIGO observatories should be called “gravitational” waves. Which in itself is just a shorthand way of saying radiation of gravitational energy via oscillations in the fabric of spacetime. Further shortening that to “gravity wave” is considered by some to be scientifically...

    02/11/2016 - 15:54 Physics, Astronomy
  • Essay

    The long road to detecting gravity waves

    The January e-mail from Syracuse University physicist Peter Saulson caught me off guard. It probably shouldn’t have, since I had been anticipating the news for 16 years, ever since I wrote Einstein’s Unfinished Symphony. The book chronicled the astrophysical community’s most cutting-edge start-up: gravity wave astronomy.

    Saulson’s message meant that Einstein’s symphony is no longer “...

    02/11/2016 - 10:40 Physics, Astronomy
  • Feature

    Gravitational waves explained

    A century after Albert Einstein rewrote our understanding of space and time, physicists have confirmed one of the most elusive predictions of his general theory of relativity. In another galaxy, a billion or so light-years away, two black holes collided, shaking the fabric of spacetime. Here on Earth, two giant detectors on opposite sides of the United States quivered as gravitational waves...

    02/11/2016 - 10:30 Physics, Astronomy
  • News

    Gravity waves from black holes verify Einstein’s prediction

    WASHINGTON — Tremors in the cosmic fabric of space and time have finally been detected, opening a new avenue for exploring the universe.

    The historic discovery of those tremors, known as gravitational waves, comes almost exactly a century after Albert Einstein first posited their existence. Researchers with the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or Advanced...

    02/11/2016 - 10:30 Physics, Astronomy
  • Science Ticker

    As first run of gravitational wave search winds down, rumors abound

    On January 12, scientists began a gradual shutdown of the Advanced LIGO experiment, marking the end of a four-month search for gravitational waves, ripples of energy that course through the cosmic fabric of space and time. Now the question is whether persistent rumors that the experiment has detected the long-sought waves are accurate. A discovery would confirm one of general relativity’s most...

    01/14/2016 - 12:39 Astronomy
  • News in Brief

    Pulsar pair ripples spacetime

    GENEVA — A dancing duo of cosmic beacons has provided scientists with the most precise measurement, albeit an indirect one, of ripples in spacetime called gravitational waves.

    The measurement comes from analyzing the only known pair of gravitationally bound pulsars, dense cores of dead stars that emit intense beams of radio waves with the regularity of a nearly perfect clock. Michael...

    12/18/2015 - 17:49 Physics, Astronomy
  • Science Ticker

    LISA Pathfinder to pave way for gravitational wave detection

    One small step for metal cubes, one giant leap for general relativity. On December 3 from a launchpad in French Guiana, the European Space Agency successfully launched the LISA Pathfinder mission, a satellite that will test technologies needed for a future space-based gravitational wave detector.

    Ripples in spacetime generated by cataclysmic cosmic events have yet to be directly detected...

    12/03/2015 - 06:59 Astronomy
  • Feature

    Using general relativity to magnify the cosmos

    One of the most powerful known magnifying lenses isn’t found on Earth. The lens is built from stars, gas and dark matter and lies about 4 billion light-years away. As astronomers peer through it, they are finding the seeds of galaxies that were scattered around the universe more than 13 billion years ago.

    The lens is known as Abell 2744, a cosmic pileup where four groups of galaxies are...

    10/06/2015 - 12:38 Astronomy, Cosmology, Physics