Abstract

OBSERVATION OF GRAVITATIONAL WAVES FROM A BINARY BLACK HOLE MERGER – DAWN OF A NEW ASTRONOMY

Benno Willke
for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration

Physicist
Address: Max-Planck-Institut für Gravitationsphysik (Albert-Einstein-Institut) and Leibniz Universität Hannover, Callinstraße 38, 30167 Hannover, Germany
E-mail: benno.willke@aei.mpg.de

Abstract: For the first time, scientists have directly detected gravitational waves. Gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of spacetime as predicted by Einstein's general theory of relativity. Even though gravitational waves can carry enormous amounts of energy, they cause only tiny effects on earth such that it took 100 years from prediction to detection. The merger of two stellar-mass black holes approximately 1.3 billion years ago was identified as the source of the detected gravitational waves. This discovery supports Einstein’s theory in the dynamic extreme-gravity regime, demonstrates the existence of binary stellar-mass black hole systems and opens up a new observation window to the universe.rn

Keywords: Gravitational Waves, Black Holes, Laserinterferometry