A triumph of science: first detection of the gravitational wave

Gravitational waves detected 100 years after Einstein’s prediction – video folows

gravity-wave-space

American University contributes to noise-reduction technology in LIGO detectors

From AMERICAN UNIVERSITY

For the first time, scientists have observed ripples in the fabric of spacetime called gravitational waves, arriving at the earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe. This confirms a major prediction of Albert Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity and opens an unprecedented new window onto the cosmos.

Gravitational waves carry information about their dramatic origins and about the nature of gravity that cannot otherwise be obtained. Physicists have concluded that the detected gravitational waves were produced during the final fraction of a second of the merger of two black holes to produce a single, more massive spinning black hole. This collision of two black holes had been predicted but never observed.

The gravitational waves were detected on Sept. 14, 2015 at 5:51 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (9:51 UTC) by both of the twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors, located in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington, USA. The LIGO Observatories are funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and were conceived, built, and are operated by Caltech and MIT. The discovery, accepted for publication in the journal Physical Review Letters, was made by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (which includes the GEO600 Collaboration and the Australian Consortium for Interferometric Gravitational Astronomy) and the Virgo Collaboration using data from the two LIGO detectors.

American University and partners fine-tune optics

American University is a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. AU currently is the sole university in Washington, D.C. to participate in LIGO and is led by Gregory Harry, assistant professor of physics.

“The detection of gravitational waves marks the beginning of a new way of observing the universe,” said Harry, one of the authors of the detection paper published in Physical Review Letters. “Now that physicists have evidence that LIGO detectors can detect gravitational waves, it is exciting to think about how much we will likely learn about the nature of gravity.”

At AU, researchers work to fine-tune the optical materials used in the LIGO detectors. Mirrors used in the detectors have reflective coatings. Over time, researchers realized the coatings limited the detectors’ sensitivity because of thermal vibrations. Harry’s team helped to develop improved coatings that allowed for greater sensitivity. Experimental research by Harry’s team will continue to focus on new and improved ways to further reduce noise.

Since 2011, more than 10 AU undergraduate students have participated in LIGO research at AU, including two who contributed research to the gravitational waves discovery and are now physics Ph.D. candidates working on LIGO at universities in Scotland and New York. The AU LIGO group is also involved in public outreach and is developing an “Optics Olympiad,” which will bring D.C. public schools students to campus to share in the excitement of LIGO research.

American University is proud to have worked with many outstanding scientists at other universities to have brought LIGO to the sensitivity to make this detection. The list includes Georgia Tech, California State University-Fullerton, Columbia University, Stanford University, University of Oregon, University of Maryland, University of Michigan, Carleton College, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Penn State University, Hobart & William Smith Colleges, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Trinity University, and Whitman College.

Teamwork leads to discovery

The discovery of gravitational waves was made possible by the enhanced capabilities of Advanced LIGO, a major upgrade that increases the sensitivity of the instruments compared to the first-generation LIGO detectors, enabling a large increase in the volume of the universe probed–and the discovery of gravitational waves during its first observation run. The U.S. National Science Foundation leads in financial support for Advanced LIGO. Funding organizations in Germany (Max Planck Society), the U.K. (Science and Technology Facilities Council, STFC) and Australia (Australian Research Council) also have made significant commitments to the project. Several of the key technologies that made Advanced LIGO so much more sensitive have been developed and tested by the German UK GEO collaboration. Several universities designed, built, and tested key components for Advanced LIGO: The Australian National University, the University of Florida, Stanford University, Columbia University of New York, and Louisiana State University.

LIGO research is carried out by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC), a group of more than 1,000 scientists from universities around the United States and in 14 other countries. More than 90 universities and research institutes in the LSC develop detector technology and analyze data; approximately 250 students are strong contributing members of the collaboration. The LSC detector network includes the LIGO interferometers and the GEO600 detector. The GEO team includes scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute, AEI), Leibniz Universität Hannover, along with partners at the University of Glasgow, Cardiff University, the University of Birmingham, other universities in the United Kingdom, and the University of the Balearic Islands in Spain. Significant computer resources have been contributed by the AEI Atlas cluster, the LIGO Laboratory, Syracuse University, and the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.

LIGO was originally proposed as a means of detecting these gravitational waves in the 1980s by Rainer Weiss, professor of physics, emeritus, from MIT; Kip Thorne, Caltech’s Richard P. Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics, emeritus; and Ronald Drever, professor of physics, emeritus, also from Caltech. Virgo research is carried out by the Virgo Collaboration, consisting of more than 250 physicists and engineers belonging to 19 different European research groups: 6 from Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in France; 8 from the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN) in Italy; 2 in the Netherlands with Nikhef; the WignervRCP in Hungary; the POLGRAW group in Poland and the European Gravitational Observatory (EGO), the laboratory hosting the Virgo detector near Pisa in Italy.

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To learn more about the discovery, visit the official LIGO Scientific Collaboration website at http://www.ligo.org

481 thoughts on “A triumph of science: first detection of the gravitational wave

  1. How many angels can dance on the point of a pin?

    Modern physics is sad commentary on the death of Empiricism.

    • For the first time, scientists have observed

      “Exciting,” indeed.

      What’s up with Phodges? Please explain yourself Madam or Sir.

      • What the scientists “observed” is a signal. They did not observe two black holes merging. They are interpreting the signal as a merger of two 30-solar-mass black holes spinning, merging, and ringing down in a fraction of a second. What’s more, this event supposedly happened over a billion light years away.

        We must keep in mind that supernovas produce gravitational waves according to Einstein’s theory and that there have been thousands of supernovas since LIGO observatories (on the ground and in space) have been in operation. Not a single gravitational wave from a supernova has been detected.

        We must also keep in mind that the LIGO observatory, including the space it resides in, the laser beam, and the path the laser beams traverse are all rooted in the fabric of space-time. When space-time ripples, so does everything else. What the LIGO experiment is trying to do, in effect, is change the path of a car in a movie by bending the movie screen.

        They are jumping too far ahead in their conclusions in claiming this is a gravitational wave that was detected. It may be, but a lot more research needs to be conducted before drawing any conclusions.

      • The LIGO principle is old physics. Accelerometers in your mobile phone use a LIGO like system
        – the tiny laser accelerometer in your mobile phone measures the warping of space time caused when you wave your mobile phone around. The accelerometer also detects the space time distortion caused by the Earth’s gravity, which is why the mobile phone always knows which way up it is.

        LIGO’s claim is to have made device so sensitive, it can detect warping of spacetime caused by distant cosmic events. That claim might be open to question – not the claim that laser interferometers can measure changes in space time.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accelerometer

      • Cell phones use simple 3-axis spring accelerometers etched in silicon, and they merely measure the local acceleration of gravity plus whatever acceleration you’re generating by waving it around or dropping it on the pavement. Laser accelerometers would be too large and expensive. There isn’t any warping of space-time other than the earth’s gravity, which is too uniform to measure locally.

        Mass curves space, but to generate waves, you have to move the mass. The earth warps the sun’s gravitational field as it orbits, but not much (only 1° in 24 hours) and at a snail’s pace cosmically. A supernova has much greater mass, but it’s still moving outward at only a few thousand km/sec, next to nothing relativistically, and it’s just a single pop at that.

        The suspected black holes were spinning around at a tremendous rate, alternating between tandem gravitational fields and side-by-side fields, and at the end were travelling near lightspeed before they popped out of the universe and left their fossil gravitational fields behind. Gravitational waves are generated by changes in gravitational fields. Supernovae may have the mass, but they don’t move it fast enough to reach a detectable level.

        The LIGO arms are long enough to span and detect a short ripple, but their orientation limits the direction they can watch.

      • In an electro-magnetic Universe, one tiny electro-magnetic pulse does not verify an observation of Einstein’s Gravitational Theory. To date, this same equipment can only detect gravity on Earth and in the solar system to a mere 19% reliability. If they can’t find it here on Earth, well…….? This program needed a “success”, as all do, even if success is perceived, to continue. Give a listen to Dr. Spolter. Be sure to listen to at least #3 in this series. Then ask yourself what is up with Phodges? http://youtu.be/T3pU5BT-lPY

      • The gold standard for wave form has historically been constructive and destructive interference. Besides references to “interferometers”, it is not clear from the press release level explanations that this standard has been met.

      • Electromagnetism has nothing whatsoever to do with gravitation, so detectors for one are unaffected by the other. The electromagnetic forces are much stronger than gravitational forces.

        For two electrons the Coulomb force repelling them is 41 orders of magnitude larger than the gravitational force attracting them.

        g

      • george e. smith: “Electromagnetism has nothing whatsoever to do with gravitation”

        Except that they are now apparently related by the speed of light. Light is a quantized (filtered), self propagating electric field. If it’s square is going to be common to mass and energy, gravity will be what, it’s square root as well?

      • There’s no laser LIGOmeter in anybody’s cell phone; no laser either. The accelerometers that may be in your phone (none in mine) are simply a chunk of silicon that rattle if you shake it.

        Single crystal silicon is a very strong material, it’s closely related to diamond. You can etch very thin layers of it that support thicker and more massive layers, which then can move relative to the bulk of the silicon chunk, typically they twist. You can then build that as part of a parallel plate capacitor, so when it rattles the charge on the capacitor moves around, and gives electrical signals that relate to the mechanical motion of the slab that is supported by the thin bridges.

        By an accident of good luck in addition to clever design, you can build a microprocessor on the same piece of silicon. How convenient; why not use that microprocessor which isn’t doing anything much anyhow to calculate how much acceleration would cause that much electric charge movement.

        And in between time, you can be sending idiot text messages to anybody crazy enough to listen, while you look around to see if the traffic cops are watching you while you are driving.

        Where do people get these fanciful ideas, of how common toys work ??

        g

        PS it is very damn hard to integrate any kind of laser on to an integrated circuit and make it do anything useful.

        Silicon is an indirect band gap semiconductor and the chance of building a laser on a silicon chip, is about as remote as finding gravitational waves in your coffee cup.

        G

    • At last real science by real scientists. Something to believe in.
      Congratulations Albert Einstein and the wonderful people who made this possible.

      • I don’t believe in it, I don’t believe in black holes or two black holes or gravitational waves.
        I do believe that LIGO is a black hole for a $billion of taxpayers money. Of course they have to find something.

      • “I don’t believe in it, I don’t believe in black holes or two black holes or gravitational waves.” Or AGW?

      • Absolutely. In his time Einstein was a sceptic but his Relativity theory has turned out to be one of the most successful in the history of science. It has succeeded because, probably without exception, all the predictions made by the theory have been confirmed by empirical scientific observations, often to may decimal points of accuracy. The comparison with AGW is stark.

        The Daily Telegraph printed a piece by Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal who is, I believe, a fully paid-up global warming believer. He wrote:
        “It is not unknown for hyped-up scientific claims to be mistaken or exaggerated.I count myself a sceptic, but…”
        He calls himself a sceptic – how ironic! And his statement about hyped-up scientific claims is, sadly, so very true, though not in the way he probably meant it.

        So, in comparison with Relativity, how do the scientific predictions made by AGW compare with scientific observation?
        AGW makes many predictions embodied in the climate models relating to future global warming, rainfall, changes in water vapour, the amount and sign of changes in globally emitted infra red, the global average ice extent and, of course, the infamous tropical hot spot.
        All of these predictions are completely refuted by the data. I’m not sure if a single significant long term prediction by AGW actually came true.
        If climate science had not been corrupted by money, politics and green extremism then AGW would have been killed off years ago and today our understanding of how the climate *really* works would have been greatly improved.
        Still, it is indeed very nice to see another branch of science working well. Presumably, at least for now, gravitational waves and the nature of space-time don’t offend the sensitivities of the Green Blob – but give it time!
        Chris

      • Einstein may have been skeptical about Planck’s assertion that BB radiation came in integral chunks whose energy was hF, F being the wave frequency , which evidently Planck asserted out of thin air, and found that it led to his previously empirical formula for the black body radiation spectrum.

        But it was Einstein himself who later on working on the Photo-electric effect declared that EM energy such as light only came in such integral chunks; i.e. photons.

        So far as I know, to this day, there is no form of classical Physics explanation for the photo-electric effect.

        You can calculate the energy density in an EM wave from Maxwell’s equations, and hence calculate how long it would take for a target such as an atom of known cross-section to collect enough energy from that wave to eject a photo-electron. Problem is that time increases the weaker the EM wave is.

        Yet photo-electric materials kick out an electron almost instantaneously, no matter how much you attenuate the EM wave. Only the number of electrons follows with the intensity of the EM wave.

        And the electron emission drops to zero even for strong waves, if the wavelength is too long.

        Einstein’s E = hF truly was the breakthrough in the PE effect.

        G

      • @
        “Einstein may have been skeptical about Planck’s assertion that BB radiation came in integral chunks whose energy was hF”

        I believe your comment is historically wrong, but is the prevailing urban legend. It was Planck who refused to believe the implications of his own work – that his black body radiation was inherently quantized – waves are continuous and can’t be quantized … everybody knows that! (consensus). Einstein stood as the “odd man out”, insisting that Planck’s work did in fact show the quantization of radiation in a bounded system.

        http://www.math.lsa.umich.edu/~krasny/math156_article_planck.pdf
        “Max Planck looked for a solution, during the course of which he was forced to introduce the notion of “energy quanta”. With the quantum hypothesis, a perfect match between theory and experiment was obtained. Voila! Quantum theory was born. The story is a myth, closer to a fairytale than to historical truth. ”

        “If Planck did not introduce the hypothesis of energy quanta in 1900, who did? Lorentz and even Boltzmann have been mentioned as candidates, but a far stronger case can be made that it was Einstein who first recognized the essence of quantum theory. Einstein’s remarkable contributions to the early phase of quantum theory are well known and beyond dispute. Most famous is his 1905 theory of light quanta (or photons), but he also made important contributions in 1907 on the quantum theory of the specific heats of solids and in 1909 on energy fluctuations. There is no doubt that the young Einstein saw deeper than Planck, and that Einstein alone recognized that the quantum discontinuity was an essential part of Planck’s theory of black-body radiation. Whether this makes Einstein “the true discoverer of the quantum discontinuity”, as claimed by the French historian of physics Olivier Darrigol, is another matter. What is important is that Planck’s role in the discovery of quantum theory was complex and somewhat ambiguous. To credit him alone with the discovery, as is done in some physics textbooks, is much too simplistic. Other physicists, and Einstein in particular, were crucially involved in the creation of quantum theory. The “discovery” should be seen as an extended process and not as a moment of insight communicated on a particular day in late 1900. “

    • How many angels can dance on the point of a pin?

      The theological answer would be as many as god deems necessary at the time. Neither more nor less.

      • The theological answer to that question depends on the theological answer to the question “what kind of ‘stuff’ are angels made of?” If it’s essentially physical, zero or one. If it’s completely non-material, an infinite number. Gradations would be in between. That was the point of it originally.

    • I agree, when you see the universe through a set of conventions, no deviations can be made from expected results.

      A huge hydrogen gas cloud passed the alleged super massive black hole in the centre of the Milky way recently, and it was not consumed, it passed right by.

      The stars orbiting that same alleged SM black hole never show any light distortion or scattering as they pass in close orbit, which should be impossible according to Einstein, well actually Einstein thought the idea of black holes was completely wrong.

      Black holes only exist because someone divided by 0. Lets be totally honest here. The theory has been modified but it took decades for the mainstream geniuses to accept you cannot divide by zero, and that infinity is not a number, you can’t use in calculations of physical phenomenon. A hyperbole on an axis sure that is OK.

      We have not seen a black hole, no one has ever found one. So that irks me when people talk of them and build theories on their effects, forgetting the black hole they are using for the basis of their study exists only in mathematics.

      To provide an example, Hawking said the singularity at the very start of the universe was infinitely dense and infinitely hot and 0 volume.

      Yes this brilliant mathematician, left the reservation, and people loved it! He abandoned the laws of physics, 0 volume in 3 dimensional space is nothing but a coordinate, logical not physical. Let along stuffing all of the mass of the universe in there.

      Both hawking and Einstein state you cannot create energy out of nothing, but that is exactly what they did with the big bang and dark energy\matter.

      There should be trillions of Einstein rings in our skies, yet there are ? 12 or 15 candidates for Einstein rings? My above about the SM black hole, shows that Einstein rings do not exist, and what we are seeing are most likely similar effects to when the sunlight hits ice crystals in our own atmosphere creating sundogs. Refraction not bending.

      Lastly, given Einstein states gravity is geoces in space time, then by that same reasoning, every object will bend light as it is not Newton’s force that bends light. This means there should be a detectable disturbance of light around every object, other than refraction that we usually see.

      Remember the mass is irrelevant, if there is a mass it affects space time supposedly, so every object must affect the path light travels. Yet there has been no such discovery.

      • It’s amazing what can be done with mathematical equations when you use the miracle of renormalization when that that “0” pops up and then eventually this finding
        leads to a scientific dogma.

      • Bingo Earl, that was kinda my point.

        Black Holes, Dark Energy, Dark Matter, etc…

        Empiricism has died a long slow death in our culture. Few today can distinguish between theory and reality, the map and the territory. The vast majority of both lay and professionals simply accept as dogma whatever small sample of research is bought, paid for, and propagandised.

        At least folks who work in quantum physics don’t try to say what is physically happening. Sure some folks try to sell one interpretation or another, but for the most part they realize that they are working with mathematical models that make predictions. And this is the physics upon which our civilisation is built. That and Electrical Engineering. Almost nothing of value has come out of the mess that is classical physics today.

        Classical Physics went of the rails after Gauss, Weber, Faraday, etc.

  2. So the very same interferometer principle Michelson and Morley used in 1887 that led (eventually) to Einstein’s 1916 prediction of gravitational waves turns out to be the crucial method leading to the detection of such waves exactly a century later.

      • From the answer here http://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/235356/how-is-it-that-distortions-in-space-can-be-measured-as-distances/235487#235487

        “It’s quite true that a change in the metric does stretch light (i.e. red or blue shift it) but remember that the lasers are continually shining new light into the arms. The length of the arms is 4 km so the light makes the round trip in about 27 microseconds. However the highest frequency of the detected wave was 250 hz, making the shortest period 4 milliseconds. So the length of the arms is changing more than a factor of a hundred times more slowly than the light is measuring that length. The end result is that the frequency of the light is not affected to any significant extent by the gravitational wave, and that’s why it can detect the change in the length of the arms.”

    • Well The MM experiment perhaps led to the Special Theory of Relativity, which doesn’t have anything to do with gravitation.

      So I don’t think you can claim that MM leads to gravitational waves.

      G

  3. I had to read the article 2 times. There is a whole lot of collaborators getting their names out in THAT article. So and so collaborating with whosit etc etc…blah blah

    I want to know HOW they did it.

    I want to know the underlying principle of physics and detection methods used. I’ll watch the videos next.

    Can anyone write a synopsis?

      • Exactly. There is a confusing cocktail of fact, speculation and self-aggrandizement. I don’t think they have a clue about the source of the pulse or how far away (how old) it was. It was a single event. Gravity waves from the Higgs field in the CERN collider?

      • PW, this time probably wrong skwpticism.. The LIGO experiment has been expalined elsewhere. The new sensirivity enhancements have been explained elsewhere. Ans now we have gotten unambiguous results at both sensors, seperated correctly by the spped of light. QED.

      • They didn’t even see the 2 black holes either by proxy or directly. This sounded like another of those “lets invent a scenario which will bring in more funds”

    • VERY basic explanation.

      Two tunnels that are the same length, at right angles to each other. Shoot a laser beam down each one, bouncing them off of mirrors at the other end. When they come back, use other mirrors to “merge” the two beams.

      Now, when everything is undisturbed (by gravity, vibrations in the ground, etc.) the two beams will end up being in exact phase.

      When a gravity wave comes through, it “shrinks” and/or “expands” the two tunnels, per Einstein’s theory – and by different amounts (unless it comes in at EXACTLY the 45 degree angle, very unlikely). So the distance traveled by the laser beams now differs – and when you recombine them, they are slightly out of phase. (The amount that they are out of phase tells you the direction and strength of the gravity wave.)

