Scientists made an extraordinary announcement today - for the first time, ripples known as gravitational waves have been observed in the fabric of space-time.
The discovery of gravitational waves confirms a major prediction of Albert Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity, and opens an unprecedented new window onto the cosmos. "With this discovery, we humans are embarking on a marvelous new quest: the quest to explore the warped side of the universe," said LIGO co-founder Kip Thorne.
引力波的发现验证了爱因斯坦1915年提出的广义相对论的一个重要预言，并且为探索宇宙打开了一扇全新的窗户。LIGO联合创始人Kip Thorne 称：“有了这项发现，我们人类要开启一项非凡的新探索： 探索宇宙的弯曲面。”
However, the question on everybody’s lips was - does this mean time travel is now possible? Sadly, the answer is no. "It brings us a much deeper understanding of how warp space-time behaves when it is extremely warped," says Thorne. "I don’t think it’s going to bring us any closer to being able to do time travel. I wish it would, but that’s a different direction."
The gravitational waves were detected by scientists at the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) on 14 September 2015. They said the gravitational waves were produced during the final fraction of a second of the merger of two black holes to produce a single, more massive spinning black hole.
This collision of two black holes had been predicted but never observed. Based on the observed signals, LIGO scientists estimate that the black holes for this event were about 29 and 36 times the mass of the sun, and the event took place 1.3 billion years ago.
About 3 times the mass of the sun was converted into gravitational waves in a fraction of a second - with a peak power output about 50 times that of the whole visible universe.