Meet Gravitational waves – Ripples in Spacetime
What do gravitational waves do..one of the biggest and most intresting question of our time….1.3 billion light years away in a galaxy, On 14 September 2015, 9:50:45 GMT, two massive black holes, one 36 times and other 29 times heavier than sun violently merged in each other. A new giant black hole was created with 62 solar masses and this super merger released more than 50 times the power of all the stars in the observable universe combined. Imagine what would have happened to nearby starts and planets..Or the stars of that galaxy would have scattered buy such strong force.
The mass of new black hole should be equal to 65 Solar masses (36+29=65) . But it was 62 only! Did you wondered where 3 solar masses gone? The remaining 3 Solar Mass is released in space, infect it shook the space fabric itself and created a giant ripple in Space-time itself – now we call it a Gravitational Wave.
Scientists detected another incident on 17 August 2017; two Neutron Stars merged in each other and created ripples of Gravitational Waves in space-time fabric.
But what do gravitational waves do? or what mysteries of the universe they can unlock?.
How gravitational waves are made
Throw a stone in the pond and you can create ripples in the pond…But our big pond of spacetime is extremely stiff, it is amalgamation of three dimensional space and time..Only massive..Supermassive movements like Black holes merging can produce reasonably detectable ripples of gravitational waves….smaller and lighter object also shake this fabric and creates gravitational waves, but the less the mass of the object lesser the effect and it is impossibly hard to detect these small ripples.
How they detected Gravitational waves
Well, Gravitational waves are not new concept, 100 Years ago Albert Einstein predicted the existence of Gravitational waves in his General Theory of Relativity in November 1915, at the time when the world was busy in World War I. He again predicted the idea in 1936 with much more confidence.
Science of Detecting Gravitational waves
When Gravitational waves pass through space they alternatively squeeze it in one direction and stretch it in perpendicular direction. So it changes the length of an object by only less than diameter of a molecule or so.
They did not use alien technology to detect gravitational waves, just Lasers and mirrors…Scientists have designed a very finite four kilometer long ruler made by Laser rays. Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) situated at Hanford in the state of Washington with collaboration with European VIRGO Santo Stefano a Macerata, Cascina Italy worked together to detect the gravitational waves.
It consists of two 1.2 meter diameter tubes, which form an L-shape down which a megawatt of laser light travels in a vacuum. At each end the light bounces off from mirrors, suspended by glass. LIGO splits laser light into two beams and sends it down each arm, where mirrors bounce it back to re-combine. If the crests of the two waves coincide, the light detected is boosted. If the crest of one coincides with the trough of the other, the light is cancelled out. Consequently, LIGO is sensitive to changes in the length of one arm relative to the other of a fraction of the wavelength of light.
on 14 September 2015, the rulers repeatedly expanded and contracted by a hundred-thousandth the diameter of an atom marking the first ever direct detection of gravitational waves.
What do gravitational waves do?
They just pass calmly in space…Gravitational waves can not poses any kind of harm to earth unless the source is too near…or in our milky way galaxy itself.
But we can use them, Imagine what universal mysteries we can solve by them.
Big Bang gravitational wave
The biggest mystery of the universe is Big bang, How this universe came to existence… What happened to the Gravitational wave that spread by the Big Bang. There must be a space-time ripple probably or surely the biggest Gravitational wave Universe ever produced. Where it is now?..Can we detect it?..
(A giant gravitational wave would have been generated at the point of time when Big Bang happened and inflation of spacetime started.)
The scientists are started work in this direction, they are observing the radiation left over after the Big Bang. If the Big Bang has made gravitational waves, scientist expecting twist and swirls in polarization of cosmic background radiation. They are conducting Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization (BICEP), series of experiments at the South Pole.
Gravitational waves can prove Neutron stars can also produce heavy elements.
Until now we all have assumed that the heavy element like oxygen, nitrogen and metals are product of a supernove but now Gravitational waves proved that these heavy metals can also be made during colliding of two Neutron Stars.
Wonders of Gravitational waves
There are several universal puzzles that Gravitational waves can solve or can give birth to new ones.
Neutrino and Photon also travels at the speed of light (light itself is photon)..What impact Gravitational waves does on Neutrinos coming towards us?…Both Gravitational waves and Neutrino travels with speed of light, what if one poor Neutrino or Photon stuck in Gravitational waves…..travelling along with such a companion who are stretching spacetime itself.…does Gravitational waves will change the energy of Neutrino and Photon?
It would be easy to detect Gravitational waves if we solve this Neutrino puzzle.
What effects Gravitational waves imposes on other small particles? What effect it does on fusion and fission reaction because it can change the shape of nucleus of an atom for fraction of time, when it passes through it…
Can Gravitational waves Change the path of a small particle like Neutron or Neutrino..
Can a gravitational lense magnify a coming Gravitational Wave.
Can we amplify the Gravitational waves to detect much smaller ones, if we can achieve that we could detect Exoplanets easily by their movement ..Because Exoplanets also makes ripples of Gravitational waves …although very very weak …but they are there to be detected.
These and many more questions are to be answered by scientist, This wonderful discovery of Gravitational Waves has stated a new era in science and understanding the Universe.
Fiber of Consciousness
Now at the end let me drag you in another dimension….Heavier the object the bigger the ripples in spacetime…Now Imagine there is a fiber of Consciousness (may be who knows there might be one)….Fiber of Life itself….Like the fiber of Spacetime… Now our Mind our Each thought should make a ripple in that fiber of Consciousness…Bigger the thought..bigger the belief …Stronger the ripple….