      Oh, actually, come to think of it, the “undisturbed” state of the detector should leave you with the beams exactly out of phase (resulting in a “zero” signal). Much easier to detect a change from zero than from full strength.

      The devil, of course, is in the details – see the bit about ground vibrations above. The tiniest tremor, natural or man-made, produces a “signal” that is far greater than the gravity wave you are trying to detect. We’re probably talking angstrom-level sensitivity here…

      • That is helpful. Thank-you.

        but I am thinking that the blink of an eyelid would create sufficient noise to shake the mirrors 1/1000 of a proton wide.

      • The devil is of course, in getting to an undisturbed situation. Resolving a gravitational wave signal from many other perturbations that could cause the length of one arm or the other to change. My Ph.D work was in the field of optical coating, specifically losses due to absorbtance, so I was very interested to read the improvements to sensitivity was due to improving the coatings.

        To characterize the sample coating fully for reflectance and transmittance at normal incidence I used a photometer, and to remove any systematic errors caused by substrate and optical path differences, each wavelength data point was measured 16 times, covering all permutations of optical path. And my optical paths were at most a couple of meters long.

        So I greatly admire the ability to recover a gravitational wave signal from an interferometer with 4km long arms!

      • “According to Einstein’s theory, the distance between the mirrors will change by an infinitesimal amount when a gravitational wave passes by the detector. A change in the lengths of the arms smaller than one-ten-thousandth the diameter of a proton (10-19 meter) can be detected.”-http://www.sciencenewsline.com/news/2016021121020052.html

        I’m glad that they think they can remove the background noise from all the jackhammers, pile drivers, freight trains, seismic exploration, gravity bombs falling in Syria, snowflakes falling in Antarctica, volcanoes erupting in Kamchatka … color me skeptical that the attribution to a conjectured source (Black holes) is correct. Kudos on their claimed precision, but I understand that Einstein himself disbelieved in the possibility of black holes.

      • The way they combine the beams produces an interference fringe pattern. A shift in the phase of a beam shifts the fringe pattern.

      • “but I am thinking that the blink of an eyelid would create sufficient noise to shake the mirrors 1/1000 of a proton wide” (Paul Westhaver February 14, 2016 at 7:39 pm, https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/02/14/a-triumph-of-science-first-detection-of-the-gravitational-wave/comment-page-1/#comment-2145170)

        A blink of an eyelid, near one mirror, may, perhaps, create a huge detected signal. This signal was detected thousands of miles apart. Definitely not caused by an eyelid blink, nor by a butterfly wing flap.

    • I need more. I watched the videos and they are wanting.
      How does anyone know what the source of the pulse was and where it came from.?
      The detector is blind in the mutually orthogonal axis (vertical), right?
      Why doesn’t spacial distortion also, and simultaneously effect the laser. Light is attracted to gravity. Wouldn’t this null the response?
      I get the interferometry part.
      How is terrestrial motion nulled out?

      I have more questions…

      • Yeah, they didn’t talk much about error bars….
        The opportunity for confirmation bias on this one is massive.

        Not that I dispute Einstein, that’s a couple of order of magnitude beyond my brain level, but I’m not yet sold on this.

      • oh yeah… and judging by the line-up of “collaborators”, there are plenty-o-peeps wanting to be in on the Nobel Prize. I really am trying to suppress my innate skepticism but the numbers are so freaking small.

      • Paul just go to the LIGO site they have a full discussion of how the interference sources are removed by a very multilayered system which is both active and passive. Yes they have error bars on the results and yes the numbers are really small. There are funny stories on the LIGO site about employees riding loud motorcycles that they could detect. Most of the story of LIGO is about the fight to remove all sources of error they track the most amazing array of things.

      • I’m going to the LIGO in Louisiana this weekend for a tour (Public). The daughter of one of my High School friends is on staff there (Physics degree from Abilene Christian University and Louisiana State University), so I may get to understand it better. As was mentioned above, “Get thee hence and learn”, don’t just disparage what you do not understand.

      • Any direction that will be equal angles between the two arms will produce no signal. But that is a very small part of the entire spherical possibilities. (Actually, there is almost certainly a “cone” around each of these axes that will not produce a detectable signal. No idea of just how large that cone is; maybe it will be in the final paper.)

        Now, there are two detectors, not just the one. The delay between the two LIGO sites tells you the direction of the pulse. (But no idea of the distance – I will be interested when they get a third one up and running and have another event, when it will be possible to triangulate the actual source. Although the error bar on that is almost certainly going to be very large…)

      • ..Maybe their grant money was about to be cut off..how can we check, they have the only tools to measure what it is they are measuring !!

      • Hey, Marcus. Just posting this as a “good bye, for now.” I need a looong break from WUWT after just now reading Rud Istvan’s and Anthony’s gross mischaracterization of my (and some others’) only wanting an investigation and some answers about Justice Scalia’s death (see 2/14/16 Justice Scalia thread toward the bottom) as an assertion of a “conspiracy theory.” Not once did I assert or described a “conspiracy theory.” And yet, that is how my logical response to this situation was described.

        Take care, Marcus. I’ll be praying for you in the years to come.

        Your former WUWT ally for truth, but your pal, always,

        Janice

        P.S. I am not going to return here, so, if you reply to this, please don’t be hurt if I don’t respond.

      • Hey, Marcus. Just posting this as a “good bye, for now.” I need a looong break from WUWT after just now reading Rud Istvan’s and Anthony’s gross mischaracterization of my (and some others’) only wanting an investigation and some answers about Justice Scalia’s death (see 2/14/16 Justice Scalia thread toward the bottom) as an assertion of a “conspir@cy theory.” Not once did I assert or described a “conspir@cy theory.” And yet, that is how my logical response to this situation was described.

        Take care, Marcus. I’ll be praying for you in the years to come.

        Your former WUWT ally for truth, but your pal, always,

        Janice

        P.S. I am not going to return here, so, if you reply to this, please don’t be hurt if I don’t respond.

        {Second attempt using “@” in that word…}

      • Hello Janice,

        I noted your decision to leave WUWT thinking a comment was directed at you. it wasn’t. I hadn’t even seen your comment. In my comments admin window, I only see comments that need approval.

        Another comment, not published, but sent to the bit bucket, was what I was directing it at. It suggested the CIA killed Scalia on Obama’s orders. That’s the sort of crazy stuff we don’t need.

        I’m sorry you thought it was directed at you.

        Anthony

      • JM, I have no idea about what could have given offense as you state. If so, apologize. Please cite specifics so I can better understand, as surely did not intend to..
        I do not comment on nonsense, ever. A matter of personal policy not to play the warmunist game. See a couple of belated comments on the SLR thread for examples.
        Rebut false JPL ‘science’ and such, sure. Always specific and factual. Else, never even comment. Were you ‘spammed’?

      • @ Janice Moore

        Janice, I hope you will reconsider. Yours is one of the more rational voices here and you are always skeptical enough of the “accepted wisdom” to suit me. (not that I matter in the least)

        I did not read the thread in question due to the fact that my take would be misunderstood here no matter how I worded it. The very short version is that anytime a very important person to the state dies, there should be an investigation that is as open and transparent as possible. (the family’s privacy does need to be considered.

        A last thought is that I have learned over the decades that we don’t communicate with each other as well via text as we do in person. So much of the conversation stream is impacted via body language and tone of voice. Saying something with a big grin often means something very different from the written word. (not saying that happened to you, only using an example)

        I hope you will reconsider.

        ~ Mark

  4. There is a good ongoing discussion of this development at Lubos Motls blog, The Reference Frame http://motls.blogspot.com/ .
    It is a somewhat demanding read, no surprise as Motl is a Harvard theoretical physicist. He ran afoul there of political correctness and the global warming cult, so he is no longer at Harvard, but still a superb science observer/participant.

  5. And so……………….what will this discovery allow us to apply it to. Volcanic cycles on earth ? The past angles of our planet’s axis ? the life span of the Sun ? I want to share in the excitement…..How would Spielberg make this exciting to the rest of us?

    • @ jeff:

      IF gravitational waves have been detected (and we still await confirmation by independent research regardless of LIGO’s findings), and IF we can perfect the instrumentation and observational & data processing methodology (think of the current LIGO set-up as the rough equivalent of Galileo’s “telescope” vs. the Hubble Space Telescope), we will then be able to “see” high-mass/high-energy astronomical events no matter where they occur in the observable universe.

      For instance:

      * Much more precise measurements could theoretically be made of the amounts of energy released when giant stars burn out and then collapse, as well as a profile of the process over time. A detector 100x more sensitive than LIGO could theoretically detect every supernova of EVERY kind that happens within our time bubble, and differentiate between them in a way that current EM observations simply can’t.

      ** We will be able to “see” the merger of galactic nuclei (and many other events) that would otherwise be invisible due to their distance &/or obscuring interstellar dust & debris, since GW propagate regardless of the presence or lack of intervening material or radiation.

      *** Most exciting to me, if this method of GW detection is confirmed and can be fine-tuned, it is now theoretically possible to probe the distribution of mass INSIDE the event horizon of a black hole, because even though light does not escape, gravity clearly does. This could help us determine whether or not the objects we currently categorize as “black holes” truly ARE singularities, just another form of degenerate matter (e.g.), or perhaps a totally separate phenomenon that we as a species haven’t even pondered yet.

      It is also entirely possible that your idea of SUPER-sensitive seismology is also a potential use for the technology… again, IF the findings can be verified and validated.

  6. You seem only sceptical of scientific consensus when it comes to the climate issue Anthony.

    If these are gravity waves, why are they so un-sinewave-like and irregular? If they are created by orbiting black holes why does the envelope of the amplitude drop off to 20% of it’s original value? Black holes suddenly stop orbiting?

    Rough envelope in yellow is mine: http://i835.photobucket.com/albums/zz278/CarbonFooledYa/Gravity%20waves2_zpscezmgvwj.png

    Modern cosmology is one of the weakest areas of present science. Their explanations that include dark matter and dark energy are clearly epi-cycle-like patches on a failing Newton’s theory of gravity of attraction of mass for mass.

    To get rid of dark matter etc, all you have to do is accept that forces of repulsion, not just attraction, exist at cosmic scales — forces of electricity & magnetism. The electric plasma currents discovered in the last few decades in space aren’t for show. Why is that so hard for consensus-believers to understand?

    Space-time can not have ripples. Gravity is nothing to do with time and time is not a dimension. Einstein was wrong about light speed being seen as same from all reference frames, & therefore special relativity is also wrong.

    You have to understand that lying has become standard for most present-day scientists. They have to lie to gain more funding, prestige, career advancement, etc.

    Blind worship of scientists like Einstein & Newton is another prominent feature. It’s better to be sceptical than always accepting of these people and their consensuses.

    • You’re an ignorant fool. The signatures match the predicted waveforms for two black holes orbiting, colliding and coalescing into a single black hole. This is the scientific event of our lifetimes and you’re too stupid to see it for what it is!

    • Um, no. Einstein’s theories of both special and general relativity are put into practical use every day in the global GPS system. The constancy of the speed of light in all reference frames, special relativity, leads to the understanding that makes moving clocks run slow. General relativity predicts that clocks run faster in weaker gravitational fields. Both effects have to be accounted for in the GPS clocks orbiting the earth, otherwise the positioning accuracy would degrade to uselessness within a day. The total correction required is exactly as predicted by Einstein’s theories.

    • re Paul Clark, Phodges

      What the modern-physics-is-all-wrong-and-I-am-right-based-solely-on-my-assertions crowd invariably fails to understand is how interlinked is all of physics.

      Modern GPS has to take into account both Special Relativity (SR) and General Relativity (GR) effects

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Error_analysis_for_the_Global_Positioning_System#Special_and_General_Relativity

      in order to work.

      The detection of gravitational waves only one in a long line of tests of GR:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tests_of_general_relativity

      GR has successfully passed all experimental tests to-date. That it why it continues to be the leading theory of how

      “Spacetime tells matter how to move; matter tells spacetime how to curve.”

      ~ John A. Wheeler

      Physics has always been an interplay between theory and experiment. Physics would not be science without either one. Electrical power and wire/wireless communication is based on Maxwell’s theory of electromagnetism. The transistors and other solid state devices in our computers are designed based on condensed matter-quantum mechanics theory.

      These modern-physics-is-all-wrong-and-I-am-right-based-solely-on-my-assertions types are so common that physicists have developed a scale to rank them:

      http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/crackpot.html

      As for the cost, I’d say that compared to most projects the US taxpayers got a great deal: $1 billion to detect gravitational waves compared to, say, $1.3 billion in farm subsidies to people who don’t farm or $1 trillion plus for a plane that can barely fly.

    • Paul:

      Actually, the signal is very much as expected for a “black hole” merger: increasing frequency and amplitude as the “black holes” spiral into each-other, and abruptly “rings down” upon actually merging.

      Have you ever checked out what th expected waveform would be for various gravitational wave sources? I know the LIGO collaboration (and many others) have done so, for many decades.

      David

  7. It’s only just been published. Peer review. Might want to keep that Champagne on ice. “There’s many a slip ‘twixt the leap and the couch.”

  8. Can someone correct me here (if I am wrong)….
    The distance the universe contracted/expanded due the grav wave was 1 x 10 -21 (0. with 20 zeros then 1) meters. There is no way to actually measure this because of all the background seismic activity which is many orders of magnitude higher. Even a car driving several km’s away produces more seismic activity (therefore affecting the interferometer) than the grav wave stretching/contraction. Wind, temperature changes etc all produce so much noise that that it is impossible to actually measure the grav wave on Earth.
    The way I understand they came up with the measurement was to use COMPUTER MODELS to remove the background noise of the first -20 decimal places and presto, they found the evidence for gav waves.
    Is this correct ???
    Now I’m not saying they didn’t achieve it (I believe they did) – but I always get nervous when I hear scientists using computer models to “prove” things.

      • I use a whole hierarchy of computer models every day. They range from absurdly simple to absurdly complex (all for the same thing). I use the simplest ones that get me the information I need (where is light going). If that is not sufficient, I pull out another stop, and turn on some more pipes to see if that gets closer to what I want.

        I could start with the grand daddy of them all first; but that would take for ever to run, and create so much information that I might not be able to find what I was looking for.

        But then my computer models are based on solidly founded experimentally verified Physical phenomena; reflection/refraction/polarization/dispersion/diffraction/whatever.

        Trouble seems to be that planetary climate models do not seemed to be based on planets.

        G

    • My guess. I think of it as similar to beat frequencies, the generated tone when two violin strings are just barely out of tune. The two paths of the laser beams are in phase, therefore no beat tone is generated. Something sends them out of phase for a moment then they fall back in phase. The “chirp” is the resultant beat tone.

  9. OK OK wasn’t the detector lit up by a pulse? Not a wave? If it was a wave, it would still be waving.

    So.. waves have NOT yet been detected. A pulse was detected ( and don’t give me that superposition of all waves constitute a pulse excuse)

    • waves have NOT yet been detected.
      Educated yourself a bit before putting foot in mouth. Waves were indeed detected during the in-spiralling of the black holes, culminating in a crescendo when the holes collided. During the collision the system radiated away more energy than 50 times the radiation of ALL the stars in the observable universe.

      P.S. It is so sad to see the many demonstrations of willful scientific illiteracy on display at WUWT. This discovery is up there among the most important ones in a lifetime, opening up a new window on the universe.

      • This discovery is up there among the most important ones in a lifetime, opening up a new window on the universe.

        Why?
        Where can we now go (from a science perspective) that we could never go before?

      • Whenever we open a new window on the universe we learn wonderful things. The gravitational waves let us see [and hear!] the violence our universe is so full of. Just like the window opened up in radio waves, ultraviolet light, neutrinos, etc.

      • @Isvalgaard: “P.S. It is so sad to see the many demonstrations of willful scientific illiteracy on display at WUWT. This discovery is up there among the most important ones in a lifetime, opening up a new window on the universe.”
        I have followed WUWT including your comments for years, this was as far as I can tell a one time event, I found your comment condescending, sorry!

      • tobias smit February 14, 2016 at 9:56 pm

        The event was followed by a gamma ray burst picked up by Fermi telescope .04 seconds later. Also they have two more events after the September event.
        It always helps to read a little,

        etudiant February 14, 2016 at 7:34 pm
        There is a good ongoing discussion of this development at Lubos Motls blog, The Reference Frame http://motls.blogspot.com/ .

        There is probable two to three weeks non stop reading on the subject.

        michael

      • @Isvalgaard – I think you are being rather harsh on skeptics here. Leaving aside the physical science behind this discovery for the moment and considering the scientific profession from a sociological perspective in our modern society, there is a lot that we can (and probably should) be nervous and skeptical about. On a general basis we know that science has a very problematical funding basis that unfortunately does tend to incentivise scientists to ‘discover’ things and ‘justify’ the political investment. Science has always had, and always will have, a problem with human bias and expectations from research, but found effective ways to counteract and minimise it. Aligning funding incentive (quite probably unconscious) with pre-existing bias may be a challenge that the scientific method will struggle to deal with or cannot overcome – I don’t know. This has been spoken about often in the climate sphere and it pertains to many (the majority I suspect) fields of science today. Many in science, who are honest with themselves, would acknowledge this fact. The behaviour of some scientists and many scientific institutions in the GW imbroglio has shattered many people’s confidence in the honesty and impartiality of the scientific method as it is practised today. This may be an over reaction but it is, nevertheless, an understandable one. It is the responsibility of the scientific community to re-establish that confidence.

        In the case of this discovery, I for one ‘accept’ it insofar as I accept these highly complex modern cosmological theories and proofs that I don’t understand. Like most people I haven’t studied them in any detail so I am not in a position to affirm they are true or assert they are false. Really, all I have to go on is the probity of the scientists that are saying it is proven. That is a new challenge for scientists that they really didn’t have in previous eras where their ‘correctness’ was much more self-evident and understandable by the ordinary non-specialist person. Noting that research facilities like this have cost upwards of USD0.6bn and the probity perception problem science has now in some quarters, complex scientific fields such as this have a major problem to convince significant sections of the public that their results are not just correct and true but also worth huge amounts of tax payers money when there are collapsing education and health services in many western countries. The fundamental issue here is human psychology not modern complex relativistic theories (proven by experiment or not).

        My advice to you is to spend less time name-calling and ridiculing people who display, in your view unreasonable skepticism, and to spend more time trying to make the ‘obviousness’ of this result more ‘obvious’ to those who haven’t the background or inclination to study the whole corpus of knowledge as you or others have done.

      • I think you are being rather harsh on skeptics here
        Most people here who think themselves skeptics are simply ignorant. Now, ignorance is no shame, but willful ignorance is. And that is what I see here. It is like the cardinals who didn’t even want to look through Galileo’s telescope for fear of seeing the truth.

      • Um..
        ..
        If they radiated that much energy, why are they ‘black’?

        And with your usual precision,…,could you explain the difference between gravity waves and gravitational waves?

      • Can I paddle with you in your canoe Dr. S ??

        This achievement has my flabber gasted.

        Having in my time played with some apparently crude interferometer tools (Fabry Perot Etalons) I have seen how picking out the noise nuisances one at a time can lead to measurements of exquisite precision.

        I have not yet got a clear picture of just exactly what they actually did; but in good time I will, but I give this a great deal more credibility than I gave to the Higgs boson; and I was not particularly skeptical about that. Not quite sure exactly what they found (seems like they aren’t either) but I believe they found something.

        Same for this. Now I just wonder what follow up ” observations ” might be doable with this setup or a successor.

        The trouble with Einstein’s theories of whatever; although some are mathematically quite challenging; none of them seems to have a whole gamut of twiddle knobs to be fudged until the experiments agree with the theory. Basically one knob to zoom into the correct scale, and that’s it.

        Planck’s BB theory is the same way. So a new … h … appears on the scene but then everything else is comprised of well established experimentally verified fundamental Physical constants. That’s what is so amazing about those theories. They aren’t hand whittled to fit the facts.

