Gravitational Waves Current Affairs

2017 Nobel Prize in physics goes to the discovery of Gravitational Waves

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has selected three American scientists Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne for the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics.

They were selected for their decisive contributions to the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational wave Observatory) detector and the observation of gravitational waves.

Dr. Weiss — born in Berlin and now a US citizen received half the prize. The remaining half was shared equally by two Caltech scientists — Dr. Barish, Professor of Physics and Dr. Thorne, Professor of Theoretical Physics

Gravitational waves

Gravitational waves are ripples curvature of spacetime which propagate as waves, travelling outward from source at the speed of light. Strongest sources of gravitational waves are among produced by catastrophic events such as colliding black holes.

Gravitational waves were first predicted in 1916 by Albert Einstein on basis of his Theory of General Relativity. They were detected  for by US LIGO laboratory in 2015. Since then three more examples have been detected.

Gravitational waves transport energy as gravitational radiation and pass through matter without interacting with it. Information extracted from gravitational waves may help to address unsolved questions and mysteries of physics and astronomy. ‎

LIGO

LIGO is world’s largest gravitational wave observatory. ‎It comprises two enormous laser interferometers located thousands of kilometers apart. ‎It helps to detect and understand the origins of gravitational waves. The Interferometers used in LIGO work by merging two or more sources of light to create interference pattern, which can be measured and analyzed.

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Scientists detect Gravitational waves for fourth time

Scientists have successfully detected gravitational waves for fourth time coming from merger of two massive black holes. It was for first time, these waves were simultaneously detected by US-based Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) and Italy-based Virgo detectors. The first two detection were made in September and December 2015 in quick succession and for third time it was detected in January 2017.

Key Facts

The recently detected gravitational waves were emitted during final moments of merger of two black holes  located about 1.8 billion light-years away with masses about 31 and 25 times mass of Sun. The newly produced spinning black hole has about 53 times mass of our sun i.e. about 3 solar masses were converted into gravitational-wave energy during merger.

Gravitational Waves

Gravitational waves are ripples curvature of spacetime which propagate as waves, travelling outward from source at the speed of light. They transport energy as gravitational radiation and pass through matter without interacting with it. Gravitational waves were first predicted in 1916 by Albert Einstein on the basis of his Theory of General Relativity. Strongest sources of gravitational waves are among enigmatic objects in our universe like black holes, supernova, neutron stars and Big Bang. Information extracted by these transmitted waves may help to address unsolved questions and mysteries of physics and astronomy.

Note: Russel Hulse and Joseph Taylor had discovered indirect evidence for existence of gravitational waves emitted from decaying orbital period of objects called binary pulsars in 1974,. Both of them for their discovery were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1993.

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