Ripples in space from black holes that collided billions of light years from Earth have been detected for the third time, researchers said Thursday.
The ripples – called gravitational waves – were predicted by Albert Einstein more than a century ago. The first set was detected in September 2015.
They’re caused when colossal celestial objects crash together and then merge – a cataclysmic event that sets off vibrations through space and across time.
The latest gravitational waves were spotted Jan. 4, 2017, by twin lasers in Louisiana and Washington.
The lasers picked up the vibrations of two black holes that were 20 and 30 times bigger than the sun before they hurtled toward one another and merged into a massive black hole.
The event is significant for gravitational-wave astronomy, which scientists are developing to learn how the universe formed.
“We’re really moving from novelty to a new observational science,” said Massachusetts Institute of Technology astrophysicist David Shoemaker.
Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves in 1916.
Research on the latest set of gravitational waves were published by a team of 1,000 scientists in the journal Physical Review Letters.
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