        G

      • Lief is such a snotty old crank. The PULSE was a whole 110 milliseconds long. It contained time varying periods and varying amplitudes. Here is an image of it:

        Sure looks like a pulse to me.

        Here is an ULTRA SHORT pulse profile…

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultrashort_pulse#/media/File:Ultrashort_pulse.svg

        Here is a definition of PULSE:

        http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/pulse
        see definition 6.

        And…exactly where were these two black holes you are referring to? Or is it an inference?

        Gad…pull your own two feet out of your senile toothless mouth after you pull you head out of your prolapsed a$$. Nasty old fool.

        Can’t have a civil conversation can you?… you blowhard.

      • A black hole orbiting another one is losing energy [carried away by gravitational waves] which causes the orbit to shrink which in turn increases the loss until the two holes collide, after which there is a short period with vibrations dying away. All of that gives you exactly the strange form of the signal. It is not a pulse, but an extended wave ‘train’. A pulse is a single and abrupt emission of radiation, not an extended train, so, no pulse. Just colliding black holes.

  10. Black holes are a mass and because mass is heavier than no mass they are attracted to each other, two black holes falling into eachother will break that mass apart forming two new galaxies… it’s awesome everytime I think about galaxy formation… if you only knew…

  11. It would be a cute observation if only black holes existed. There are many models for black holes and all have problems when faced with real observations. The black hole advocates prefer to ignore these (critical) problems. Einstein even pointed out that black holes could not exist as they would fly apart from radial forces long before reaching neutron star size. Black holes are part of the Big Bang construct that supports black energy, matter, and focus, all false and fantasy.

      • I don’t think illiterate means what you think it does.

        I also notice that you are full of name-calling in this thread on the order of the alarmists pounding on people for not seeing the “obvious” fact that CO2 will fry us all unless we dismantle our industrialized society.

        Physics has often been dead wrong and could well be dead wrong now. There is no special field that one should drop his skepticism in looking at the results. The fallacy you are hanging onto is that there can only be one cause of what we observe via our instrumentation. Our instruments have fooled us before.

        ~ Mark

    • let me just slip herein, to the illiterate’s corner – if only to promote a wee bit of Luddite dry humour.
      The Parallax Effect on Short Hair

    • The light emission of black holes (Hawking radiation) has been observed.

      Black holes are real.

      Deal with it.

      • “The light emission of black holes (Hawking radiation) has been observed.”

        Very interesting. Dr. Google only alluded to simulated “white holes” in laboratories.

        Would appreciate a link or two..

    • A Black Hole is mass so great that light can not escape from it, they have even been observed, our own star, the sun bends light a certain amount due to it’s mass.

  12. Gravitational wave or not. I remember the side effects of the 60’s space program. Faster computers, new materials to be able to survive the different temps in space. New metals, new propellants , foods and the list is long. This program was ( according to the video’s) build from the ground up. Lenses so pure you can barely see them, new ways to align lasers and I presume the list is longer.
    Why don’t they hoopla all of that? Stuff that can actually help in areas like medicine ( lenses), laser guided trains? Gravitational waves that tell us what happened 5 billion years ago, I doubt if that stays on the news longer then 24 hrs. ( I realize there are patents involved and I don’t doubt those are on the minds of all of the people involved more than the waves themselves so maybe that is why there is all the hoopla in the first place).

    • What do you mean faster computers.

      How about just computers for just about anybody who wants one.

      g

  13. This is not a “triumph of science” it is a triumph of delusional groupthink and funding pressure.
    After all the blogs on here about error margins being greater than changes in recorded temperature anomalies, one would have thought this site would be a bit more cautious in hailing a measurement of something 1000 times smaller than a proton!!
    $1Billion has been the cost of this project. How many people want to see the funding continue? Time to face up to the real innconvenient truth. The peer review system is broken in all areas of science. Not just on the global non warming issue.

  14. We encounter a lot of patently cargo-cult science here in this forum.
    But then it seems to become habitual for people to lazily call bullshit on every development in science.
    And I am surprised that so many comments here are critical of this result with no real analysis or evidence.
    For the sake of balance, I would like to say that I have no evidence which would lead me to doubt the conclusions of the researchers involved.
    And it would therefore be wise for me to maintain a working hypothesis that this is a genuinely successful experiment and a valid result.
    People may question whether such accuracy was possible using the apparatus and computer analysis available. But I have no reason to doubt that the experiment was designed specifically to produce that degree of precision and to eliminate other sources of disturbance by measuring them and cancelling them from the detector result. A big challenge, yes. But not implausible.
    I don’t have any evidence that this result is valid. And I don’t have any evidence that the result was invalid.
    I don’t see my lack of evidence as good reason to call B.S.
    So congratulations from me to all the scientists involved in this project.

    That’s all that I have to say. I’m only posting so that a non critic is represented.

    • “I don’t have any evidence that this result is valid. And I don’t have any evidence that the result was invalid.”

      Exactly! The default position of the scientist (or scientifically thinking person) is that any new discovery is in fact possibly heifer dust until there has been independent conformation and until many people have tried to poke holes in the theory or discovery.

      Did Karl Popper live in vain?

      • Sure, I am familiar with the scientific process and I agree that all purported discoveries are worthy of skepticism. But, skepticism based on informed analysis and in depth understanding.
        What I am criticizing in this thread are the comments that rail against the possibility that this result may be valid from a standpoint of complete ignorance of the physics and the technology involved.
        And there are many such comments.
        I don’t deem myself qualified to criticize this experiment. And yet at least I sat and passed exams in which I had to analyze, explain or reproduce the physics of Michelson Morley and then basic study of Relativity.
        At least I got to find out that physics is surprising and often counter-intuitive.
        Some of the comments here seem to amount to – “it just don’t seem right to me. So I say BS”.
        I’m happy for now that hundreds of extremely smart people seem confident that this result means something.
        Maybe later we will learn that some critical factor has been overlooked.
        I must leave such analysis to people who are smarter and more well informed than I am.
        This is not the same as the widely supported and yet ultimately untestable and implausible claims that specialist assessment of the activities of sailors with buckets and thermometers on sparsely located shipping routes in the late 1800’s can be used to deduce a global mean SST for those dates with a precision of a few tenths of a degree.
        Let’s focus on total bullshit and grant that gravity waves may well have been detected by this experiment on this occasion.
        PLUS – at least the discovery of gravity waves will not be used to justify a massive shift in energy provision and economic policies which will lead to the needless impoverishment of the people of planet earth!!
        Or similar bunk that we should really be concerned with here.

      • “independent conformation”

        That was built into the experiment. Two different set-ups, thousands of miles apart.

    • “And I am surprised that so many comments here are critical of this result with no real analysis or evidence.”

      I am not.

    • If an announcement of a group of people at the end of $1Billion in funding detecting something a trillion times smaller than the accuracy of the instrument supposedly measuring it for a total of 1/5th of a second from two hypothetical objects millions of light years away that no longer exist (even hypothetically) to reproduce the experiment on, doesn’t give you a reason to doubt their findings; why doubt anything at all. Santa is real. So is the tooth fairy. Don’t believe me? Give me a billion dollars and I will prove it to you with a 1/5th of a second’s worth of data!

  15. Will someone please explain to me why the ocean tides are not produced by the same gravitational waves observed here? Different wavelength, certainly.

    • Will someone please explain to me why the ocean tides are not produced by the same gravitational waves observed here? Different wavelength, certainly.

      You just answered your own question. Different wavelength. With the length of those interfereometers, they get really good frequency resolution.

  16. Would someone please explain the difference between the gravitational waves observed here and the gravitational waves that produce ocean tides? Vastly different wavelengths, certainly. Thanks in advance.

    • the gravitational waves that produce ocean tides
      The cause of tides is not gravitational waves, but is simply the fact that the gravitational force [in the Newtonian sense] of the Moon is different on the nearside and the far-side of the Earth.

      Somebody asked what the use of this wonderful finding is. What use is a Mozart Symphony? Both expand our humanity. What practical use? A GPS would not function without General Relativity being correct. What marvels would be invented in the future based on Einstein’s theory?

      • Of course Leif – but this discovery did make me wonder if varying orbits would result in gravity waves. In simple terms, if the distance between planets is changing then the gravitational force between them would be changing also? Could this kind of slow gravity ‘pulsing’ result in tiny gravitational waves, or , from theory, are they only expected from humungous size events?

      • gravitational waves, or , from theory, are they only expected from humongous size events?
        If you accelerate any charged particle it radiates electromagnetic waves. If you accelerate any particle with mass it radiates gravitational waves. Wave you hand in the air and YOU generate gravitational waves. Their amplitude is a function of the gravitational field which has to be extremely strong in order for the waves to be measurable with the sensitivity LIGO has achieved. So, yes, you need humongous events.

      • The purpose of music is to manipulate a target audience into an emotional position before exposing them to a poetic truth about the universe. e.g.:

      • @Kev-in-Uk:

        Of course Leif – but this discovery did make me wonder if varying orbits would result in gravity waves. In simple terms, if the distance between planets is changing then the gravitational force between them would be changing also? Could this kind of slow gravity ‘pulsing’ result in tiny gravitational waves, or , from theory, are they only expected from humungous size event

        The orbiting of the Earth around the Sun DOES (in theory) produce gravitational waves; these waves are also RIDICULOUSLY TINY compared the the near-light speed orbiting of two ~30 solar mass objects about one another which then merge. For this reason, GW observations are (for the moment) only being contemplated for large-energy/large-mass events, such as the merger of black holes.

      • Thanks, just wanting to make sure I remember old physics correctly. I was under the impression (probably wrongly) that Einsteins gravity theory was largely confirmed by the lunar ranging results. So, in reality this detection of actual gravity waves is presumably the final confirmation? I must confess that I cannot see how this will change much unless better detection apparatus is feasible?
        One other thing, a query about the computer models to analyse the data – presumably, these are designed based what we expect (if the theory is correct) – and hence, is there not a certain amount of confirmation bias built in? Just wondering…..

      • Without getting too technical Kev-in-UK, there are many solutions to the equations of GR it is not a singular answer. That is why discussions about black holes, worm holes etc have raged for years. What the result does is exclude some solutions and refine others. The device itself is like the birth of a telescope, the start of a new way to see space which will give hundreds of events per year each giving up new data. We are told there are 7 more smaller events still to be published from the first run and it is likely there will be 4 advanced LIGO’s operating from January 2017.

        The Fermi telescope has an event which is in the right area and time for the LIGO event on it’s scanning array but unfortunately it wasn’t looking at the area so it doesn’t say anything more than it is likely.

        http://gammaray.nsstc.nasa.gov/gbm/publications/preprints/gbm_ligo_preprint.pdf

        If LIGO has achieved detection sensitivity then it will see hundreds of events per year and many of them will be able to be aligned to conventional radio and optical telescopes and so worrying about what layman think is not high on the priority.

        Feel free to believe whatever you want it won’t change the reality for science.

  17. No matter how closely it agrees with certain observations, Einstein’s theory of gravitation has to be wrong because the whole concept of space-time curvature has no basis in fact. There is no such thing as space-time. Time is in no sense akin to space, and the idea that a 4-dimensional agglomeration of the two is the substrate of physical reality is just a reification of Cartesian mathematical techniques.

    It is not possible to travel through time, to dilate time, or to create closed regions of “space-time.” The fact that Einstein’s theory allows for such things should have been a reductio disproving the theory, but instead modern physicists have elected to bite the bullet and have populated their imaginary universe with such exotic objects and properties. As a result, physics no longer describes reality. The two major thought currents in modern physics, relativity and quantum mechanics, are little more than the self-deconstruction of a whole mathematico-physical thought-world which has spent its explanatory power.

    • @ Being and Time:

      I get that much of the theory can seem entirely counter intuitive (as it also does with quantum mechanics), but the time dilation effects (among other relativistic effects) are proven every day with the GPS & GLONASS systems, which in order to provide accurate location & timing services must account for the fact that the clocks on the satellites are actually running at a measurably different rate from otherwise identical clocks down here in Earth’s gravity well.

      That said, no one suggests (at least that I’ve heard) that General Relativity (nor quantum mechanics either) is a “complete” theory of everything; at the very least GR and QM principles are BOTH exploited daily in hand-held electronic devices (are you holding a cell phone?) even though the two theorems cannot co-exist mathematically. Reconciling the two is still a “Nobel Prize, is that all you’ve got??” kind of dream for theoretical physicists & cosmologist everywhere, as the gal/guy who comes up with it will easily supplant Einstein as The Name in Science for centuries to come.

      Trust me: they’re working on it! ^_^

    • Space time curvature is just a mathematical model. It need not be “real” in any meaningful way, it just needs to be predictive, and that it is, spectacularly so.

      It is possible do dilate time, we’ve shown it experimentally.

  18. New Horizon’s superb observation of Pluto/Charon and now this, both great long term observational science ventures.

    Now, how often is an event like expected to occur, and is amplitude an indicator of distance/time. ?

    Alan Stern is a great publicist for New Horizons, trickle feeding the media as more downloads come in, perhaps he can help LIGO spin the publicity out.

  19. This technology is very similar to Fibre Optic Gyros (FOG) which count ‘light beats’ as the gyro, in a plane or ship, rotates to a new heading. Interestingly, they require Kalman filters to detect/remove the ‘beats’ causes due to the earths rotation. A stationary ship or plane on the ground will still be ‘moving’ through space due to the earths rotation. I wonder if LIGO uses Kalman filters etc to remove ‘beats’/’pulses’ from their detectors due to earths rotation?

  20. Well, I see waves of mas/inertia in the fabric, or Aether, of space. Not sure if I would call that waves of gravity. But close enough for a start at understanding the true nature of space, mass/inertia and gravity. After 100 years of scientific proof that Aether does not exist. They now have proof that it does. After using a more sensitive version of the 100 year earlier failed experiment! I would guess that settled science is not quite so settled…pg

  21. If I’ve understood this correctly, colour me sceptical. They say that “the detected gravitational waves were produced during the final fraction of a second of the merger of two black holes” [my emphasis] and they say that Advanced LIGO enabled “the discovery of gravitational waves during its first observation run” [my emphasis]. Now either there was a huge coincidence, that the signal from a split-second event a billion years ago just happened to arrive during A-LIGO’s first run, or there must be a huge number of black holes colliding. I’m not saying they’re wrong, I’m just not convinced. So far, it feels a bit like the faster-than-light neutrino that wasn’t – genuine research done very carefully, but not quite carefully enough. It would be nice if it’s me that’s wrong.

  22. What was detected?

    Seismic noise is a problem because the detector is near an interstate highway and a rail line. When trains went by, the interferometer was knocked out. Nearby logging is also a continuing problem. The team claims that dampening and filtering systems solved those issues. The laser mirrors deteriorated, requiring two of them to be removed and replaced. Wasps made nests in the beam tubes. Their waste caused a leak in the vacuum system. The wasps were evicted. The point here is that LIGO is a device concept that is rife with potentially fatal flaws. Were all of those flaws, as well as others fully rectified?

    • @Tiburon, et alia:
      “Seismic noise is a problem… (et cetera)”

      One of the reasons there are TWO detectors (not just one) is to see if the signals seen at one location are also seen at the other. At the scale of sensitivity in which they are designed to operate (theoretically!) the only events capable of being seen by EITHER detector in the first place would necessarily be visible to both, thus allowing scientists to eliminate any signal not recorded in both places.

      As for the other issues, whether foreseen or unexpected, you’d best believe that a thorough review of the data & methodology will be conducted, because NO one in cosmology wants to be part of the “Second Coming of BICEP-II.”

    • Even if those flaws were rectified, so what? They still have no way to even recognise most of the interferences that are bigger than the waves they wish to detect much less dampen them out or subtract them from readings.

      • Even if those flaws were rectified, so what? They still have no way to even recognise most of the interferences that are bigger than the waves they wish to detect much less dampen them out or subtract them from readings.

        Yet your ear can dig out a conversation at a loud party, or hear a mistake from one trumpet at the orchestra. It’s just (graduate level) math, but the principle is that same. Given enough data you can pick out a tiny signal from a mountain of noise. Our algorithms can now exceed what 100s of millions of years of evolution have developed, and we also can calculate their limits of resolution, if we are willing to do so.

        They have petabytes+ of data that spans the entire spectrum they need to explore, versus global temperature, TSI, volcanism, etc. where we have maybe gigabytes of of data over time spans too short and area coverage too sparse to determine any of the frequencies of interest in time or space.

        In addition the gravity wave hypothesis involved a fairly simple, non-complex system, versus global climate which is a massively complex system with feedbacks we don’t understand and can’t measure well enough even if we do understand the mechanisms. It also happens that the climate models are now falsified but few are willing to admit it.

        That’s a world of difference. Actually it’s a universe of difference.

        They predicted a result from a relatively simple hypothesis, ran two different experiments, and were unable to falsify the hypothesis. This is real, Popperian science. The skepticism here is unwarranted, and does us a disservice because the informed skepticism of CAGW is proper, but uninformed skepticism of this is not proper.

        Peter

  23. Interesting… (actually quite disappointing) that no mention of the Russian contribution to this effort is made here

    Kip Thorne has been magnanimous in crediting Russian scientist’s contribution to this – why no mention?

  24. Pardon me if I don’t swoon, but there’s a disturbing precedent. A few years ago it was published that CERN had accelerated some particles faster than the speed of light. Such a paradigm-breaker got hundreds of physicists to go over the results with increasing fine-tooth combs until the cause was finally found — an impossibly obscure anomaly in the time-keeping system (or something like that). But without all that highly-focused effort, the anomaly would have stayed concealed. Now we have a new result based on interferometric results of the order of 1/10000th of a proton’s width — well, what anomaly is in the works this time? The difference is that this time — since these results confirm GR instead of refuting it — there will not be hundreds of physicists going over it with a fine tooth comb. So sorry, but color me UNCONVINCED.

    • NZ Willy, an interesting point. The earlier great experiment using an interferometer conducted by Michelson, and later Morley in the 1880’s, could be said to be an eight year long experiment as they progressively refined their apparatus. You could plausibly say that this experiment continued into the 1920’s as other scientists attempted to replicate or falsify the results. Why the continued investigation? The results conflicted with prevailing wisdom at the time. The present result tends to confirm prevailing wisdom, and it’s unlikely to be subject to quite as much skepticism, as you say.

  25. Seismic noise is a problem because the detector is near an interstate highway and a rail line. When trains went by, the interferometer was knocked out. Nearby logging is also a continuing problem. The team claims that dampening and filtering systems solved those issues. The laser mirrors deteriorated, requiring two of them to be removed and replaced. Wasps made nests in the beam tubes. Their waste caused a leak in the vacuum system. The wasps were evicted. The point here is that LIGO is a device concept that is rife with potentially fatal flaws. Were all of those flaws, as well as others fully rectified?

    The major premise is that black holes do not exist, despite the logical fallacy that claims they do.

    https://www.thunderbolts.info/wp/2016/02/12/wave-bye-bye/

    • “the detector”

      There were two detectors, thousands of miles apart, that detected the same signal.

      You haven’t even begun to do your homework.

    • @ Mike Borgelt:

      The current understanding is that while the photons which carry light (EM radiation) have properties which can be described as “wavelike,” in terms of their travel, they take paths more like those of “particles.” (This is why describing photons is often termed a “duality,” since light can act as either a wave or a particle based on which specific property is under observation.)

      Despite being mass-less, the straight-line path of a given photon can be bent according to the curvature imposed by the local gravitational field. This has been shown empirically by observation of distant stars as their light passes close to the limb of the Sun, as well as by the images of gravitationally-lensed galactic objects seen by the HST. In theory, if the gravitational field is strong enough, then space becomes curved to the point of not allowing the light to escape the area (hence the term “black hole”).

      In the Standard Model of particle physics, it is postulated that there may be a “photon” which transmits the gravitational force between objects which have mass. No one has found this particle yet, nor has anyone proven it cannot/does not exist — another Nobel Prize out there, if someone can do either. Regardless, observations confirm that the gravitational force is transmitted without attenuation regardless of any intervening matter or energy (coincidentally? at the speed of light), which confirms that whatever is transmitting that force cannot be the same type of “photon” as that which carries EM radiation.

