Researchers spotted visible-light evidence for one of astronomy's most elusive targets, gravity waves, located in the orbit of a pair of dead stars. Ripples in space-time, first predicted by Einstein, were previously thought to be in radio-wave sources.
At the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's Laboratory for High Energy Astrophysics, a new research group is devoting their collective effort to understanding and detecting gravitational waves. Scientists are creating computer programs to model gravitational waves that will be detected by a new NASA satellite, called LISA.
Albert Einstein's 1916 general theory of relativity considered gravitational waves an extremely significant viewpoint, seeing space as a pliable construct. He considered the gravity of massive objects as a force that would warp effectively, describing how space-time is affected by mass.
LISA detects gravitational-wave induced strains in space-time by measuring changes of the separation between fiducial masses in three spacecraft 5 million kilometers apart.
BBC reports that to actually catch sight of an actual gravity wave was extremely difficult, as the effects of the waves were too small to be measured with Earth-like experiments. But the Universe provides an unlimited laboratory that allows measurements regarding the indirect effects of gravity waves.
The newly found orbits of two white dwarf stars, seen to be orbiting one another approximately 3,000 light years away, has proved to researchers that gravity waves can be seen. Any two massive objects, such as the dead stars, that orbit one one another are able to emit gravitational waves.
Universe Today stated in their related article that locked in a spiraling orbital embrace, the super-dense remains of two dead stars are giving astronomers the evidence needed to confirm one of Einstein’s predictions about the Universe.