WASHINGTON (AP) — In an announcement that electrified the world of astronomy, scientists said Thursday that they have finally detected gravitational waves, the ripples in the fabric of space-time that Einstein predicted a century ago.
Some scientists likened the breakthrough to the moment Galileo took up a telescope to look at the planets.
The discovery of these waves, created by violent collisions of massive celestial objects, excites astronomers because it opens the door to a new way of observing the cosmos. For them, it's like turning a silent movie into a talkie because these waves are the soundtrack of the universe.
"Until this moment we had our eyes on the sky and we couldn't hear the music," said Columbia University astrophysicist Szabolcs Marka, a member of the discovery team. "The skies will never be the same."
An all-star international team of astrophysicists used a newly upgraded and excruciatingly sensitive $1.1 billion set of twin instruments known as the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, or LIGO, to detect a gravitational wave from the crash of two black holes 1.3 billion light-years from Earth.