      • @ Smokey
        “In the Standard Model of particle physics, it is postulated that there may be a “photon” which transmits the gravitational force between objects which have mass. ”

        This is the quantum field theory description of the graviton – the boson which mediates the gravitational force, analogous to the photon as the mediator of the EM force, as you say. Same but different :-)
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graviton#Comparison_with_other_forces

      • @ Alan Ranger: You are correct, Sir!

        It’s absolutely true that the term for a “photon which acts as a force mediator” is “boson,” that such a boson which mediates for gravity is called a “graviton,” and that the Standard Model doesn’t “postulate” the existence of gravitons (as I falsely indicated) so much as it “tolerates” their existence… if they even DO. ^_^

      • Trouble is that the graviton is not renormalizable and at high (Planck) energies, the quantum field theory used to formulate the standard model goes haywire when it meets general relativity. Interestingly, the (original) string theory, which failed comprehensively to explain the behaviour of hadrons, kept spitting out a massless spin-2 boson … a graviton! This has no doubt what’s kept string theory alive for so long, in spite of it not making a single testable prediction so far (AFAIK).

    • Yeah, my long-suffering domestic partner is often asking me physics question which take the form:
      “so…what exactly IS gravity/force/inertia/energy/an electron/light/or suchlike”
      This has been occurring for years. But I am happy that she takes an interest.
      It doesn’t matter how many times that I explain that physics doesn’t really bother with “what is it” questions.
      Physics is only interested in what does it do.
      What is, questions are asked and answered only in popular science and the media.
      This has lead to a very widespread public misconception about what is…the point of physics.

      • Yeah, what it is or how it works. Those are the wrong questions.
        We can’t answer those questions with any meaningful answers.
        But we do know what it does.
        Even now, what it seems to do to light glancing the sun or to GPS satellites.
        As well as grasping that a brick thrown directly in the air above oneself will likely return a few seconds later, at approximately the same speed, but traveling in the reverse direction.
        I find stuff like that helpful and instructive.
        So, we have some grasp of what gravity does.
        In fact, one interpretation would be that the word “gravity” is a name for what gravity does. And not really a name for a thing or mechanism at all.
        Since what it does is all that we see or know. :)

  26. I have no idea if they detected or not what they say, we just have to take their word for it. Only a year or so we remember another fundamental discovery, “the faster-than-light neutrino’ which subsequently proved to be inaccurate.
    What is necessary here is that all raw data is made available to all interested academic and other institutions, many might be keen to prove them wrong. If they failed to do so, then we have a result.
    Since it is now matter of independent analysis of data, for start I suggest that Steve McIntyre requests the data and have a go.

    • What is necessary here is that all raw data is made available to all interested academic and other institutions, many might be keen to prove them wrong

      it’s petabytes of data. Good luck downloading that.

    • I don’t remember any scientist claiming that they had found a “faster than light” neutrino.

      I remember scientists asking other scientists where the error might have been introduced.

      It was MSM that splashed the misleading headlines.

      And then of course there was the following joke:

      The bartender looked up, and asked “What will you have.”
      Two neutrinos enter a bar.

  27. I find it so fortunate that just when they had started looking, they found what they were looking for. This reality is truely amazing.

    I know I know, you wouldn’t see it if you weren’t looking but still…

  28. OMG this single thread is literally unraveling years of great work from WUWT. It is now apparent that many of those posting at this site are simply ignorant witch doctors who will shriek and gibber at anything scientific at all because they basically don’t understand and don’t like science.

    http://www.sciencealert.com/live-update-big-gravitational-wave-announcement-is-happening-right-now There were two detectors – count ’em two (2) – separated by 4,000 km. The signal was detected by both and with the correct timing to account for the light speed propagation of the signal between the two. The signal at each detector is as close to identical as any scientist in their wildest dreams could wish for and is at a 5.1 sigma level. The only way this result could in principle be improved is by having two independent measurement techniques deliver the same result as is the case at CERN using the ATLAS and CMS detectors to confirm each others results. Sadly at this time laser interferometry is the only game in town for this kind of work and we will just have to be satisfied with multiple independent detection events. After all, we’ve been doing it for decades with water Cherenkov detectors in neutrino astronomy.

    In addition the signal maps extraordinarily well onto computer simulations of an event of this type and magnitude.

    Now I know we are all really, really skeptical of models here and that – or so I thought – is because modeling of highly nonlinear complex dynamical systems with unknown parameters and feedbacks – like the climate – is extremely problematic to say the very least. However, that does not mean that such is the case for modeling the predictions of general relativity relating to compact baryonic masses in the vacuum.

    Knock it off – please guys – it’s embarrassing.

    • cephus0 – A number of people here have expressed scepticism, because it seems so extraordinarily unlikely that the new equipment would detect a gravity wave on its first run. Can you tell us what the odds against one of these events occurring in a tiny period is? In spite of the signal matching the expected signal, what is the possibility that they have actually detected something else? (Obviously something from space or maybe inner Earth if it is detectable at 2 places 4k km apart.).

      We have all seen too many scientific stuffups to accept this finding uncritically. There was the Ozone Hole, which supposedly miraculously began at the moment that equipment was first set up to detect it. There was the man-made global warming period which miraculously is undetectable from the preceding period. I’m sure others could add a few dozen more to the list. So please, instead of remonstrating and accusing sceptics of ignorance, how about a bit of patient and detailed explanation. A discovery of this importance deserves no less.

      • @ Mike Jonas:
        A number of people here have expressed scepticism, because it seems so extraordinarily unlikely that the new equipment would detect a gravity wave on its first run.

        LIGO has actually been operating off & on for well over a decade. This latest result comes after a number of modifications which have damped out previously-encountered “interference” as well as significantly heightened its sensitivity as a detector. As for the odds, well, odds don’t really prove anything much in this case, since you’re supposedly working with a detector that can span the observable universe looking for such events: the odds are “astronomical” in both directions — “Super-rare, may I introduce you to Super-sensitive…” (You know. ALLEGEDLY.)

        As for accepting the result “uncritically,” all the announcements I’ve read say that the team alone has announced that they’ve found the alleged waves; no one else has announced any validation or verification that I’m aware of. I hope they have really found GW, because if so the AWESOME factor is stupid-high, but the whole thing still does have to be verified & validated. Those of us “space nerds” who witnessed the BICEP debacle remember all too well what happens when “new discoveries” in astro-physics & cosmology are simply accepted as rock-solid Truth without cross-examination and independent validation.

      • Smokey – If, as you indicate, a gravity wave is a very rare occurrence, then isn’t it a bit of a coincidence that as soon as the equipment was made more sensitive there was a gravity wave coming its way right on cue – a gravity wave that occupied a specific fraction of a second in a billion-year period for that particular black hole. This is where the story simply seems too good to be true. If, on the other hand, there’s a black hole somewhere doing this split-second thing every year (or month, or however long it was that the fixed equipment was operating) then it’s much more credible. Somehow, I doubt the latter is the case, because if it was then they would very likely hae seen a second one by now – and reported it which they haven’t done (?). So I have yet to be convinced.

      • Mike, you said:

        Somehow, I doubt the latter is the case, because if it was then they would very likely have seen a second one by now – and reported it which they haven’t done (?). So I have yet to be convinced.

        I have no problem with not yet being convinced; at the very least, we still need to find a way to perform independent confirmation of these results, which is going to be … let’s say “difficult”… for a while, at least.

        As far as follow-on detections, and in re: LdB’s comment below, stay tuned!!

      • Mike Jonas
        Smokey (can’t do much about wildfires)

        Hi , First what we think or expect, can change with a blink of an eye. Just add new information and shake well
        Yeah we thought these events were rare. But they seem to have had a total of three “hits”. One on sept14 then on,oct and dec. (2015). Maybe our assumption of “rare” was to rare. Look at the estimates of the age of the universe back in 1980 vs now. Next the frequency of double stars. Everything is a work in progress,, isn’t it fun?

        I turned my first telescope to the heavens at age 11, over 40 years later everything is still shiny and new.

        michael

      • @
        Mike Jonas
        “Can you tell us what the odds against one of these events occurring in a tiny period is?”

        The “experts” indicate that LIGO, now in its new “advanced” form, might look forward to detecting several black hole mergers per year. That it detected one so early is not surprising at all.

    • “OMG this single thread is literally unraveling years of great work from WUWT. It is now apparent that many of those posting at this site are simply ignorant witch doctors who will shriek and gibber at anything scientific at all because they basically don’t understand and don’t like science.”

      Very poetic, and accurate.

      • seaice1 – I’m very happy to have someone provide the answers to my questions and concerns (see my other comments), so please do that instead of saying how stupid people are who don’t see what you see.

      • Mike Jonas. I was not refering to your comments in particular. I just thought cephus0’s turn of phrase was pleasing, and also accurate. If you don’t understand something then it is reasonable to ask questions. It is not reasonable to dismiss the findings as nonsense. A little humilty is called for in assuming that those who have spent decades researching something might just know a bit more about that thing than the layman, however intelligent and experienced in other fields.

        An example “What a load of bollox, all I can see is research hunting for more funds, sorry state of modern astronomy…” And I did not have to hunt far for that example.

        If they had said something like “I don’t understand how someone can accurately measure less than the width of a proton” that would have been reasonable, and something to which those with more specialist knowledge could respond. But the instinctive dismissal of anything that is not understood is accurately summed up by ” many of those posting at this site are simply ignorant witch doctors who will shriek and gibber at anything scientific at all because they basically don’t understand and don’t like science.”

        I often do respond with technical information where I can add something. This is outside my expertise, so I will leave it to others.

    • No you’re embarrassing. Everything you just said makes the discovery less convincing not more. They can’t measure to that accuracy let alone stop interferences much less subtract them from readings.

  29. Stop funding the “settled climate science” and put that money to real science like research in gravitational waves, which opens a new window searching the outer space.

    • Space research yes, research into finding gravitational waves, no.

      This is just as bad as the quartz gyroscope experiment. The actual experiment was a failure but they messed with the resulting data for 5 years and massaged it and claimed success.

      The truth was there were so many influences not quantified that the results of the actual experiment were useless. So they played with the data for half a decade and claimed BINGO :D

      There are too many positive results in scientific studies in some fields, especially the theoretical, it’s scary

  30. There have been no gravitational waves detected.

    More interpretation by relativists of data as positive.

    The signal is thousands or possibly millions of times smaller than the interference between the detectors and the signal. Just like WMAP this is a farce.

  31. Scepticism is essential to the scientific method.
    Cynicism is not.

    These comments indicate to me that the USA has lost a generation of scientific minds.

    • Agree entirely, but think the blame falls directly on the science community itself.
      We have seen almost 30 years of catastrophic AGW ‘climate science’ being shoved down the public’s throat while the various science bodies either ignored the abuses or even endorsed them. The public is not deceived and the effect is to discredit the entire science enterprise.
      MY guess is that these disbelieving comments are illustrative of the beginnings of the backlash. If indeed we get a colder world over the next couple of solar cycles, scientists are going to be endangered species.

      • “The public is not deceived and the effect is to discredit the entire science enterprise.”

        I agree that the cAGW myth played a large part in discrediting the scientific enterprise, but “science” has been guilty of many sins in the modern western world other than just cAWG. Consider the bogus “studies” done by big phrama, agriculture, medicine, and others. With the main objective being to push whatever pill or product they want to push onto the public, the people have a right and duty to not believe “scientists” without a heavy, heavy dose of skepticism. And the record in my lifetime of “science” is that cynicism is warranted, especially by any “science” done with government funding.

    • “These comments indicate to me that the USA has lost a generation of scientific minds.” I do not think that is true, but it is true that the scientific minds are not well represented here.

      • Actually it is reasonable for many not educated in a field to be “skeptical” By this I mean to say “maybe so, maybe not so.” If one admits they do not have the knowledge and expertise to understand the claimed result, then it is not rational to say they should accept said result on blind faith.

        Their skepticism is still warranted as long as they are equally skeptical of their skepticism. In other words they are saying, “I do not know, and until confirmation from numerous others, and until practical results confirm, I simply do not know and they may or may not be on to something.” (Most of those skeptical here are in essence saying this, and WUWT is NOT shamed in any way by this)

        It has been pointed out that the deeply flawed field of CAGW science has made many skeptical of science in general. This is the “cynicism” of some comments. That is, IMV, understandable, but not necessarily warranted here, and yet it may be warranted. The dark side of human nature, greed, lust for power over others, plus simply confirmation bias, peer pressure, and need for recognition and monetary success, can and does affect fields other then CAGW. So, while I think cynicism can go to far, and some are over confident in their skepticism, I see the cynicism itself as rooted in practical experience with human nature.

        My view of such a physics claim is to remain skeptical (in the maybe so, maybe not camp), recognize my own limitations in comprehension of such a field, ( I still do not know what space is expanding into) read from more educated sources such as Lubos Molt who have no personal dog in the hunt, strive to understand possible implications and any potential practical uses, and nothing further, as long as their is no attempt to make massive political and social change and demand to tax the air we breath.

      • If one admits they do not have the knowledge and expertise to understand the claimed result, then it is not rational to say they should accept said result on blind faith.
        It is also not rational to say that they should reject said result based on their ignorance.
        But, that said, it seems to me that the reactions by many here are not based on rationality anyway.

      • Leif – I would appreciate someone addressing my concern, which is that it is a big coincidence that a gravity wave appears just as the equipment is first able to see one. An event which occupies less than a second in a billion years per pair of black holes sounds pretty rare. If so, it’s remarkable that one turns up exactly on cue. Would you care to put my mind at rest?

      • Mike Jonas, also the detectors would have to be on the side of the Earth that is facing towards the event !!

      • Leif – “Many more events” will do the trick! I’ll look forward to reading about them. What is the expected frequency of such events?

        Marcus – I doubt that Earth would interfere much.

      • Every time I take a look at a good print of the Hubble Deep Field picture; which was just a picture of an empty speck of space, apparently up near big dipper country, I almost can’t believe that this picture could have been taken at any tiny black speck of emptiness out there and produced the same sort of picture.

        Given that multiple infinity of weird stuff that is out there, I can’t help but believe that before we know it, we are all going to have our own personal gravity wave detectors.

        Well that’s a total joke of course, but just look at how fast the rate of discovery of exo planets has progressed. There’s now so damn many of them, we will pretty soon be starting to look for places that don’t have exo planets.

        So I’m quite sure that this new gizmometer, is going to find stuff all over the place. There’s just too much stuff out there to not having incidents happening all the time.

        As I understand it, the interferometer or interferometers, actually have quite a field of view. They are in effect a kind of Antenna, with a size that enables gravitational waves in the correct “band” to be detected to some extent.

        So it is not like someone just accidently pointed a telescope at some point in the sky and found himself looking at the only alien being out there. This thing has a useful field of view, and if they can detect in other ways, possible events that might get ugly, they can orient it correctly for best results.

        And as they have said, they have learned a hell of a lot about how to squish noise in these things, so we can only guess as to how much better they can make them.

        So yes I do think this is not unlike the first radio telescope discoveries, that only led to better RTs and more exciting discoveries. Well Radio Telescopes led us to the little bang’s exiting whimper, that added knowledge to what we believe about the origin of everything.

        I think I’ll go and get a beer and say a toast to AE. Jolly good show there mate; you were correct.

        G

      • seaice1 says:

        …it is true that the scientific minds are not well represented here.

        Starting with your own comments. As a True Believer parroting the “dangerous man-made global warming” Narrative, you are hardly representative of scientific skepticism, are you? Nope. Not at all.

    • My scepticism isn’t directed at the gravitational waves existence, but I am somewhat puzzled by the extreme accuracy of the phase shift measured (x thousands of proton’s diameter),

      • I am somewhat puzzled by the extreme accuracy of the phase shift measured (x thousands of proton’s diameter),

        Do you know how Interferometry works? Until you do, you don’t know how to be an informed skeptic.

        Let’s just take basic geometry. A target, a kilometer away magnifies a 10 picometers delta at 1 meter out by how much? Hopefully you can answer that question. Anyone who’s sighted in a scope on a rifle can answer this question. Now reverse that equation. If I can resolve 10 picometers at 1 kilometer, what type of change can I estimate at 1 meter out?

        (I picked 10 picometers because that’s routinely done in modern semiconductor manufacturing. I’m sure physics folks have sensors 100x beyond that).

        Peter

      • “””””….. (I picked 10 picometers because that’s routinely done in modern semiconductor manufacturing. …..”””””

        Peter,

        I’m under the impression that current production semiconductore devices such as microprocessor or memory chips have minimum feature dimensions of about 25 nanometers. When I last was designing ICs, the smallest feature size was 800 nm, with increments of perhaps 100 nm. That was not the state of the art at the time, but since it was for linear CMOS, smaller features were not required or useful. Noise considerations dictated against smaller structures. I don’t think the best was better than 1/3rd of the size I was using.

        So I’m intrigued as to what features of a modern production IC are as small as 10 picometres.

        That would be 10 picons I presume.

        G

  32. Not being a scientist I can only post this URL as a good read and containing a history of previous findings on gravity waves plus what purports to be another explanation for the new findings.
    http://mileswmathis.com/liego.pdf (sorry, not able to give a live link)

  33. THIS NEEDS AN EXPERT INDEPENDENT LOOK INTO
    I superimposed signals from two locations Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington in such a way that time scale grids coincide

    Two ‘chirps’ are distinctly different to arouse more than just curious scepticism. If I posted graph like this our resident expert Dr. Svalgaard would call DK syndrome crackpot’s correlation.
    We need Steve McIntyre onto this.
    Over to you Dr. Svalgaard

    • vukcevic—

      Thanks for the above

      I can see what you are saying. By comparing the two chirps, it has been determined that they are from the same source. By aligning the chirps at various places along the chirp line, it is easy to make a comparison.

      From a link given here at WUWT they have been using the instruments and a computer program to do just what you have done in a matter of minutes. Apparently they have detected two of these chirps Oct 12 8:21-11:46 and Dec 26 1:29-4:55.

      I went back in my records for those days and can see events of extreem noise. Trying to make something out of it would take two setups monitoring 24/7 just as they have been doing.

      So- I hope that this lesson in GW theory does not distract from the research (or cause a knee jerk) on GW. There are just too many co-incidences that have occurred within a short period of time for me to believe.

      And BTW, JM
      Don’t go away, change yur “como se llama” and we will know it is you. You are just too intertaining and helpful.

      • Dr. Svalgaard
        “The point is that the predicted waves matches the observed waves and there is no requirement for synchronization as the orientation of the two instruments are different.”

        That is surely a joke, have you forgotten to put /sarc off

        No way two gravitational waves traveling billion^(of whatever) miles and for millions^(of whatever) years, should arrive on the territory of USA within few microseconds at two different frequencies.
        Doc you are good scientist, what happen to your obligatory scepticism at any new scientific claim, until at least the experiment has been verified either by another event or the independent analysis.
        Or do you think this could be another of “variability is driven by a complicated non-linear system of internal stochastic variations” ?
        Indeed it might be the case that I don’t know what I am talking about, a minor matter, but problem is that you know what you should be talking about, but you do not.

      • They arrive just when they should. The two instruments are oriented in opposite directions [on purpose] and are distance from each other, so you must invert the signal from one and shift it to account for the distance. If you do that, they match very well, as your own original Figure showed. Your personal incredulity is a defect of you, not of the event: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Argument_from_incredulity

        until at least the experiment has been verified either by another event or the independent analysis.
        There are several more events waiting in the pipeline to be published.

        Again, you are pontificating on something you don’t understand [and probably – judging from past experience – won’t learn].

      • This is discussion section of the website, it is normal that participants should express all sorts of disagreements at the various scale of intensity, ranging from total belief in the announced discovery to a total rejection. I happen to think more experiments and the independent analysis of the data is needed. It is such profound discovery, that just one experiment which may or may not come close to what they think it should happen, has been confirmed. We heard about neutrinos velocity greater than speed of light and numerous times about the cold fusion successes , so a degree of scepticism is not only desirable but essential.

