Einstein Was Right #Einstein #GravitationalWaves #science #physics #EinsteinWasRight #GravityWaves

Gravitational_wave_spectrum_Sources_and_DetectorsOver a billion years ago, two black holes that had been orbiting each other smashed together. Ripples in space-time from the collision reached Earth. Specifically, the waves reached a pair of giant interferometers in the United States, located in Louisiana and Washington state.

Scientists have for the first time detected gravitational waves, ripples in space and time hypothesized by Albert Einstein a century ago, in a landmark discovery announced on Thursday that opens a new window for studying the cosmos…

The colliding black holes that produced these gravitational waves created a violent storm in the fabric of space and time, a storm in which time speeded up, and slowed down, and speeded up again, a storm in which the shape of space was bent in this way and that way.

I’m no physicist, but I find it easier to picture gravity as a warping or reshaping of space and time, not a fog of quantum particles. Transmogrified to an audio signal, something a person can experience, black holes go whoop.

I’ve read that Einstein’s work has been overwhelmed by quantum mechanics. Even, if you view PhDs as the children of their advisors, that Einstein’s line has gone extinct. So in addition to wondering what new view we’ll have of the universe by looking at gravity waves, I feel good about this discovery.

This is probably not good news for anyone’s grand unified theory of everything. Gravity remains different from the other fundamental forces of electromagnetism, weak nuclear, and strong nuclear. Nature refuses to settle into a neat, tidy human understanding.

How frustrating, how problematic, how infuriating. How awesome.

Thanks to reuters for the quotations above. Many outlets covered the news.


Galactic Year – a #SolarSystem #poem by Kate Rauner



As our sphere orbits Sun,
So Sun orbits Black Hole
At the center of our galaxy,
As eternity unfolds.

In a quarter billion earthly years
Our solar system circles round,
Weaves thru the mid galactic plane
Where other stars are densely found.

Fifteen times since life began
We have circum-rotated,
And ten times in each orbit grand
The planet’s devastated.

Our Sun’s own cloud of comets
On the solar system’s edge
Are jostled from their sedate paths,
Fall inward from their ledge.

With corresponding timing
Ancient craters have been found.
It seems Earth’s plagued with comet storms
As the cosmic year spins round.

Life sized model

Life sized model

Bombardments are not good for life.
Half a dozen times
Mass extinctions cleared our world
As doomsday peals chimed.

Things have been quiet for some time
Since dinosaurs disappeared.
The Sun careens past cosmic dust,
Dark matter, stars, and fears.

Such grand cosmic motion can only be estimated, and the number of Earth’s mass-extinctions depends on your definition, but our movement through the galaxy makes me feel very small and oblivious.
space.com on extinctions and comet strikes
Wikipedia on Galactic year

We don’t understand gravity #BlackHoles – a #poem by Kate Rauner

Gravitational Waves That Aren’t There

Black holes – massive gravity sinks,Wavy
Anchor galaxies at their cores.
Orbit closer, closer till,
Merge into one, forevermore.

Sending ripples through space-time
So pulsars, clocks of the gods,
Seem to us, here on Earth,
To vary in their endless nod.

If Einstein’s right,
So it should be.
Syncopation from the sky
In general relativity.

But it’s not there.
We’ve searched and tried.
Gravitational waves
Elude our eyes.

Despite the failure
Don’t surrender.
Theory passes tests
That it engenders.

Except this one,
At least so far.
Not quite as smart
As we think we are.

It works too well
To lose our fervor.
Perhaps we need
To just think harder.

Thanks to csmonitor and the upcoming paper in the journal Science from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Australia.