Matter & Energy

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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.

illustration of two black holes colliding

SWEET SUCCESS  For the first time, physicists have directly observed gravitational waves, caused by two black holes colliding (illustrated here). 

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