Researchers discover 35 gravitational waves

The evolution of the universe is one step closer to being solved after Australian researchers were part of a team that made a huge discovery.

Some of the biggest mysteries of the universe are one step closer to being solved after researchers made a huge discovery.

An international team of scientists, including Australians, have uncovered the largest number of gravitational waves ever detected.

Albert Einstein predicted their existence in his general theory of relativity more than a century ago, but the first were not identified until 2015.

Professor Susan Scott, from the Australian National University Centre for Gravitational Astrophysics, said the 35 new detections were the equivalent of a “tsunami”.

“This really is a new era for gravitational wave detections and the growing population of discoveries is revealing so much information about the life and death of stars throughout the universe,” she said.

The waves were caused by pairs of black holes and neutron stars smashing together.

Professor Scott said the latest discovery would help solve some long-held mysteries, including the building blocks or matter and the workings of space and time.

“Looking at the masses and spins of the black holes in these binary systems indicates how these systems got together in the first place,” she said.

“It also raises some really fascinating questions.

“For example, did the system originally form with two stars that went through their life cycles together and eventually became black holes, or were the two black holes thrust together in a very dense dynamical environment such as at the centre of a galaxy?”

The gravitational wave detections were captured by the LIGO and Virgo observatories, located in the US and Europe, between November 2019 and March 2020.

Originally published as Researchers unlock history of universe after large discovery


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