      • Well, it has already been tested at two observatories [Hanford and Livingston] and there are several more events in the pipeline. When people are skeptical, they should go look at the evidence, and not just invoke the personal-incredulity fallacy as you do.

  34. A two pixel, indeterminate focus moving image of black holes colliding. The climate scientists reckon they can fill in the blanks between scarce datum points, I would guess that for a few billion dollars they could release this in Cinemascope.

      • Well that wiki reference as usual gives a poor explanation of delta sigma or sigma delta modulation.

        The reason that sigma delta (or delta sigma) modulation is popular, particularly in audio frequency applications, is that you can get a very large number of bits of resolution with relatively simple hardware. Now that does not mean that they are linear of accurate to a very large number of bits, but they work without missing codes or non monotonic operation, with relatively simple hardware.

        With some more obvious A-D or D-A converters it is extremely difficult to get to 16 bits for audio signal encoding.

        Now 16 bits gives you a dynamic range of 96 dB. Older best in class LP recordings could record at best about 45-50dB of dynamic range; yet a full blown live symphomy orchestra has more like 90 -100 dB of dynamic range which has to be compressed to get it into the 50dB limit set by LP technology.

        So if you can encode the loudest possible LP recorded sound at the top end of the 16 bit’s 96 dB amplitude, that means that the softest recordable signal now only has 46 dB of dynamic range , which is less than 8 bits.

        So that means that the softer passages in the music, when digitized to 16 bits will only have 8 bits or less of dynamic range, and the ear will easily hear the totally horrible quantization noise from an 8 bit digitized audio signal. That is why a whole lot of CD music sounds like total junk compared to earlier LP recordings of the exact same music.
        I have to 33 1/3 RPM LP recordings made in 1958-1964 time frame, originally cut from 16 track high speed tape masters.

        I also have the exact same recording of the same music made from the exact same 16 track tapes used for the LPs now on CD.

        The CDs are much more convenient to play. The LP disks, now 50 years old, sound much better than the CDs. At times the LPs may have a bit of dust noise or a click due to dropping the stylus on the disk and getting a scratch.

        Nowadays, they can use sigma delta A-D converters and get something like 22 or 24 bits od digitization, so now the lowest volume passages don’t have any detectable quantization noise.

        Unfortunately, a whole lot of modern musical recordings (I’m talking just of the classics, not rock music) are totally trash performances of the music, and even worse recording technology by the recorders. They just churn the stuff out.
        My local ” Classical ” music station (there’s only one) has a CD of the week program, which they play over and over all week or even month long, trying to get some poor saps to buy it.

        Most of it was musical garbage when it was written, and deserves all the obscurity it can muster; and then some; and it is still trash today; but people insist on performing it, and want you to buy their junk.

        Rock music is no different. Most of it is pure garbage, so the good stuff has to compete with an avalanche of rubbish, to get noticed and appreciated. Hollywood churns out junk blockbuster movies like Mickey Spillane wrote ” Novels ” and people are expected to pay a small fortune to go and see this crap at their local theatre.

        G

  35. I wonder if gravitational waves follow the same path as EM radiation. If so, gravitational waves would also be bent by objects of huge mass and would make gravitational lensing of gravitational waves possible.

    • @ Rik Gheysens
      I wonder if gravitational waves follow the same path as EM radiation. If so, gravitational waves would also be bent by objects of huge mass and would make gravitational lensing of gravitational waves possible.

      Gravity would have a hard time escaping from a black hole if its path could be bent by itself. ^_^

      By the same token, since the waves continue to propagate regardless of the intervening medium, all one needs to observe them (theoretically!) is a sensitive enough detector. The confidence of the study team notwithstanding, the jury is still out as to whether LIGO qualifies as such. We shall see!

  36. This is what science is supposed to be about. This is not climate science, this is real ground-breaking science.

    The signal discovered can only be caused by two black holes merging over about 0.2 seconds. The gravitational waves generated, put out 50 times more energy in that time than all the stars in the entire universe during that time.

    The detector in Louisiana picked up the signal 7 milliseconds before the detector in Washington State did which means the waves travel at the speed of light and were not caused by local ground movement.

    Einstein’s theory of special relativity is proven again.

    There really are black holes in space. The only objects which could have generated this type of signal is two stellar black holes merging. Which also means that really are black holes in space and there are stellar black holes

    These black holes are smaller as opposed to supermassive black holes at the centre of galaxies which can be 100 million solar masses. These were stellar black holes with 36 solar masses and 29 solar masses respectively. They formed from large supernova events and then absorbed another 100% of mass from other stars and gas over billions of years.

    The gravitational waves produced were exactly identical to that predicted in theory and the calculations derived from Einstein’s equation. Scientists first started calculating what gravitational waves would do in the 1960s and made further more detailed calculations over time and especially in the last decade. They matched the signal almost exactly perfectly.

    The black holes were 1.3 billion light years away when they merged, somewhere behind the Large Magellanic Cloud companion galaxy in the southern hemisphere.

    When they merged, energy was converted to gravitational waves and it took 1.3 billion years to get here.

    When they merged, the energy given up was 3 solar masses in total. The black holes had 65 solar masses in mass when they started to merge and only 62 solar masses after the merger was completed. Our Sun will last for 10 billion years and will only convert about 1% of its mass into energy in that time. In 0.2 seconds, this black hole merger extracted 300% of the Sun’s mass in the form of gravitational energy.

    Mass can therefore also escape from a black hole in the form of gravitational energy. THIS is the most exciting thing about the discovery. MASSIVE energy can be extracted from mass and the universe through gravity and something might have moved faster than the speed of light to escape from the black holes (negative space-time even for a brief instant).

    They will now be able to observe many other events with the new upgrades in LIGO. Neutron stars, other black holes, supernovas.

    Gravity will be controlled some day (my thought). That means, space travel, manipulating space-time, unlimited energy.

    • “The signal discovered can only be caused by two black holes merging over about 0.2 seconds.”

      Only? Please excuse my ignorance, but how could we know the masses of these objects?

    • Bill, thank you for an excellent comment to a layman; putting things in a context that is at least understandable.

      Does anyone know how often we will find such .2 second bursts from light years away to repeat and confirm such experiments?

      • Many gravity waves will now be detected, some presumably of longer duration and greater power, some less.

    • Thank you! All one needs to do is visit the LIGO site and spend some time learning the science behind this discovery. Watch the video of the announcement. The waves were detected back in September, so they took quite a bit of time to confirm the results before announcing.

      The engineering involved in this project is truly astounding…and I agree with Leif that this is one of those moments that truly inspire.

  37. From https://www.researchgate.net/post/Are_gravitational_waves_ripples_in_the_curvature_of_spacetime_or_are_it_fluctuations_of_the_gravitational_field2

    Hilton Ratcliffe:

    “DISCOVERY” OF GRAVITATIONAL WAVES
    On Thursday, 11 February, 2016, a group of some one thousand scientists co-authored a paper announcing that the LIGO interferometric array had after more than a decade of fruitlessly accumulating data , positively identified the signature of gravitational waves coming from a deep space event. This was a phenomenon predicted by Albert Einstein in 1915 in a landmark paper henceforward known as The General Theory of Relativity. I have known for some time that results are being attributed to observations made with instruments that were inherently incapable of doing so. My scepticism is well known, and I consequently received dozens of requests to publish my view of the matter. In general, layman’s terms, here it is.

    My analysis:

    The instruments that comprise LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) were set up to try to achieve a specific goal, consequent to the predictions of General Relativity Theory. The mirrors in the interferometer are set 4km apart. The expected variation in that distance would be 10^-18 metres or 10^-15 millimetres. In layman’s language, they are looking for a change in distance over the four kilometre separation of ONE THOUSAND TRILLIONTH OF A MILLIMETRE!

    The change in distance equates to a required design sensitivity of the LIGO interferometer of one part in 10^-21. That is, a resolution of ONE PART in ONE BILLION TRILLION.

    Let’s try to put the expected variation into some sort of comprehensible perspective. The diameter of a hydrogen atom is obtained experimentally at 10^-7 mm. Therefore, Ligo seeks to measure a distance that is ONE HUNDRED MILLIONTH of the diameter of a hydrogen atom. Put another way, if the change were one hundred million times greater than the one they claim to have measured, it would be the same as adding or subtracting a SINGLE ATOM to or from the four kilometre distance separating the mirrors.

    That is probably unimaginable to most people, so let’s try to add further perspective.

    The best precision mirror surfaces are polished to match the ideal, nearly parabolic surface to about 25 nanometers – about 3 ten-thousandths of the width of a human hair. That is incredibly fine tolerance, but let’s compare it with the difference in length that LIGO claims to measure. A nanometer is a unit of spatial measurement that is 10^-9 meter, or one billionth of a meter. Take it down one level – a nanometre is a millionth of a millimetre.

    The most precisely polished astrophysical mirrors, like those used in LIGO, can have peaks 25 nm above and below the theoretical surface plane of the mirror. 50 nm is a BILLION TIMES bigger than the gravitational wave signature. In practical terms, it is impossible to measure the distance between the two mirrors in each interferometer (actually said to be 3999.5 metres) to the required tolerance so they have had to take an average, which is guesswork.

    There are other conditions which change the distance between the mirrors by many orders of magnitude greater than the anticipated gravitational wave fluctuation. There is change in ambient temperature as the array goes through day and night cycles. Waves caused by seismic fluctuations are ever present, disturbing the separation. There are also anthropogenic waves, resulting from trucking, blasting, mining, and railroads, for example.

    Then there are the influences affecting the light and its frequency that lie between the source of the radiation being measured and the Earth. There are all manner of objects, systems, and force fields in inter-galaxian space. These are not precisely known; some are completely invisible to us, yet they have a profound effect on light signal that simply cannot be quantified by measurement.

    The LIGO instruments have all sorts of protective devices shielding them from extraneous kinetics and noise, but to filter those impediments out without fiddling with the sought-after signal, the LIGO scientists would have to guess their magnitude. That is not an empirically sound way to arrive at an accurate answer.

    Ligo cost over $620 million US to construct. Reasearch grants and operating costs take that figure to well over one billion US dollars. Hold that thought.

    To summarise, paraphrasing the words of Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg in reference to Edwin Hubble’s initial interpretation of galaxian redshifts, “…it seems they knew the answer they wanted to get.”

    Hilton Ratcliffe

    • Hilton

      What makes this almost unbelievably small distance measurement possible is that it is not an absolute but a relative measurement. The sources of error that you describe, come out in the wash, since both laser beams are subject to them just the same. That’s the whole point of LIGO. Relative measurement can be hugely more sensitive than absolute measurement.

      • I was forwarding that from the famous scientific critic, Hilton Ratcliffe. The point he makes should not be considered in isolation of other phenomena. You might consider speaking with the specialists who map out gravity fields, who will likely inform you that the readings reported for this gravity wave detection are actually much smaller than the anomalies that are routinely detected as coming form the source of our own Earth.

    • so they have had to take an average, which is guesswork.

      Well, that just gives away the ignorance of the author.

      Taking an average in signal processing is NOT guesswork unless you are Michael Mann. Determining the signal noise ratio of any known system is well within the math and experience of modern physics. Your cell phone, your digital music device, your digital TV, NONE of them would work if you just “took an average, which is guesswork”.

      I really wish there was a way to teach basic signal processing techniques to the layman. I’ve done the hardware and software design for delta sigma converters and taken a graduate level class in signal processing. I believe the results. I’ve googled for days to try and find something I could post here to teach the layman about the basics of signal processing, to no avail. It’s not very accessible math I’m afraid.

      Michael Mann has done more of a disservice to science than any single person except maybe for Lysenko. (they are in the same ballpark). His stupid hockey stick has put unwarranted skepticism in any signal processing based result in science, despite the fact that items you use every day like your cell phone, digital music player, and TV all use the same well known math techniques that LIGO uses.

      They just scaled it up to 4 kilometers, and took petabytes of data. That’s the only difference between your digital TV and this experiment, as far as the math goes.

      Peter

  38. Personally I don’t think that the recording at two separate sites, at the same time, the same signal wavetrain from a spinning and colliding pair of black holes, could be an artefact. When this wavetrain corresponds almost exactly to what is simulated for such an event. This looks pretty solid to me.

    It was a small spacequake.

    • Re: “This looks pretty solid to me … It was a small spacequake.”

      I get the sense that many people agree with it simply because they have not taken the time to listen to the numerous academic whistleblowers and scientific critics who have been speaking out on issues just like this for many years now.

      For instance, Martín López Corredoira … astrophysicist / philosopher / academic whistleblower, published more than 50 cosmology and astrophysical papers on subjects like the structure of the Milky Way, stellar populations, and observational astronomy topics which required analytical calculations, computer simulations, statistics, photometrical and spectroscopical observations and analysis, wrote in The Twilight of the Scientific Age …

      “A superficial view may lead us to think that we live in the golden age of science but the fact is that the present-day results of science are mostly mean, unimportant, or just technical applications of ideas conceived in the past.”

      “There are several reasons to write about this topic. First of all, because I feel that things are not as they seem, and the apparent success of scientific research in our societies, announced with a lot of ballyhoo by the mass media, does not reflect the real state of things.”

      “Creativity is blocked. It seems that the system gives the message that no ideas are needed. It seems the system, through its higher authorities, is saying that science only needs to work out the details. It is accepted that the basis of what is now known is correct, that present-day theories are more or less correct and only manpower is needed to sort out some parameters of minor importance. A Copernican revolution is totally unthinkable within the current system.”

      “Science is not a direct means for reaching the truth. Science works with hypotheses rather than with truths. This fact, although recognized, is usually forgotten. It gives rise to the creation of certain key groups within science which think that their hypotheses are indubitably solid truths, and think that the hypotheses of other minority groups are just extravagant or crackpot ideas … all through history, and even now, there have been many instances of discussion about how to interpret aspects of nature, with various possible options without a clear answer, in which a group of scientists have opted to claim their position is the good or orthodox one while other positions are heresies.”

      “the more controversial the topic, and the more of a challenge it is to established ideas, and the newer the approach, then the more difficult will be the problems in publishing it, and the higher the probability of its being rejected. Gillies (2008, ch. 2) argues that when a researcher makes an advance which is later seen as a key innovation and a major breakthrough, a peer review may very well judge it to be absurd and of no values. As noted by Van Flandern (1993, ch. 21), peer review in journals interferes with the objective examination of extraordinary ideas on their merits. Maddox (1993), who was editor of the journal Nature, has said that if Newton submitted his theory of gravity to a journal today, it would almost certainly be rejected as being too preposterous to believe. On the one hand, there is a failure to select novel ideas (Brezis, 2007; Horrobin, 1990). On the other hand, the refereeing process trends to conformity.”

      This researcher has nothing to be disgruntled about. He’s a successful academic trying to inform the public that things are not as they seem. So far, the public continues to ignore these people.

      • or just technical applications of ideas conceived in the past.”

        The LIGO project is certainly in this category. How far in the past though is critical. There’s been significant coevolution between compute power and signal processing techniques in the last 25 years. So just like mapping the genome, the compute power an algorithms were only available in the last 10-15 years.

        Corredoira has some good points. However, there are some new synthesis going on despite his skepticism.

        Peter

  39. Anthony you may want to close this thread, it does the site no credit. I have never seen science so butchered by layman who actually don’t even remotely understand it.

    Lets start with the basic that if LIGO has reached detection threshold the data is going to pour in and layman saying I don’t believe is going to look rather stupid.

    If you goto Lubos website he has a screencap of the next two events to be published GW151012 ( October 12th 2015) and GW151226 (December 26 2015).

    LIGO has all stated they will make detection alerts and data public as soon as the 4 detectors are online which he also covers.

      • Leif you asked,
        =======================================================
        “It is also not rational to say that they should reject said result based on their ignorance?
        But, that said, it seems to me that the reactions by many here are not based on rationality anyway”
        ===========================================================
        No, they should neither accept or reject, but “skepticism” is “questioning” and many stated categorically they do not know, but are not ready to accept. This is, IMV rational. Likewise in my comment here… https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/02/14/a-triumph-of-science-first-detection-of-the-gravitational-wave/comment-page-1/#comment-2145394 … I explained how cynicism can also be rational, and it also may be overblown.

        Most of the “skeptical” comments I found to be humble and rational. A few were over blown and, IMV, overconfident in their skepticism, but in no way is WUWT shammed. The failure of rational scientist to more universally condemn the science destroying farce of CAGW is, in my view, shameful and partially responsible for the few over reactions,

      • No, they should neither accept or reject, but “skepticism” is “questioning” and many stated categorically they do not know, but are not ready to accept.
        You cannot reject what you don’t know. To rationally reject something, you must know something about it.

      • Being SKEPTICAL of something and REJECTING something are not the same thing !! “Methinks thou dost protest too much” – A Famous Quote by William Shakespeare

      • Since we are all skeptical it comes down to whether we reject something. And that you can only do if you know something about it. If you don’t know anything, you cannot honestly reject it. That does not, of course, prevent people from doing it anyway, but such cannot be taken seriously.

      • We are all skeptical of everything, so your statement is void as far as that goes. The issue is whether you reject that of which you do not know anything.

      • Leif,

        As an ignorant thickie, I’d like to ask you a question.

        IF the experiment was to find gravitational waves, AND you state that gravitational waves can even be caused by hand-waving ,… (in other words, a statement of the bleedin’ obvious to the average ignoramus ) ,……then WHAT was the point of this experiment?

        As others have said; gravitational signals from trucks on the adjacent highway were detected, so why do they need any more proof?

      • What was the point of directing the newly invented telescope towards the heavens and observe all the wonders there? LIGO opens a new window on the universe, just as the telescope, the radio telescope, spacecraft measurements opened windows on the universe for us to explore and marvel. To show us our place in the universe. To tell us how and when we got here. To expand our horizons to the infinite.

      • People here haven’t even gone and looked at the evidence.

        Only Vuk has bothered to do so and come out with any scepticism.
        The rest have just gone “Bah!. I don’t think that’s so”

        It’s like those old curmudgeons who saw the Moon Landings on TV, looked out the window and couldn’t see the moon darkened by Armstrong’s Arse and so claimed it was faked.

        Very unimpressive.

      • TonyN if you understood GR you would understand that any motion of anything produces gravity waves just too small to measure, but exactly as Leif says.

        The point of the experiment is to make a new “telescope” for want of a better word to see space in a different way.

        Now they have achieved detection sensitivity every country, man and his dog will be scrambling to get one if they remotely are interested in science of the universe. That is why there will be 4 online by January 2017 and you can bet China won’t be left out of this … watch this space.

      • Leif,
        Are you sure you are not Donald Trump in your spare time? Note, people continually calling others stupid sometimes sound stupid.

      • I have been called the ‘Donald Trump’ of solar physics. But, it does not take me to expose stupidity. The folks do that extremely well on their own. I’m sure that even you could recognize such when you see it.

      • “To rationally reject something, you must know something about it.”

        This is what laymen knows about gravitational waves.

        1) Physicists have been trying to detect them for decades under the assumption that they are there.
        2) Groups have claimed to have detected them in the past.
        3) Those claims turned out to be false or inconclusive and completely overblown.

        So please forgive the laymen for jumping straight to rejection after hearing the boy cry wolf for the tenth time; even if the laymen doesn’t even know what a wolf is they do know that the boy has been wrong the previous nine times.

        I doubt there were many herptologists in the old west, yet somehow most people remained skeptical of the reported benefits of snake oil.

      • This is what laymen knows about gravitational waves.
        1) Physicists have been trying to detect them for decades under the assumption that they are there.
        2) Groups have claimed to have detected them in the past.
        3) Those claims turned out to be false or inconclusive and completely overblown.

        I doubt that laymen even know about the early claims, i.e. have read and studied them. Which ‘completely overblown’ claims would you care to link to?

