Gravitational waves have been discovered

Discussion in 'World News & Debates' started by Eutychius, Feb 11, 2016.

  1. Eutychius

    Eutychius Moderator

  2. TwoHourMotel

    TwoHourMotel Well-Known Member

    This was pretty much inevitable. Also don't we already build things and make models assuming that gravitational waves existed? So I don't see how this will change much for the time being. Pretty cool though, hooray for science!
  3. Eutychius

    Eutychius Moderator

    Not exactly, it depends on how you refer to the model proposed. Predictions aren't always an accurate depiction of the subject at hand that we are trying to test better.

    For example, the theoretical prediction of the Higgs boson was very precise and there was a proper framework to detect it. Gravitational waves are not one singular thing with a specialized role in the theoretical model.

    It's actually a pretty big deal for astronomy and astrophysics. Also, practical model will now probably allow us to fully describe them and use it as a starting point to expand relativity.

    String theory, the efforts to unify gravity in the standard model etc are all affected by a degree.
  4. Arcana_Arcanus

    Arcana_Arcanus Well-Known Member

    Gravitational waves have been already indirectly discovered in 1993. While a pretty significant discovery, it will have very little use apart from astrophysics, where you can now potentially use these super laser interferometers to get more insight on objects with a big mass but very little EM radiation (read - blackholes). I'd say, this is a triumph of engineering, but for a theoretical physics? Not so much, it only so much strengthens the already rock-solid base of GRT.
  5. Petique

    Petique Well-Known Member

    I would really like to comment something smart but my level of physics knowledge is somewhere on par with a neanderthal.
  6. Eutychius

    Eutychius Moderator

    Precisely. This new discovery will be pivotal to gaining more information about interesting phenomena we have trouble explaining in full right now. It's a monumental step forward. Especially since gravitational waves also have inherently more information than light and can tell us more about the source.

    In hindsight, definitely not. In the long term, I'm sure experimental data can be a great starting point to expand on existing theoretical models.

  7. JicktheDog

    JicktheDog Well-Known Member

    BTW... What's the significance of it's discovery?
  8. Ety

    Ety Well-Known Member

    Up to this point, large majority of information we received from outer space was carried by electromagnetic radiation (light) and since 90% of stuff in the Universe is literally invisible (not to mention light is also blocked by other objects), it pretty much limited us in learning what's actually out there.

    For instance, we will finally be able to see deeper into Universe's past, beyond the time when the cosmic microwave background radiation formed 300 mil years after BB. We will also be able to detect new planets more directly (once we get sensitive enough detectors, of course) and most importantly, we will finally reveal dark matter.

    Recently there was a proposed assumption of a 9th planet, but it can't be seen since it doesn't emit nor reflect any light. With the technology of detecting gravitational waves emitted by massive objects, that becomes no longer an issue. With powerful enough detectors, we could pinpoint its exact location in the Solar system.
  9. TwoHourMotel

    TwoHourMotel Well-Known Member

    Here it is explained to you in meme form directly from 9gag

    ---------- Post added at 03:30 AM ---------- Previous post was at 03:24 AM ----------

    I recall reading that the reason we haven't detected this 9th planet was because it's orbital path and distance from our planet was too far and slow for us to notice.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2016
  10. enrico.swagolo

    enrico.swagolo Well-Known Member

    This is great. Now, how is it going to end poverty and hunger here on sinful Earth?
  11. Z01d

    Z01d Well-Known Member

    Interesting but I would withhold judgment until there are more events and similar results from other collaborations. We don't really want another "neutrinos are faster than light thing".

    I wouldn't call it discovery of the century as this seems more like a Higgs story where it was widely accepted but was lacking final confirmation.

    My knowledge of GR is fairly limited so I don't know the significance of this. I would maybe care more if this could give a prediction for a graviton on a measurable scale and not a GUT scale.
  12. Ety

    Ety Well-Known Member

    We can already see much smaller objects and objects farther away just fine (like neutron stars for example). Distance is the issue yes, but because of large distance from the Sun the planet doesn't reflect any significant amount of sunlight, hence we can't observe it directly. The telescope they will be using to detect the planet is actually an infrared telescope, because astronomers hope that the planet has a warm interior, causing it to radiate some light in infrared spectrum.

    But the biggest problem is where to actually point the telescope. It's not exactly like finding a needle in a haystack. It's like being in the haystack and then trying to find the needle.
  13. RisaStoleMyHart

    RisaStoleMyHart Well-Known Member

    love these videos

    Also liked the ELI5 version while i was browsing Reddit.

    credit u/loljetfuel
  14. Eutychius

    Eutychius Moderator

    Well, that's what people said about CERN several decades ago and one of the things that spawned from it was the Internet itself.

    So, how is it going to end poverty and hunger? Probably by providing you the means to write about it online.

    Common misconception. There was never an official report on that, only the collected data. The process before publishing results is very rigorous and it is there that the case was dismissed. The media always manages to blow things out of proportion.

    Not exactly (kind of explained in my other post above). Also, the fact we have now detected them is a huge deal and LIGO will continue to improve and utilize these properties.

    Also, it's important to note that the discovery itself is not so much about the direct confirmation (which is huge in itself and warrants a Nobel prize asap), but also the new age of cosmology and astronomy that are now provided with a great new tool.

    I'm afraid this has little to do with particle physics, but hey, one can dream. CERN is still working on various projects including that.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2016
  15. Z01d

    Z01d Well-Known Member

    The neutrino thing was their own fault. They published plots that showed neutrinos which were faster than light just to find out later that some plug at the LHC wasn't connected properly.

    It's still a cool discovery but there are a lot of other groups doing this kind of research so I would prefer to be more cautious with statements. It is how ever a promising concept for astronomy as it's not as convoluted as spectroscopy.
  16. Blarrg

    Blarrg Well-Known Member

    Great discovery, but I'm assuming a lot of astrophysicists have already used the existence of gravitational waves as an assumption for what they do. This won't change much in terms of theory, I assume; but if our sensors are strong enough we can most definitely begin to confirm our already existing theories and build upon those in the future.

    At best we can begin to create a stronger link between the quantum world and the general relativity world.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 13, 2016
  17. F.E.A.R.0

    F.E.A.R.0 Well-Known Member

    Great news, but I think they were discovered before tho.

    I'm not gonna say anything about Gravitational waves since I've barely researched about it.

    Now the only thing left is the theory for White Wholes to be proven.
  18. DrFrank_

    DrFrank_ Well-Known Member

    CMIIW but "gravity affects time" yes or no?
  19. Ety

    Ety Well-Known Member

    Gravity is the result of massive objects curving spacetime, so yes. The closer you are to center of gravity, the slower time passes for you relative to other observers.

    Is there something you're implying here?
  20. DrFrank_

    DrFrank_ Well-Known Member


    No I just wanted to see if I understood this right.