Skip to content

LIGO first detects gravitational waves


LIGO Detects Gravitational Waves

One hundred years after Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves, scientists have finally spotted these elusive ripples in space-time.

In a highly anticipated announcement, physicists with the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) revealed on 11 February that their twin detectors have heard the gravitational 'ringing' produced by the collision of two black holes about 400 megaparsecs (1.3 billion light-years) from Earth1, 2.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have detected gravitational waves,” David Reitze, the executive director of the LIGO Laboratory, said at a Washington DC press conference. “We did it!”

— Nature article on the first observation of gravitational waves

Einstein's gravitational waves found at last

Image taken from the Nature article linked below.
Discovering gravitational waves

The importance of the chirp recorded by LIGO (for Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) cannot be overstated. It strongly bolsters Einstein’s theory of relativity and it potentially changes the shape of scientific inquiry into the next century, opening whole new fields of astronomical observation. It testifies to the ingenuity and perseverance of the physicists who designed the equipment, and it vindicates an investment of about $1.1 billion over 40 years by the National Science Foundation.

— The Chirp Heard Across the Universe, opinion article on The New York Times

The Chirp Heard Across the Universe

What the discovery of gravitational waves means | Allan Adams



No comments avaliable.



Published in 12/04/2019

Updated in 19/02/2021

All events in the topic Scientific developments:

29/05/1919Eddington ExpeditionEddington Expedition
10/04/2019 • 10:00:00The first image of a black hole is presented to the publicThe first image of a black hole is presented to the public
05/04/2017The telescope first aims at M87 galaxy center
28/04/2017Katie Bouman's TED Talk
04/11/191525/11/1915Einstein submits his papers on the General Theory of RelativityEinstein submits his papers on the General Theory of Relativity
01/01/1781Discovery of the M87 galaxyDiscovery of the M87 galaxy
01/01/196501/01/1967First developments of very long baseline interferometry (VLBI)
01/01/2009Creation of the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT)
27/11/1783John Michell first imagined "black holes"John Michell first imagined "black holes"
22/12/1915Karl Schwarzschild solves Einstein's equationsKarl Schwarzschild solves Einstein's equations
01/01/1995Existence of black holes is confirmed
11/03/1968Shapiro time delayShapiro time delay
01/01/1978First successful mm-VLBI observations
01/01/19941.3 mm VLBI observations between IRAM telescopes
11/01/1995 • 18:35:00Tremendous Mass Concentration in Strange Galaxy Revealed by VLBATremendous Mass Concentration in Strange Galaxy Revealed by VLBA
01/01/2003VLBI observations at 147 GHz
04/05/2011Gravity Probe B confirms frame dragging
11/02/2016LIGO first detects gravitational wavesLIGO first detects gravitational waves
12/04/2019Katie Bouman's talk at Caltech