On 3 October of 2017, in what the prestigious Royal Swedish Academy described simply as “a discovery that shook the world”, three Americans were awarded that year’s Nobel Prize in Physics “for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves”, waves famously predicted by Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity 105 years ago. This historic discovery has established a new branch of astronomy: “Gravity Wave Astronomy”.
In this video, Dr. James Daly of Astronomy For Change hosts an event that brings this cosmic first to the public.
On 17 August of 2017, the optical counterpart to a gravity wave event was observed occurring in a galaxy long ago and far, far away. At a time when some would argue was the peak of the Age of Dinosaurs, when mammals were small, demure creatures hiding in the shadows of these great creatures who remained the dominant species on the planet for 135 million years, 135 million year ago, 134 million years before man’s distant ancestors walked the plains and jungles of Africa and Europe, two neutron stars, locked together in a veritable death spiral, came together and merged. This merger resulted in a stellar explosion known as a “KiloNova”, an exotic, new classification and genre of object in stellar evolution introduced in 2010 to describe a stellar blast whose output is approximately 1,000 times that of a nova. On 17 August of 2017 we observed that event as it occurred 135 million years ago in NGC-4993, an elliptical galaxy 135 million light years distant in the constellation Hydra.
Imagination is more important than knowledge
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