        And regardless, when scientists finally succeed, having learned from all the previous failures what it takes, we should laud them for enriching our view of the universe.

      • How about Weber’s 300+ signals of gravitational waves that were random noise? A little skepticism of his own results may have saved other researches from having to build expensive devices in order to try to replicate his data.

        It’s acceptable human behavior to take past experiences and apply them to the present, it’s called wisdom and is severely under-rated. It’s therefore acceptable assume — without a vast knowledge of the subject –that some unforeseen variable or subjectivity is creating a false positive, again.

        If I recall correctly, many of us here were quite skeptical of the BICEP-2 data “proving” gravitational waves (proving cosmic expansion I think?), but I don’t remember reading of your skepticism. Very few people, if anyone, was as qualified as you were to accept or reject the results, yet those results still turned out to be false.

      • Weber deserves credit for trying and for inspiring others to do better. The continuous improvements over 40+ years have now culminated in success. As simple as that. And the BICEP data was marginal to begin with and data collection is still going on and may still produce results. The criticism here back then was [just as today] not rational, but was dominated by big-bang deniers, not valid skepticism.

      • So you are saying it’s wrong to question a theory that has had its problems explained away with arm-waves and imagined circumstances that bend or break the laws of physics as we know them.
        If you actually read your links, you’ll find that they propose the break the laws of physics as we know them by adding untested modifications. There are hundreds of papers that propose modifications and ad-hoc fixes to try to circumvent the Standard Model, none of them convincing nor generally accepted.

      • “If you actually read your links, you’ll find that they propose the break the laws of physics as we know them by adding untested modifications.”

        If you say so; I can’t argue with you. But can’t you say the same thing about any paper involving the perplexity of the very early universe?

    • Re: “Lets start with the basic that if LIGO has reached detection threshold the data is going to pour in and layman saying I don’t believe is going to look rather stupid.”

      But, we’re well far away from such a situation because the signal was not even sourced to a particular event. And in fact, this is one of the key criticisms being made by the critics. The only certainty at this point is that the NSF’s most expensive project is going to ask for more money.

  40. String Theory provides a explanation for the missing heat in global warming.
    String theory predicts that we live in a 10-dimensional universe of which 4 dimensions are observable. What if the heat is disappearing into the 6-dimensional non-observable dimensions? This sound a lot better than “the dog ate my homework” disappeared to the bottom of the ocean explanation. :-)

    • At least the observations of missing heat match the prediction of String Theory. This gives us more confidence in String Theory.

      /yesireallyneedasarctag

  41. Bill Illis’s comment, and Chris Reeve’s following comment are both (although contradictory), informative from a layman’s perspective.

    An incredibly powerful event from 1.3 billion years ago and from 1.3 billion light years away, is believed to have caused an incredibly small .2 second distortion in incredibly sensitive instruments 1.3 billion years later. Thinks that make you say ??? The comment on the timing of the readings from far apart locations is intriguing. Again, how often can we expect to receive and analyze such events?

    • David A

      How often? Well, more often the further we look back. What is the “sampling area” of LIGO? Answer – distance away of detected event, squared, x 4, x pi. It’s the area of the sphere emitting signals to us from a time past corresponding to the sphere radius in lightyears.

      So was it a fluke that LIGO detected the black hole collision shortly after being switched on? If you survey a “surface” of space with an area of a billion squared x 4 x pi lightyears, the very rare can become quite common.

      As someone commented above – such signals of extraordinary cosmic events will likely be detected quite frequently in the days ahead – confounding the doubters of this fantastic scientific invention – or maybe just driving them further into exotic conspiracy-land.

      • belousov, thank you, however, by my saying…
        “The comment on the timing of the readings from far apart locations is intriguing”…
        I was not referring to how quickly they made those successful readings, but that two identical detections were made, the timing of which corresponded to how fast gravity waves (speed of light apparently) travels between those two points of detection. Never the less, your answer on the size of the field surveyed is informative in a different respect.

      • And the best of all: because the two site have opposite orientations [on purpose] we would expect the signal to be inverted at the other site, which it actually was.

      • We are all skeptical [except the believers in Electric Universe and other pseudo-scientific nonsense]. So are the 1000 authors and collaborators on the direct discovery of gravitational waves. They put their skepticism to good use in weeding out all the instrumental problems before announcing their result.

      • Leif is playing you around in a very technical way so you make bigger fools of yourself. He is quite aware of the background and I suggest if you don’t want to make fools of yourself you consider carefully what is happening.

        What you call an experiment isn’t really an experiment it is a device … it moved from an experiment the moment it detected the first wave.

      • ..Grammar is not your forte’ I see ! As for Leif, he is just an arrogant ( but intelligent ) liberal that does not like other people to have opinions that differ from his!

  42. Anthony seriously talk to Lubos or a scientist you trust, you need to shut this down. Half the comments on here are going to be a field day for Lew and Co in the coming weeks.

      • So I guess Lewandowsky would ask “Do you believe the moon landing was faked?”

        Do you want to put limits on your skeptical or is it okay to be skeptical to the max of everything?

      • If some people think the Moon landings were fake, then they are free to think that and I am free to think that they are a few beers short of a six pack ! Why would you put LIMITS on being skeptical ? Who gets to decide ? YOU ?

    • Who cares what that bunch think? At least one of that bunch (seaice1@ 2:46 am) has already been here gleaning “evidence” from an anonymous commenter who’s never been seen before. If Lew and crew played it straight, there might be something to worry about, but they don’t, being propagandists.

  43. The further away – and further back in time – that LIGO looks, the more it will see.

    At 1.3 billion years ago and the same number of lightyears away, the area of space effectively being “surveyed” is 1.3 billion, squared, x 4, x pi, square lightyears.

    Thus the very rare and exceptional events can – and possibly will – become frequent observations. Stay tuned…

  44. re Paul Clark, Phodges

    What the modern-physics-is-all-wrong-and-I-am-right-based-solely-on-my-assertions crowd invariably fails to understand is how interlinked is all of physics.

    Modern GPS has to take into account both Special Relativity (SR) and General Relativity (GR) effects

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Error_analysis_for_the_Global_Positioning_System#Special_and_General_Relativity

    in order to work.

    The detection of gravitational waves only one in a long line of tests of GR:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tests_of_general_relativity

    GR has successfully passed all experimental tests to-date. That it why it continues to be the leading theory of how

    “Spacetime tells matter how to move; matter tells spacetime how to curve.”

    ~ John A. Wheeler

    Physics has always been an interplay between theory and experiment. Physics would not be science without either one. Electrical power and wire/wireless communication is based on Maxwell’s theory of electromagnetism. The transistors in our computers are designed based on condensed matter-quantum mechanics theory.

    These modern-physics-is-all-wrong-and-I-am-right-based-solely-on-my-assertions types are so common that physicists have developed a scale to rank them:

    http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/crackpot.html

    As for the cost, I’d say that compared to most projects the US taxpayers got a great deal: $1 billion to detect gravitational waves compared to, say, $1.3 billion in farm subsidies to people who don’t farm or $1 trillion plus for a plane that can barely fly.

  45. The things we’ve seen and done and learned in my lifetime…
    whatever we ultimately ascribe as the cause for this detection with our advanced/rudimentary instruments, who knows what knowledge this will lead to in future.

  46. Whilst I appreciate Leif’s answer to half of my ignorant questions, but he, and the media reports, have left me ignorant as to the actual purpose of this experiment.

    I repeat my question; IF it was to detect gravitational waves, AND they had to filter out gravitational signals from passing trucks, then clearly the experiment was a success WHEN they detected the trucks. And THAT woudl have been the biggie.

    BUT, if the purpose of the grand hyper-denouement was “to show off the sensitivity of the instrument via a phenonemon that is only explicable by a now-unobservable yet theoretically possible event, … (and by the way we measured gravitational waves from known local repeatable sources , such as a truck,) ….

    ….. it leaves me feeling that Science per se is becoming irredeemably corrupted by the chase for mere publicity.

    Now, what would REALLY restore my charity, and thus my support of funding their efforts, is if they could tell us e.g. they can detect a tree falling in the forest.

    In summary, the responsible guys have unthinkingly employed the hype-merchants with their techniques developed by the AGWologists. And so, they have made what may well be a wonderful event into a tawdry grant-justification sideshow. I mean, they make themselves detectably stupid by even the most stupid, without benefit of a Leifometer.

    • We all use Einstein’s theory every day. Modern society runs on Einstein ‘rails’, so it is important to verify that Einstein was right. The direct detection of gravitational waves is a significant step in that verification process. In addition, the discovery opens a new window on the universe. You might well have asked: “what was the purpose of inventing the telescope and looking at the heavens”. To learn and to wonder.

      In summary, the responsible guys have unthinkingly employed the hype-merchants
      Did you actually watch the announcement? There was no hype, just sober info. But it deserved hype, because this is one of the most important discovery in decades.

    • Ok layman simple answer LIGO is a new sort of telescope. We have optical telescopes, then we had radio telescopes and now we have a gravity telescope.

      So it’s something that can produce images of areas of space in a different way.

      So how do you feel about funding for optical and radio telescopes?

      • Optical and radio telescopes are proven instruments. There is no proof YET that what was detected was a gravitational wave, that is why some are SKEPTICAL !

      • You know not whereof you speak. If it looks like a duck, it waddles like a duck, it quacks like a duck, we call it a duck. The spiraling into each other, the collision, and the final ringing decay is a very specific signature of two black holes merging. And that was precisely what was observed. Many more events have already been observed. So, yes, the matter has been proven by the usual standard of what we will consider to be a proof.

      • I thought you were skeptical Marcus? With especially a radio telescope what proof was given to you I thought some scientist just told you it works?

      • Many scientist have reviewed the results over a long period of time..I really have to wonder what skin you both have in this game ! Your hostility to anyone that doesn’t agree with you is very suspicious !

    • Leif, thanks again for your response. I too must make it plain where my own nonscience ( aka stupidity) detector went off the scale;

      The title of this post is;

      “A triumph of science: first detection of the gravitational wave”

      But clearly, as they have had to filter out the gravitational signals from passing trucks,etc., …IT IS NOT THE FIRST !

      And if, on dehyping, the prosaic truth is that they have detected something that can only be explained by an uncorroboratable source which could be long ago and far away and invisible, or nearer and closer, or even an artefact. But, they claim the long-ago & far away & invisible source. And to be strict about it, you have to discount that,because it nobody else can see it, or will ever be able to see it.So it boils down to the fact that they are CLAIMING an improvement in their instrumental technique.

      Whilst this is a worthy claim, why LIE that it is THE FIRST? .. or at least why didn’t they prevent their PR guys from doing so? Why have they allowed themselves to be portrayed as metaphysicians, on a par with AGWologists?

      If they really want to build trust, why not show an equally impressive result from controllable masses … i.e trucks, etc.

      To mangle a metaphor: why not start with the Boojums because that way, you will avoid the Snarks.

      .

      • But clearly, as they have had to filter out the gravitational signals from passing trucks,etc., …IT IS NOT THE FIRST !
        those signals are not gravitational waves and no single truck influences measurements taken 3002 km apart. Get off your fixation.

    • Did they say they had to filter out gravitational effects from passing trucks, or was it just ground vibration effects from passing trucks.

      Many many years ago you could buy an interesting LP record called ” Out of this World ”

      One side contained audio recordings of electrical atmospheric effects caused by lightning strikes around the planet. Things called, whistlers, howlers, dawn chorus , and many others.

      The other side of the record carried seismic recordings made with a special tape recorder. The tape was run at 0.02 inches per second while seismometer signals from several locations were fed into it. Then the tape was played back at the normal speed of 7 1/2 inches per second, and the resultant now audio sound was recorded on the LP record.

      It sounded like thunder with all kinds of reverberations resulting from the seismic waves echoing around the planet. You were literally listening to the seismic acoustic properties of the earth.

      One of those seismic recording sites was somewhere in Nevada out in the boondocks. Sometimes you could hear sounds that sounded like listening to an insect chomping on some food or other and magnified up. Occasionally you could hear a whistle that sounded like about a mid piano frequency.

      The chomping sound was eventually traced to a back hoe sort of piece of heavy road machinery digging out a new road section some miles from the seismometer site, which was picking up the ground waves from the digging. The audio whistle was more of a puzzle, but when frequency shifted it came out to about one Hertz in original frequency.

      This was eventually traced to a single cylinder gasoline engine, that was running at about 60 RPM speed and driving a refrigerator compressor in a factory that made blocks of ice.

      The occasional breaks in the whistle tone turned out to occur on the weekends, when the compressor was turned off and the plant shut down for the weekend.

      So any piece of equipment like a LIGO that is extremely sensitive to mechanical vibration that disturbs a 4 km track, is going to respond to a truck passing by.

      BUT it is not detecting gravitation waves from the passing mass of the truck, it is just hearing the road noise of the vehicle, amplified to extreme levels by an instrument of incredible sensitivity.

      The stated resolution of this interferometer still astonishes me, as I try to compare that with other interferometric measurements, such as Michelson’s measurement of the standard metre bar in Paris.

      But I have learned to not reject something just because it astonishes me. I’ve heard of people using a single atom trapped by laser beams, to make an accelerometer of astronomically fast response to accelerations. Now they use a heavy atom so that it is more sensitive to gravity or accelerations, and minimize its sensitivity to the only other force of concern, any Coulomb effects.

      But with such accelerometers you could detect extremely small variations in gravity say for looking down an oil well hole for local gravity anomalies that might lead to where the oil is. And of course other things like accurate navigation.

      So I’m hoping to understand eventually just how they get all of that sensitivity.

      G

      • And they have real-time input from 200,000 channels monitoring the site, the building, the Earth, the Sun, the works, in order to detect noise above the usual background.

    • It was only determined by the time of detection between the two detectors. The result was consistent with the speed of light but to be more precise they need an exact fix on the source from a radio or optical telescope.

      The Fermi gamma ray burst of interest was within 0.4 sec timing over a distance of 1.3 billion years, which would have locked it some ridiculous fraction from c. Unfortunately they couldn’t establish scientific certainty between the two events so it will be an ongoing effort.

    • lsvalgaard on February 15, 2016 at 8:26 am

      – – – – – –

      Leif,

      Thanks for the link to the paper.

      I did a word search on the paper for terms like ‘speed’, ‘velocity’, ‘c’ and ‘rate of travel’, etc. I found no explicit statement of their observation of the speed of the gravity wave that they reported they detected.

      John

      • How about reading the paper [what a concept !]. The time delay is 6.9 milliseconds over a distance of 3002 km. Depending on the orientation of the waves the delay at the speed of light could be anything from 0 to 10 milliseconds.

      • Leif,

        I know Einstein’s theories have speed of light constraints. My question is what is their observed actual speed of the gravity wave they reported they detected.

        John

      • John, this sounds like a desperate straw man. The predicted shape depends on the speed of light and would not match the observed signal if the wave propagated at any other speed. But I’ll go further: if the gravitational wave did not go at the speed of light, THAT would be an even bigger discovery, bigger than Einstein, bigger than anything else in Physics. The least sensational claim is that such a Biggie is not in the works, so we go with that.

      • lsvalgaard on February 15, 2016 at 9:26 am

        “John, this sounds like a desperate straw man. . . . ”

        If something is a wave it has speed and amplitude and frequency. No straw man.

        Clarity for me on the observed speed of their observed gravity wave is of interest to me. Clarity I have not yet achieved, but over time I will achieve it.

        John

      • Gravitational wave, not Gravity wave. If the wave front hit perpendicular to the line connecting the two observatory the speed would be 435,000 km/sec. If it hit parallel to the line the delay would be zero for any speed. The actual speed is thus between near 0 and 435,000 km/sec, but is not a problem for the discovery. The predicted curves rely on the speed being exactly ‘c’ and since the match the observed ones so closely, there is really no wiggle room for any other value. And as I said, if the speed were not ‘c’, the discovery would be even BIGGER. Every physicist dreams about proving Einstein wrong, so far none have succeeded. On the contrary, the recent discovery [no quotes] is yet another feather in Einstein’s hat.

      • Leif, john asked a very direct question regarding the actual speed of the gravitational wave detected. Your response, “John, this sounds like a desperate straw man.” was totally uncalled for. Your answer,
        ====================================================
        “…If the wave front hit perpendicular to the line connecting the two observatory the speed would be 435,000 km/sec. If it hit parallel to the line the delay would be zero for any speed. The actual speed is thus between near 0 and 435,000 km/sec, but is not a problem for the discovery… and “the 3002 km distance traversed in 0.0069 seconds is a maximum speed of 435,000 km/sec, but since the wave probably didn’t hit straight on, the real speed would be slower”… and …The time delay is 6.9 milliseconds over a distance of 3002 km. Depending on the orientation of the waves the delay at the speed of light could be anything from 0 to 10 milliseconds”
        =========================================================
        were all informative, however the sarcasm of “How about reading the paper [what a concept !].” and the “John, this sounds like a desperate straw man.”
        are both flawed and unnecessary. There was no straw man to the simple question of. “what is their observed actual speed of the gravity wave they reported they detected.” ( If you disagree please explain the straw man. A straw man is an assertion of what someone is saying, which they are in fact not saying. A simple direct question is not a straw man.)

        Your communication would be more effective if was not so insulting and illogical. Your answer should of started out with words to the affect that “We simply do not know yet the exact speed, it is predicted to be the speed of light, and the observation so far confirms that likelihood; with new multiple detections of singular events we will be able to triangulate the signal more accurately, but all indications so far are that it will be the speed of light, followed of course by your details I quoted. Why be pompous?

      • What I read in John’s persistence was a desire to throw doubt on the discovery [John can correct me if I’m wrong on that]. When I go to the trouble of providing the link, I expect that people read it. The information needed for an assessment of the speed [the 6.9 millisecond time difference] was in the paper. If someone is really interested, the paper is the place to go to. It is not too much to ask for that the John makes an effort too to find what he seeks. Finally, it is not up to you to lecture on my behavior. Go after the issue, not after the person.

      • Leif says,
        =================================================
        “Finally, it is not up to you to lecture on my behavior. Go after the issue, not after the person.”
        =================================================
        Interesting, coming from an individual who regularly insults other individuals and groups of individuals. (The WUWT community as a whole, at times almost Mosher like) Your demeanor weakens your otherwise rational arguments, and I will lecture lecturer’s when I choose. (We all get what we deserve correct?)

        My decision to “lecture” you is indeed influenced by your consistent hypocrisy in following your own advice. and by the fact that I see this as making your communication ineffective, which is a shame as you have a great deal of knowledge. There have been many informative comments by others that did not resort to your snark. (Peter Sable for instance)

        John Whitman asked a simple direct question. He already told you what he meant by it here… https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/02/14/a-triumph-of-science-first-detection-of-the-gravitational-wave/comment-page-1/#comment-2145657

      • Well, some people get a kick out of doing what you are doing. Instead of bringing some science to the table, they wallop in personal attacks. Your ilk is best ignored.

      • Oh, and BTW, John told you he had searched the paper and not found a clear answer. Instead of clarifying to him how and why that was correct, and confirming that further triangulation was required, yet, etc… you chastised him about his understandable and correct confusion that an exact propagation speed was not yet confirmed.

        I looked for but have not yet found a listing of exactly what other possible signals were accounted for. I was curious if for instance atmospheric pressure would influence the phase harmony in such incredibly small measurements. But teachers such as your self actually discourage questions and a love of learning.

      • I was curious if for instance atmospheric pressure would influence the phase harmony in such incredibly small measurements.
        The legs are in an ultrahigh vacuum.

      • Actually Leif I was not talking of that change, but of the ability of disparate atmospheric change to affect the deformation of land. Over the ocean changes in air pressure from extreme high to extreme low can, excluding other factors, change sea level by well over one meter. http://weather.mailasail.com/Franks-Weather/Pressure-And-Tides The affect on the land is of course much smaller, but then again we are talking incredibly small measurements. So I was considering the possibility that atmospheric pressure changes could affect the land beneath the the experiment, just as I would think lunar earth tidal forces would, only of course to a much smaller degree.

