Analysis of the gravitational waves - ripples in the fabric of spacetime - suggests they originated from a system of two black holes, each with the mass of about 30 Suns, that gravitationally drew closer to each other.

The dense objects whipped up to nearly the speed of light before colliding, sending out a stupendous release of gravitational wave energy that eventually reached the Earth, 1.5 billion light years away.

Gravitational waves -- a major prediction of Einstein's 1915 general theory of relativity -- that carry information about their dramatic origins and about the nature of gravity that cannot be obtained from elsewhere, were detected on September 14, 2015 by both of the twin (LIGO) detectors, located in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington.

The LIGO observatories were conceived, built and are operated by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The panel discussed how studying gravitational waves will push Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity--which originally predicted their existence almost exactly a century ago--to its limits, while revolutionising our understanding of the most violent events in the universe.

The frequency of these waves that LIGO is designed to catch are actually in the audible range for humans.

Accordingly, the signal LIGO received of the black hole merger was played on speakers to audiences of eager scientists.

 

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