Matter & Energy

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gravitational waves illustrated

Scientists announced February 11 that they have detected the ripples in spacetime caused by a black hole merger, regardless of whether you call those ripples “gravitational waves” or “gravity waves.” 

LIGO detector arm in Hanford, Wash.

LISTENING FOR GRAVITY WAVES  Two stainless steel tubes, 4 kilometers long, house laser beams and mirrors to detect waves from space at the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory site in Hanford, Wash. Researchers with Advanced LIGO announced February 11 that they have directly observed gravitational waves.

illustration of gravitational waves

COSMIC SHAKE-UP  Colliding black holes send ripples through spacetime that can be detected on Earth. The Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or Advanced LIGO, which has detectors in Louisiana and Washington,  has directly observed these gravitational waves.

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