1.3 billion years ago, two black holes merged into one. Scientists at the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) have detected the gravitational waves from this immense, larger black hole being born. The two black holes that merged were both approximately 100 kilometers across, each containing at least 29 times the same mass as the earth's sun.

Gravitational Waves created as Black Hole is born

The new black hole, with three suns worth of mass has now been turned into an energy – gravitational waves. These are, in effect, ripples which travel through time whilst stretching and compressing Space.

Detecting the Waves

Until the construction of LIGO, gravitational waves had proved elusive. LIGO is an infermometer, established in 2002, which works by splitting a laser beam in two searching for interference when both halves are combined. In 2010 improvements were made as no waves were found. Its official first run after the improvements is when the waves were detected. LIGO has two facilities: one in Washington state, the other in Louisiana, who will not be alone for long, as VIRGO, a gravitational wave observatory in Italy is joining them by the end of 2016.

Einstein's Theory of Relativity

Albert Einstein originally had the idea of gravitational waves emerging from his theory of relativity, which he unveiled almost 100 years before this massive discovery.

Although Einstein created the idea, he remained uncertain regarding thewaves, though they have provided evidence for black holes, something he was uncomfortable with as he knew his theory was too inadequate to mathematically describe.

A new era with Gravitational Waves

This huge triumph opens a new window to how scientists will look at the universe, as the newly detected waves could provide insight into the Big Bang.

Therefore, scientists and astronomers have new research capabilities to conduct their work as far back as the beginning of time. Professor David Reitze summarized the event when speaking with journalists in Washington D.C by stating: "This is the first time the Universe has communicated with us through gravitational waves, until now we have been deaf."

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