Astronomers Might Have Detected the Background Gravitational Waves of the Universe

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Astronomers Might Have Detected the Background Gravitational Waves of the Universe

Post by fred8615 »

In February 2016, Gravitational Waves (GWs) were detected for the first time in history. This discovery confirmed a prediction made by Albert Einstein over a century ago and triggered a revolution in astronomy. Since then, dozens of GW events have been detected from various sources, ranging from black hole mergers, neutron star mergers, or a combination thereof. As the instruments used for GW astronomy become more sophisticated, the ability to detect more events (and learn more from them) will only increase.

For instance, an international team of astronomers recently detected a series of low-frequency gravitational waves using the International Pulsar Timing Array (IPTA). These waves, they determined, could be the early signs of a background gravitational wave signal (BGWS) caused by pairs of supermassive black holes. The existence of this background is something that astrophysicists have theorized since GWs were first detected, making this a potentially ground-breaking discovery!

As Einstein predicted with his Theory of General Relativity, gravitational waves are generated when two or more massive objects merge (black holes, neutron stars, etc.), causing ripples that are detectable many light-years away. In some cases, these ripples may result from galactic mergers, including the Supermassive Black Holes (SMBHs) at their cores or from events occurring soon after the Big Bang. Ever since the first GW event was detected, scientific consortiums worldwide have been looking for signs of this gravitational wave background (GWB).

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Frederick J. Barnett
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