For the first time, scientists have observed ripples in the fabric of space-time called gravitational waves arriving at the earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe. This confirms a major prediction of Albert Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity and opens an unprecedented new window onto the cosmos. Gabriela González, LSU professor of physics and astronomy, is the elected spokesperson, and leads the LSC together with other leaders and founders of the LIGO effort.
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Gravitational waves carry information about their dramatic origins and about the nature of gravity that cannot otherwise be obtained. Physicists have concluded that the detected gravitational waves were produced during the final fraction of a second of the merger of two black holes to produce a single, more massive spinning black hole. This collision of two black holes had been predicted but never observed.
The gravitational waves were detected on September 14, 2015 at 4:51 a.m. CST by both of the twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, or LIGO detectors, located in Livingston, LA and Hanford, WA.