    • LdB on February 15, 2016 at 8:47 am

      – – – – – – –

      LdB,

      Thanks for the discussion.

      It just seems to me that the speed of the gravity wave that the said they detected is necessary info if they did indeed detected the wave.

      So, I seek a clear statement of the speed of the gravity wave which they reported they detected.

      John

      • the 3002 km distance traversed in 0.0069 seconds is a maximum speed of 435,000 km/sec, but since the wave probably didn’t hit straight on, the real speed would be slower. The theory says the speed of light and that is that. When we have one more LIGO in place we can triangulate and get a better determination, but there is no reason to doubt that the speed is precisely ‘c’.

      • Leif,

        Yes, Einstein’s theory says the gravity wave should be at the speed of light. I am interested in what speed did the gravity wave they observed have.

        John

      • distance 3002 km. Delay 0.0069 seconds. 3002/0.0069 = 435,000 km/sec. This is if the wave front is perpendicular to the line connecting the two sites. If at an angle the speed is less, e.g. 299,792 km /sec. You can even [maybe] calculate the angle from this. Think before you comment.

      • 435,000 km/sec would breach one of boundary conditions ( 0 and 299,792 km/s).
        So let’s have a go.
        The lowest frequency was 35 Hz for the initial part of the wave, the wavelength lambda = c/f =299,792,000/35 = 8,562,857m = 8,500km
        Distance between two places is 3002km , which means the wavelength is 2.85 x distance.
        This would give a minimum delay 0 ms for perpendicular wave front) and maximum delay 1/2.85f = 10ms (for parallel wf).
        They measured 6.9ms, giving the angle of wave front impact of about 46.5 degrees.
        At least these numbers make sense.
        From the above (if correct) it should be possible to calculate distance, and than when the event took place, I don’t know if those numbers are quoted in the paper (lot of noisy statistic in there).
        Perhaps next project.

      • Explanation: perpendicularly moving wave front would hit both places at the same time, parallel moving wave front would hit two places with a maximum delay of one wavelength, wave travels in direction of the line connecting two places.

    • Presumably using distance H1-L1 (page4) and phase difference between two signals propagating at speed of light, by using triangulation one could find distance of the event. Now knowing distance and using c, it can be determined when the event took place. If it was more than 14.5 billion or less than a day earlier, their calculations would be wrong. Since there are three variables mutually dependant, velocity of propagation, distance and time, I assume they had no choice but to accept that the gravitational wave propagates at velocity equal to that of light.
      I stand to be corrected.

      • vukcevic on February 15, 2016 at 9:20 am

        – – – – – – – –

        vukcevic,

        I do not know yet if their observed speed of the observed gravity wave is important in their ‘discovery’, in the sense of important where it may represent unexpected knowledge predicted by Einstein’s theory. I am asking questions and looking at the paper and at comments here to find out.

        John

      • Mr. Whitman
        Answers at 9.10 and 9.26 to your question led me to believe you might not get any further, and I honestly thought my comment might help. I shall not interfere again, I’m in enough trouble as it is.
        With regards.
        m.v.

      • lsvalgaard February 15, 2016 at 10:09 am
        He’ll get what he deserves as everybody else.

        Doc am going to say a pray for St Peter.

        Funny if anyone had looked at any seismic records for earthquakes they would have seen that there are TWO waves. kind of hard to mistake. Now as to Clyde & Cletus both firing up their their newly re built 1967 Pontiac Firebirds at the exact time, AND leaving 175 feet of rubber, well,,I’m more skeptical of that. Simple fact being just to start the engine is longer then 1/5 second. And both would have different preferences as to parts suppliers. and fuel
        Last to those pointing out previous Oops, no one wakes up it the morning and says “Gee I want to ruin my career.
        The boys and girls who worked on this project put their all into it. They are not rent seekers. They are not taking data others compiled and rewriting it to show what they want. They are the Pioneers. Cut them some slack. They deserve the benefit of the doubt in at lease that they have done their job right and with integrity

        Myself I cross my fingers and hope they got it right. They worked hard.

        michael

      • vukcevic, you really think he’d make it to the Pearly Gates ? I was thinking probably the other gates, where his rude comments would be gleefully accepted !

    • Svalgard,

      re your 9.07

      “those signals are not gravitational waves ”

      I asked you the difference between gravity waves and gravitational waves, upthread.

      Try reading what you are replying to.

      It would make you look as if you actually understood what is being communicated to you..

      • Google is your friend. Are you too lazy to just look it up:
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravity_wave
        “In fluid dynamics, gravity waves are waves generated in a fluid medium or at the interface between two media when the force of gravity or buoyancy tries to restore equilibrium.”
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravitational_wave
        “In physics, gravitational waves are ripples in the curvature of spacetime which propagate as waves, travelling outward from the source”

      • Svalgard,

        This post headline says ; “A triumph of science: first detection of the gravitational wave”

        Despite your claimed literality, you still haven’t answered the question:

        Was this, or was this not, the FIRST detection of a disturbance in the gravitational field ( aka a ‘wave’).?

      • Your question is ill-posed. A gravitational wave is not just a disturbance in the gravitational field of a body. I gave you links to the definition of a gravitational wave. Did you read it? And the first direct observation made here on the Earth in a laboratory was indeed made on 14 Sept. 2015. The first indirect observation was made back in 1974, but some people try to ward off such inconvenient facts by saying that that was not a ‘real’ observation. They no longer have that excuse.
        BTW, the Earth in its orbit about the Sun is also giving off gravitational waves to the tune of 200 Watt.

      • Svalgaard,

        “….. the first direct observation made here on the Earth in a laboratory was indeed made on 14 Sept. 2015”.

        So, at last, you agree that the claim of being the FIRST detection of gravitational waves is WRONG.

        It has been like pulling teeth to educate you in detecting truth from hype. , …but it has been worth the effort to have you admit to actually bringing yourself to agreeing wth me.

        And BTW, a moving truck really will emanate gravitational waves … as does your handwaving,

      • The event on 14 Sept, 2015 was the FIRST direct observation of a gravitational wave by an instrument here on Earth. This we can agree on. Most people would consider that important for the reality of the event, in contrast to the indirect inference of 40 years ago.

      • Doc
        Ligo said it started on 18th of September. (scroll to the ens of the web page)
        we do not need ‘ligogate’ and I hope that it turns out to be OK after all, but detailed explanations are required.

      • Nothing is ‘required’. No need to try and sow mistrust. The information is there if you look.

        “GW150914 occurred on September 14, 2015 09:50:45 UTC, 28 days into the eighth engineering run (ER8)z, 3 days into stable data collection with an accurate calibration, and 4 days preceding the scheduled start of the first observing run (O1). After the event was identified as a highly significant candidate, the software and hardware configuration of each LIGO detector was held fixed until enough coincident data had been collected to set a sufficiently accurate upper bound on the false-alarm rate using the time-shift technique described above. It took roughly six weeks to collect the required 16 days of coincident data because low noise operation of the detectors is disrupted by noisy environmental conditions (such as storms, earthquakes, high ground motion, or anthropogenic noise sources). During this six week period we only performed non-invasive maintenance that was required for instrument stability.”

        So, take you conspiratory theories elsewhere.

  47. SO, an event in a distant galaxy has ripped an internet comments thread apart.
    This could have such serious repercussions that the resultant explosion of fury may exceed the energy of the original event.
    Clearly the inverse square law does not apply here.
    We might as well have dropped both black holes into WUWT and destroyed the thread directly.
    Maybe, at some point in millions of years this thread bust-up will be registered by a bust-up-interferometer-detector-array in a galaxy far far away… :)

  48. The idea of the gravitational waves was borrowed from the french mathematician Henri Poincaré. Einstein later developped and gave sound bases to this theory.

    • Let’s see: thoretician comes up with conjecture, develops into a theory, which is then mathematically modeled to make certain predictions, which are then tested. Some rather quickly (sun bends light from distant star) and some (gravity waves) that are incredibly hard and take a long time (and are still subject to challenge). Sounds like science to me. When are our friends in the Climate Commune going to try this approach? For me, I’m not holding my breath …

  49. I am an engineer and can appreciate the decades of engineering that went into LIGO. Sounds solid to me. And their model (via Einstein’s equations) matches exactly what they saw – at two places simultaneously. The size and info about the merger can come from the two identical waveforms via the equations. This is fantastic good science. Would the CAGW people could replicate it! But two black holes rotating/merging 1B light years away is a MUCH simpler system to model than our climate. I am really amazed at the “skepticism” about the solid science and engineering in this accomplishment.

  50. Daughter has been to the LIGO facility down here on a school field trip. I didn’t even know it was in our parish despite being in the next town over. I’m proud it’s real science they are working on over there.

  51. Lief stated …

    “We are all skeptical [except the believers in Electric Universe and other pseudo-scientific nonsense]. So are the 1000 authors and collaborators on the direct discovery of gravitational waves. They put their skepticism to good use in weeding out all the instrumental problems before announcing their result.”

    It’s worth noting that Wal Thornhill is one of the better skeptics, and is oftentimes the ONLY skeptic speaking up on a variety of astrophysical topics. Their group of course also follows in the footsteps of Hannes Alfven, who you claim to know, and who was of course one of the greatest astrophysical skeptics to ever live.

    Your own comment, Lief, proposes that those who would have us model cosmic plasma like laboratory plasma phenomena (as having an E-field, a dynamic B-field and small electrical resistance) are pseudoscientists. Yet, when researchers conjecture that two black holes have merged very far away, and that this generated a waveform that is quite plainly far too small to observe given the modern accuracy of mirrors, you are nevertheless sure it is right.

    How exactly does a person weed out all of the instrumental problems? How exactly does one exclude a TRANSIENT signal from the Earth’s core? The only way would be to actually localize the source of the event in space — which they’ve yet to do. So, why not demand that they do so before declaring that you believe them?

    • It’s worth noting that Wal Thornhill is one of the better skeptics
      He is one of the better crackpots. Albeit sometimes a convincing one for the uninitiated.

      Hannes Alfven, who you claim to know, and who was of course one of the greatest astrophysical skeptics to ever live
      Unfortunately, times have moved on and Hannes were wrong on many things. You would do well to be skeptical of some of his theories. His everlasting fame is to show that in cosmic plasmas, the magnetic field is frozen hard to the matter; only when the length scale becomes small enough can the frozen-in condition be broken and electric currents generated with all the effects that only electricity can give you.

  52. Re: “And their model (via Einstein’s equations) matches exactly what they saw – at two places simultaneously.”

    I would not read too much into this. Anybody who regularly reads this site should already understand that models can be designed in service of the expected outcome. In fact, that was much of the point of the Miles Mathis piece posted above.

  53. Michelson-Morley exponentiated .

    It’s important to remember that the geometry is defined by the equations so I dislike even the categorization into waves and particles .

  54. For those of you who are signal processing nerds like myself, I recommend reading this detail on how they determined the signal from the noise:

    https://dcc.ligo.org/LIGO-P1500238/public/main

    This paper is properly written – they outline all the ways they can think of that they might be wrong, and then showed how they they proved they were correct.

    Peter

  55. To all of the scientists on this board: I am as skeptical of this as I am about any newly touted scientific discovery. I am suspicious here because a bunch of scientists suddenly want to upgrade their equipment and need another government grant to do so. You can thank the CAGW crowd for that. After all, what better way to grease the skids when applying for a government grant than to do so after announcing a great success. I’m also suspicious because the MSM is touting this as the discovery of a century. Nothing new there at all.

    Note that I am still willing to wait to see if this discovery is replicated and that it can be proven that they are measuring what they say they are measuring. I believe this is called the scientific method. Then I will get excited about this. I love reading about new scientific discoveries.

    I am posting my opinion because I am quite sure a rather large number of fellow Americans feel the same way at this point. CAGW alarmists really have damaged the reputation of science.

    • rather large number of fellow Americans feel the same way
      That, and combined with the generally low level of scientific literacy [e.g. about evolution and modern cosmology]

      • Let me try this again. Understanding laser interferometry does not require a PhD. Also, I am not skeptical about the science and engineering. The concepts don’t require that I sit and ponder them for days.

        I am skeptical because so many scientists have already sold their souls for political and monetary gain. There is a good English word for that. It’s called corruption. I don’t doubt their instruments detected something. I’m willing to let the scientific method determine whether this so-called discovery is real. It’s a little early to break out the champagne and celebrate.

      • I briefly scanned the paper you referred us to Leif (thanx for that). I will have to print it out to be able to really digest it, but I do have some queries about the system.

        First off is that the interferometer laser operating wavelength is about 1 micron. My understanding of the Michelson Interferometer, is that the interference fringes are basically sinusoidal (in amplitude) but also in Power with an offset. So with sinusoidal intensity fringes, it begs the question of how small a phase difference can one resolve.

        A principle advantage of the Fabry Perot Interferometer, which is multibeam interference, is that the fringes can be very much sharper than for the Michelson, so perhaps offering finer resolution.

        So it seems they are somehow resolving an extremely small phase shift in their interferometers.

        Then it seems, that I picked up from one of the announcements (not in the actual paper perhaps) that the interferometer mirrors have something like 25 nm deviations from plane. Now I thought that laser optical flats could readily be made accurate to geometry to 1/100 wavelength which for the 1 micron YAG laser would be 10 nm.

        So it seems to me that a 25 nm roughness for these super special optics, just doesn’t sound right. That 25 nm number I believe I read here (WUWT) with some description of having to “average”, whatever that means.

        So I’m thinking that these mirrors are a darn side better than any 25 nm.

        Having at one time wrung out most of the gremlins in a one cm quartz space Fabry-Perot Etalon, and got better than 1 ppm measurements on some Neon spectrum lines, I can appreciate the fantastic resolution that they must be getting out of their 4km Michelsons. Damned if I know how they are achieving that, but it sure is a heck of an achievement.

        G

    • ..Sorry Ernest, on this thread it’s seems that if you do not agree with lsvalgaardo exactly, right now, 100%, then you are considered an uneducated and worthless hillbilly !! ( see above ) I happen to agree with YOUR comment !

    • Well Ernest, you sound as though for you, reading about new scientific discoveries is an alternative to banging your head on a wall to quiet the buzz in your ears. It doesn’t sound like it is enjoyable for you.

      I can say, that I viewed the hunt for the Higgs Boson with a jaundiced eye, because it seemed to me, that according to the theorists it was the end of the road anyway. And it was not clear to me that any practical use could come from having one. Other than perhaps completing a structure (of fundamental matter) . As it happens, very shortly after their announcement of success, I had the opportunity to enjoy multiple train rides with many of the CERN Physicists, because CERN is the starting point for the Meyrin train track, and the very next stop heading into Geneva, was right in front of the front door om My sister’s apartment, where she lived for 35 years (never telling that CERN was “just down the road”). I asked those fellow riders what comes next, and they just shrugged, and said ” We don’t know ” but they are going to build a bigger machine anyway.

      But that seems to me to be an entirely different animal than this Gravitational Wave detection. First off, I do believe that this discovery will be confirmed in some form or another to the satisfaction of anyone with a reasonable background in Physics.

      But what has been discovered, is a whole new communication channel and spectrum that goes from who knows where to who knows where else.

      When I put this announcement, and the Hubble Deep Field photograph together, it boggles my mind as to what we suddenly have to look forward to finding out there; because this certainly isn’t the only gravitational even to happen in the last billion years. There is ” stuff ” going on all over the place out there, and we just got a new channel on our radio to listen to. I can see why scientists in Dr. S’s field are excited.

      The universe is much weirder than we can even imagine, and we are going to find that out.

      So I don’t mind if this machine gets upgraded from a PDP-8 to a 64 bit machine, so to speak; I really do think it is worth it.

      If I get to retire, I think I’m going to enjoy reading about all the new stuff out there in the boondocks.

      G

      • OK, so I read the entire paper that Dr. Svalgaard referred us to; even read the entire list of 1,000 authors. I didn’t stop in the middle to check the various papers referenced; but I think I will go back and look for some specific ones.

        But I think I got a handle on one of my puzzle queries; the interference waveform of the Michelson Interferometer.

        Now the Fabry-Perot Etalon I referred to that I played with in my youth is a plano-parallel cavity that creates multiple beams that combine and mutually interfere. If the plano plates are slightly off parallel (wedged) then a reflected beam after a round trip between the two mirrors, will arrive back at the start laterally shifted, and so will the next one, until the beam will walk right out of the aperture of the plates. The beam only continues to reflect back and forth indefinitely, if the two mirrors are mathematically exactly parallel.

        Well it is very well known to laser folks (I’m a sort of one of those) that the plano plano cavity is an unstable resonator. Almost impossible to make a laser such as a gas laser with two exactly parallel plane mirrors.

        So laser resonant cavities will tend to have at least one of the two mirrors curved (spherical). A very common small He-Ne laser cavity consists of one plane mirror, and one concave spherical mirror, with its center of curvature lying on the plane mirror. The spherical mirror is invariably 100% reflecting, as near as can be obtained, while the plane mirror is slithly transparent, so you can get an output from it. The plane mirror corresponds to where the plane Gaussian Beam waist is located, so it is the point where the laser beam has the smallest diameter. You can make a laser twice as long, with two identical concave mirrors.
        Anyhow, laser book show the whole gamut of two mirror resonators and shows which are stable and which are unstable.

        Now some semiconductor lasers that are made with cleaved end surface on the die are plano plano, but the non homogeneous doping of the material makes them not optically unstable, which is why they work at all.

        So Back to LIGO. It is clear that they have designed their Michelson interferometer, so that each arm is in fact a stable optical resonator cavity, so they apparently do in fact achieve a multiple beam interference, which has the same sharp interference spikes that the Fabry -Perot has.

        That is very clever to say the least.

        They don’t say what those resonant cavity mirrors are other than they are massive Quartz slabs.
        So the two mirrors also seem to form something akin to a gravitational wave dipole antenna.

        So hopefully there will be plenty of papers describing this apparatus, and I’m sure they will be of great curiosity and interest to laser engineers. I’ll have to back and read my laser handbook, and see if there is information on the relative noisiness, of the various stable laser resonator configurations, because if there is such a spectrum, you can bet that these guys know all about it.

        The whole paper is amazingly readable for such a complex undertaking. I did flash over some of the later sections, but I got a pretty good feeling for what they were doing, with just one reading. So people should read that paper, because it gives a good feel, for just how carefully they have crossed the eyes and dotted the tees.

        I don’t have an at my fingertips understanding of what their waveform outputs are doing, but I think that is in the relativity aspects of the system, so I would have to bone up a bit, because I know as much about General Relativity and gravitation as I know about Quantum mechanics.

        But I think I have a better feel for the optics of this gizmo.

        G

  56. “…because the MSM is touting this as the discovery of a century.”

    Well, maybe in the astronomy of the 21st century, since we are only 15 years into it. If the 9th giant planet is sighted, that would be the greater, since it could be a staging (refuelling) stop on the way out of the solar system, while the gravitational wave being on the border of abstract, since it is so feeble and of no practical use. Hubble telescope is by far more important, by a number of magnitudes.

      • My very first Physics (radio-physics) text book, I was reading while other kids my age were still learning their 12 times tables in grade school.

        The title: ” The Admiralty Handbook of Wireless Telegraphy. ” All about spark transmitters, and coherer detectors (of Hertzian waves), even rotating machinery was used on Naval vessels to generate alternating currents to feed into whatever passed for an antenna in those days.
        The book also contained some atomic physics, in order to understand how electricity worked in metals.

        So naturally, the atomic properties of copper were of interest and discussed in detail. The copper atom was depicted according to the ” Plum Pudding ” model of atoms that was then in vogue.

        The copper atom had a nucleus containing 63 protons and 36 electrons. That nucleus was surrounded by the plum pudding made of nobody knew what. Embedded in the pudding there were an additional 29 electrons, some of which could detach from the pudding and float about to form an electric current.

        The Admiralty Handbook; at least the first volume of it, was first published in 1938. No I didn’t get a prepublication signed edition.

        1938 was the year that Chadwick discovered the neutron, and put the kibosh on the plum pudding model of atomic structure.

