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Science Gravitational Waves Detected

Major

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V.I.P.
Cosmic breakthrough: Physicists detect gravitational waves from violent black-hole merger
Scientists announced Thursday that they have succeeded in detecting gravitational waves from the violent merging of two black holes in deep space. The detection was hailed as a triumph for a controversial, exquisitely crafted, billion-dollar physics experiment and as confirmation of a key prediction of Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity.

It will also inaugurate a new era of astronomy in which gravitational waves are tools for studying the most mysterious and exotic objects in the universe, scientists declared at a euphoric news briefing at the National Press Club in Washington.
Scientists have theorized about these gravitational waves for 100 years and just now detected them for the first time. I've seen this called the scientific breakthrough of the century.

I've read where this will help us literally see the Big Bang. Using electromagnetic waves allowed us to see 400,000 years after the Big Bang, but the first 400,000 years were opaque to light. It was not, however, opaque to gravitational waves, so this could help us see exactly what happened from the very moment of the Big Bang.

Exciting stuff.
 

NewGamePlus

Registered Member
I don't get it. How can you see something that already happened? I get it that light travels at speeds and whatnot that gives us what the sun produced many many years ago to light everything, not just what's happening on its surface right now, but how the F can anything like that be applied to something THAT past enough to get the actual event though it's long happened already?
 

Major

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I don't get it. How can you see something that already happened? I get it that light travels at speeds and whatnot that gives us what the sun produced many many years ago to light everything, not just what's happening on its surface right now, but how the F can anything like that be applied to something THAT past enough to get the actual event though it's long happened already?
You pretty much answered your own question. When you look up at the sun, you're seeing light that left the sun's surface 8 minutes ago, because that's approximately how long it takes for light to travel from the sun to Earth.

It's the same principle whether you're looking at the sun, or light coming from the far reaches of the cosmos millions or even billions of light years away. Even everything that you see right now, right in front of you, is an image of the past, as it takes time for light to reflect off the objects around you and travel to your eyes, even if it's only a nanosecond.
 

Major

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I think you mean more than minutes, way more. And that still does not extend anything or explain how something can be extended to see the entire creation of the universe. There's been way more left out of that.
Twitch is correct.

The distance from the Earth to the sun is about 93 million miles.
The speed of light is 186,287 miles per second.

Distance divided by rate = time

93,000,000/186,287 = 499 seconds = 8 minutes and 19 seconds
 

NewGamePlus

Registered Member
None of that explains how something that happened multiple billions of years ago when the entire universe was created can have it's light found and somehow captured to create a visual image on something. If it is the case that the Big Bang created our universe, then the light from it is at least on the border of where the universe "ends" and is getting progressively farther and farther away, which is already overwhelming in distance.

So virtually nothing is explained still.
 

Twitch

Registered Member
Best I could find in the article is this quote:

"But now gravitational waves can be used as well. They could potentially take a census of black-hole mergers, spot the collisions of ultra-dense neutron stars, probe the inner dynamics of exploding stars and discover theoretical “cosmic strings” left over from the big bang."

So I guess it's more theoretical than anything else, but these "cosmic strings" are what's from the Big Bang.

From the Wikipedia on Cosmic Strings:

"Cosmic strings are hypothetical 1-dimensional topological defects which may have formed during a symmetry breakingphase transition in the early universe when the topology of the vacuum manifold associated to this symmetry breaking was not simply connected."

This stuff is way over my head, I can't even begin to explain it.
 

Major

4 legs good 2 legs bad
V.I.P.
None of that explains how something that happened multiple billions of years ago when the entire universe was created can have it's light found and somehow captured to create a visual image on something. If it is the case that the Big Bang created our universe, then the light from it is at least on the border of where the universe "ends" and is getting progressively farther and farther away, which is already overwhelming in distance.

So virtually nothing is explained still.
I recommend doing research on the cosmic microwave background if you're interested in this subject. I wouldn't be able to give a very good explanation as to how it works, but it's the thermal radiation leftover from the Big Bang and is the oldest light in the universe.

 
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