        The Bohr Sommerfeld atom of course came before that, and explained the Hydrogen atom spectrum, but physicists were still puzzled by the atomic number, atomic weight discrepancy.

        This new observation and its technology isn’t much different except for scale from Chadwick’s discovery of the neutron.

        It’s still too early to know what else lies under the rock these folks have just overturned; but I’m sure some of us will look back and think ; Remember when they first announced the detection of Einstein gravitational waves.

        G

    • Fox News produced a several minutes long video about this announcement, which ran on many of their programs. So did other news organizations. That’s about the same amount of time devoted to the possible 9th large planet.

  57. Do we have any idea how many gravitational wave refugees we’ll be dealing with in 10 years? Has Dr. Mann discovered a correlation between tree rings, human released carbon and gravitational waves? Is the U.N. doing anything about this?

  58. And, of course we have the obligatory “woman in charge” placed there via PC. Position “given” not via any other reason than possessing the “right” organ and taking credit for it all. What a complete joke science has become.

    • Christian – are you really in a position to know the credentials and abilities of the woman in question? Or are you making unjustified assumptions based on prejudice?

  59. A sailing friend works on the project in Washington State. We have been observed consuming ethanol when we are safely ashore. Last fall after a few jello shots he shared that he was giddy about events at work but a lot of work remained before he could publicly talk about it.

    My life’s work involved the practical application of converting mass to energy. It is not a theory anymore. Two aspects that help identify junk science. Fear mongering and things that sound too good to be true. CAGW and radiation are fearmongering. Energy scams that require large investment to get ‘free’ energy is an example of the latter.

    This is not to say science does not involve risk and cost money. Of course everything does.

  60. For those who haven’t actually learned any general relativity (most here, I suspect from the posts) there are a few things worth pointing out about the main article, and many similar press coverages:

    Opening sentence – “For the first time, scientists have observed ripples in the fabric of spacetime called gravitational waves.”

    Gravitational waves were observed (albeit indirectly) by Taylor and Hulse as far back as 1974. They received a Nobel Prize in 1993 for their work. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PSR_B1913%2B16

    LIGO would also work for, say, a pair of orbiting neutron stars … in fact, for any violent merger of a strongly gravitating system. The “mystical” nature of black holes, their misunderstood singularities, and any other “odd” features – factual or ignorance-based nonsense, is not of significance when it comes to gravitational waves.

    That gravitational waves exist is a given, according to relativity, is not the big deal here. (If the Sun were to mysteriously disappear, the Earth would continue in its orbit for 8 minutes 20 seconds around “nothing” until the information that the Sun was no longer there arrived… via gravitational waves). The fact that their weak “ebb” can be detected and that measurements are in accordance with theoretical calculations, is the big deal here. LIGO, LISA, BICEP2 and similar instruments may provide a whole new set of tools to probe the universe and reveal details hitherto simply not observable on the electromagnetic spectrum – gravitational wave astronomy.

    “The detection of gravitational waves marks the beginning of a new way of observing the universe” – indeed!

    More detailed resources here: http://arxiv.org/ftp/gr-qc/papers/0211/0211084.pdf

    • Thanks for trying to inject some sanity. After reading some of the comments, I was about to go relativisticly ballistic, possibly generating my own gravity waves.

    • “(If the Sun were to mysteriously disappear, the Earth would continue in its orbit for 8 minutes 20 seconds around “nothing” until the information that the Sun was no longer there arrived… via gravitational waves”
      I’m sorry, but that isn’t correct, is it? The earth is attracted to where the sun is NOW, not where it was 500 seconds ago. The earth accelerates to a point 20 arc seconds in front of the visible location of the sun – where the sun will appear to be in 8.3 minutes.
      Neptune is attracted to where the sun is NOW, not to where it was 15,000 seconds ago. Gravitational attraction is virtually instantaneous. If the planets were not attracted to the sun’s instantaneous position, they would be drifting away. They aren’t.

      • @Matt Schilling

        “Gravitational attraction is virtually instantaneous.”

        That means at the speed of light. It takes that amount of time (8min 20sec) for the Earth to “feel” any change from the Sun.

      • You are incorrect. First, obviously “instantaneous” does not mean “at the speed of light”. More importantly, the earth would “feel” the absence of the sun’s gravity instantly, not in 8.33 minutes.
        The earth is NOT attracted to where the sun appears in the sky; it is attracted to a point 20 arc seconds in front of where the sun appears in the sky – where the sun will appear to be in 8.33 minutes.
        Photons arriving from the sun do not travel on a path parallel to the line of attraction between the sun and earth.

      • Matt Schilling writes “The earth is attracted to where the sun is NOW, not where it was 500 seconds ago.”

        The Earth has no idea the sun exists. It reacts to the vector sum of all forces acting upon it. The gravitational attraction of the sun is largely time invariant and is exerted everywhere. So whether the Earth is experiencing the sun’s gravity instantaneously or after an 8 minute delay makes no difference because either way the force vector is exactly the same.

        I believe if the sun vanished, we would not know it for 8 minutes and that includes its gravitational force.

        As always, you are free to think something else.

      • The planets in our solar system revolve around the sun. They are influenced by each other’s gravity, but they revolve around the sun. It is, after all, the “solar” system – 98% of the mass of the solar system resides in the Sun.
        Light from the sun takes 15,000 seconds to reach Neptune. Yet, Neptune is attacted to the current position of the Sun, not to where it was 15,000 seconds ago. We can tell this from its actual orbit – if Neptune and the Sun were attracted to old, incorrect locations, Neptune’s orbit would be affected measurably. No such effect has been observed. There is no aberration of gravity in our solar system akin to the aberration of light.

      • “Light from the sun takes 15,000 seconds to reach Neptune. Yet, Neptune is attacted to the current position of the Sun, not to where it was 15,000 seconds ago. We can tell this from its actual orbit – if Neptune and the Sun were attracted to old, incorrect locations, Neptune’s orbit would be affected measurably. No such effect has been observed. There is no aberration of gravity in our solar system akin to the aberration of light.”

        Sorry, but you are incorrect. If the Sun were to (somehow) mysteriously move or disappear, it would take Neptune 15,000 seconds to find out about it. Basic relativity.

      • Good heavens!

        “Neptune is attacted to the current position of the Sun, not to where it was 15,000 seconds ago. We can tell this from its actual orbit “

        Where exactly was the sun 15,000 seconds ago?

      • “Good heavens!” was a good pun Michael 2.
        You asked where the sun was 15,000 seconds ago? Not where it appeared to be in the sky. The aberration of light is not a new or arcane concept. The earth is falling toward a point 20 arc seconds in front of where the Sun appears in the sky – to where the sun is, yet won’t appear to be, for 500 seconds. The gap grows wider for the more distant planets.

      • Matt Schilling wrote: “You asked where the sun was 15,000 seconds ago? Not where it appeared to be in the sky.”

        My daughter once insisted there was no air. I decided that in due time when it became necessary and useful to understand the properties of air that she would then learn about air. That came with swimming lessons.

        Until then, I spared myself the ordeal of trying to teach her about air.

        Or you about planets, gravity and cosmology.

      • in response to Matt Schilling:

        I see where you’ve obtained your astronomy.

        https://www.libertariannews.org/2012/11/27/does-the-earth-circle-the-sun-the-real-answer-may-surprise-you/

        Some of his other marvelous inventions and ideas: Free energy is here — only 2.8 million dollars per megawatt! (his idea of “free” and mine differ widely). https://www.libertariannews.org/2016/01/27/free-energy-is-here/ follow the link: “Brilliant Light Power has developed a commercially competitive, nonpolluting source of energy from water. A SunCell™ catalytically converts H2O-based solid fuel directly into brilliant light which is converted to electricity using photovoltaic panels.” (a sucker is born every minute).

        The problem with your analysis is confusing the apparent motion of the sun as a changing angle relative to the rotating surface of the Earth with actual movement of the center of gravity of the solar system.

        An observer of the solar system positioned somewhere above the ecliptic, he observes that the sun does not move. The Earth is attracted to its actual, permanent, unchanging location and it doesn’t make the slightest difference whether that attracting force reached Earth’s orbit instantaneously, or at the speed of light, or at any other speed so long as it does eventually get there.

        Likewise a photon emitted by the sun has a return vector that must necessarily point directly to the sun because it cannot point anywhere else. The ray points to the sun.

        Photons are not raindrops. http://cseligman.com/text/history/bradley.htm

        You can speed through photons as fast as you like, you’ll get some redshift or blueshift, but their vectors must always point back to the source — and it makes no difference that it was 8 minutes ago because the source is not moving. Where it was 8 minutes ago is where it is right now. The angle formed by that ray and the surface of the earth changes, but that change is inconsequential to gravity, since just as parts of Earth are turning away from the Sun, other parts are turning toward the Sun.

        Let us imagine the Earth so far away it takes 12 hours for sunlight to reach Earth. Shall I assume therefore that where the sun “seems” to be is actually on the wrong side of Earth, away from the sun? Are the outer planets illuminated on their “dark sides”? That would be absurd!

        Since all of the planets are illuminated by the sun on the sunny side, the apparent position of the sun must necessarily also be the actual position of the sun because the vectors of the photons must point directly back to their source, and it is not moving! So if it takes 12 hours for the photons to get to the outer planets, that’s okay because the sun is exactly where it was when it emitted them 12 hours earlier.

        To think otherwise must necessarily invoke an “ether” that is fixed in space, defines the meaning of “fixed” and everything travels through it. If that is your belief, well, there’s probably no harm in it.

      • Michael 2, I had never before heard of libertariannews.com, prior to your comment below.
        I appreciate the link to the article on proof the earth is moving through space, I enjoyed that article very much.
        Your libertarian link did quote the late Dr. Tom Van Flandern, whom I have read. Van Flandern argues for gravity as a force acting at tremendous speed – much faster than the speed of light. He also argues against gravity arising from the curvature of space. Placing a ball on a slope, even a slippery slope, in no way implies the ball will roll down that slope. In fact, objects at rest tend to stay at rest, so a ball placed on a slope, even a steep and slippery slope, ought to stay where it is put. Yet, something causes the ball to roll down the slope. That cause is gravity. Therefore, gravity is not the slope. Gravity is other than / more than the curvature of space.

  61. Gravitational waves are relevant to the climate science problem but the connection is with the early gravitational wave research done 50 years ago. At that time, Joe Weber published a number of articles showing the detection of gravitational waves. Those observations were not replicated by others and eventually discredited. A good book on this is “Gravity’s Shadow” by Harry Collins.

    The mistakes that Weber made (in the new field of gravitational wave astronomy) were quite similar to the mistakes made more recently in the new field of climate science. The first was an abuse of statistics. Weber tuned his analysis until he achieved a “discovery”. This is similar to the climate science practice of tuning models to match climate history. Achieving a match this way proves nothing. Eventually climate science will realize this and will quit making this mistake. That moment will be delayed, as it was in Weber’s case, by the desire to avoid unpleasant admissions of error. With the LIGO experiment, the tuning is done on “playground data”, that is, it is done on data that is not used as part of the announcement of a result.

    A second mistake by Weber was a failure to use “double blind” analysis. This concept came from medicine. One doesn’t let the experimenters know whether or not the data they’re working on is fake or real. LIGO does this by arranging for fake black hole data to be secretly fed into the apparatus with only a few people (of the thousand or so) aware of it. The other scientists can’t know if the data is fake or not so they treat it as if it were real. Just before the publication of data, a “box” is opened and the team finds out whether they were on a practice run or a real discovery. If it’s faked, then they have to rewrite the papers and instead of announcing a discovery, they announce a successful (one hopes) fake discovery. And if the team misses the fake data? That would show that they have a problem with the analysis.

    The LIGO experiment was desigend with full knowledge of the historic failures of gravitational wave detection. For this reason, it has been very carefully designed to avoid these pitfalls. I personally have no doubt that a signal was detected and that the signal came from some sort of “black hole” merger. That is, the merger of high gravitation objects whether they’re black holes or not. To see if the waves emitted match general relativity predictions accurately will require the detection of thousands of more such mergers. And with the construction of more gravitational wave observatories, and with the steady improvement in their sensitivity, I’ve no doubt at all that these detections will arrive in the next few years.

    It wasn’t just gravitational wave science that experienced these sorts of failures. They were also found in elementary particle physics. An effect that is very strong in climate science today is that scientists tend to publish “results that confirm previous studies” more than they publish “results that disconfirm previous studies”. So if the first measurement of the attribute of an elementary particle is far from correct, the follow-up studies will not ignore this result. Instead they will tend to be closer to it than to the correct result. And it is only after a series of measurements that truth is approached. Part of the effect is due to experimenters knowing that their results are different from expected and looking around for “corrections” to improve their results. One avoids this by double blinding the experiment. This problem has happened enough times in elementary particle experimental results that the official particle data group “PDG” keeps a set of the graphs on its website. These are a warning, “use double blinding when doing science, etc”:
    http://pdg.lbl.gov/2015/reviews/rpp2014-rev-history-plots.pdf

    Climate science will eventually recognize its failings in bad statistics, model manipulation without double blinding, etc., and will also become a real science.

    • Thanks, Carl, for this comment. If I have understood all this, the gravitational waves should have a specific signature. Black holes or other massive bodies may merge but they cannot de-merge. If the signal would show a decreasing amplitude and frequency, would that be explained away as a false positive caused by earth quakes, passing trains or fakery? Would alternative explanations be tried with equal force for wanted and unwanted signals? Are you sure that in the double-blind experiment the success signal of the black hole merger was presented in mirror image to some physicists? If so, was that mirror signal rejected because of its signature? In a real double-blind experiment a random number generator should present fifty percent of all signals in mirror image. We may tell that to the physicists. Double blind means that neither I nor the physicists know the key, kept secret in a safe. Anyhow, the LIGO data may contain a straightforward falsification of the whole idea. In the years to come not one real signal should have the wrong signature. Very exciting.

    • Carl, very interesting and informative post. However, are you aware of any instance where an error, such as the Weber mistake, has withstood massive investigation and input of research effort? Many cases I can think of the error was an assumption that become recieved wisdom, but based on very little evidence. When the assumption was scrutinised, evidence rapidly overwhelmed the prior error. Examples are H. pylori and plate tectonics. Others are errors that propagated for a time because of publication bias for positive results – such as cold fusion.

      In the case of climate, there was if anything an assumption that man could not affedct the climate. It was only when a significant research effort was directed at this that AGW was taken seriously. SInce then, a massive amount oif research has failed to overturn what has become the accepted theory. There are no similar examples from history that I am aware of.

      • “Carl, very interesting and informative post. However, are you aware of any instance where an error, such as the Weber mistake, has withstood massive investigation and input of research effort?” Yes, the examples from particle physics are examples of this. Climate science is a little special because of the incredible amount of politics that is going into it. It is also special in that it is extremely difficult to obtain data. That is, we have “good” climate data only for the last few decades but we’re trying to understand a system that oscillates on every time scale from hourly out to 100,000 years. So climate science needs far more than “massive investigation” to be fixed. It needs superhuman investigation, that is, it’s not possible to fix.

        “Many cases I can think of the error was an assumption that become recieved wisdom, but based on very little evidence. When the assumption was scrutinised, evidence rapidly overwhelmed the prior error. Examples are H. pylori and plate tectonics. Others are errors that propagated for a time because of publication bias for positive results – such as cold fusion.” There are a long series of errors in diet research, especially having to do with oils. Right now we’re experiencing a ridiculous “anti-gluten” fad. For 20 years scientists were telling us about a “beepocalypse” because almost everything we eat is supposedly pollinated only by bees (LOL). This was conveniently blamed on things that were politically motivated such as pesticides; but it turned out that it was diseaes that were spreading faster due to our modern habit of moving bees around. Similar stuff is being bandied about regarding GMOs.

        (1) As a general rule, it’s going to be a lot faster to disprove a common false belief when it’s easy to disprove the belief. The problem with climate science is that it is extremely difficult to disprove (or prove). As Thomas Kuhn famously said, humans never move from belief in something to a position of belief in nothing. Instead, paradigms are always replaced only by another paradigm. This means that until we actually understand what causes climate to change we will continue to assume that it’s CO2 and any anomalies will be ignored. “the failure of a result to conform to the paradigm is seen not as refuting the paradigm, but as the mistake of the researcher”. (2) The “warmistas” already are the majority in climate science. This just hasn’t yet filtered through to the mass media.

  62. Blind Injection Test
    http://www.nature.com/news/has-giant-ligo-experiment-seen-gravitational-waves-1.18449
    “The original blind-injection exercises took 18 months and 6 months respectively. The first one was discarded, but in the second case, the collaboration wrote a paper and held a vote to decide whether they would make an announcement. Only then did the blind-injection team ‘open the envelope’ and reveal that the events had been staged.”

    Since then $200 millions were spent on upgrading the detectors. The pressure on the team to detect something was mounting.

    The blind injection test worked great. The whole team got fooled. They wrote a paper. Perhaps all what we are seeing is another blind injection test. But this time w/o the envelope revealing that the events were staged.

  63. Climate Change will make gravitational waves more frequent and more destructive.

  64. Back again
    After reading the article and a bit of the images shifting and flipping I reproduced the Ligo’s combined image.

    However

    LIGO paper : On September 14, 2015 at 09:50:45 UTC the two detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave. Observatory simultaneously observed a transient gravitational-wave signal.

    Wikipedia: On September 18, 2015, Advanced LIGO began its first formal science observations at about four times the sensitivity of the initial LIGO interferometers.[10] Its sensitivity will be further enhanced until it reaches design sensitivity around 2021

    I would like to know what is going on here. Lets assume wiki got their date wrong, but even so how it is likely that they got hit so early in their observations.
    Is this a ‘beginners luck’ or black holes are merging every other day of the week, or is it something more to it?

    • IS LIGO PAPER Freud

      LIGO WEBSITE:
      LIGO’s first science run with the advanced LIGO instruments will commence on September 14, 2015. For more information on that, read “The countdown to first observations has begun”.
      https://www.ligo.caltech.edu/news/aligo-dedication.

      Wikipedia:
      On September 18, 2015, Advanced LIGO began its first formal science observations at about four times the sensitivity of the initial LIGO interferometers.[10] Its sensitivity will be further enhanced until it reaches design sensitivity around 2021
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LIGO

      LIGO PAPER :
      On September 14, 2015 at 09:50:45 UTC the two detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave. Observatory simultaneously observed a transient gravitational-wave signal.
      http://www.leif.org/research/Grav-Waves-Detected.pdf

      Dr. Svalgaard WHERE ARE YOU?
      We need answers.

    • LIGO: Planning for a bright tomorrow
      The Advanced LIGO detectors officially began their first observing run, which is called O1, on 18 September 2015. The detectors are not yet at final sensitivity,
      http://www.ligo.org/science/Publication-ObservingScenario/index.php

      NATURE : The week in science: 18–24 September 2015
      LIGO is ‘go’ Advanced LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) officially began gathering data on 18 September. LIGO’s twin instruments, in Louisiana and Washington state, each have two 4-kilometre arms, and represent a US$200-million overhaul of the initial LIGO,
      http://www.nature.com/news/the-week-in-science-18-24-september-2015-1.18402

      BBC: 19 September 2015 Science & Environment
      Labs in the US states of Washington and Louisiana began “listening” on Friday (Friday was 18 September) for the gravitational waves that are predicted to flow through the Earth when violent events occur in space.
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-34298363

      AND MANY MORE QUOTES THAT LIGO STARTED WORK ON 18TH SEPTEMBER 2015
      (paper claims discovery made on September 14th 09:50:45 UTC

    • Lets assume wiki got their date wrong, but even so how it is likely that they got hit so early in their observations.
      The dates are correct. The formal start of the observations was 18 Sept, but final testing started earlier, so there are data from earlier. The paper [read it, instead of trying to throw mud on the discovery] says clearly that they analyzed 16 days of data from Sept. 12 to Oct. 20, so one event in 16 days. So, if that is the frequency of occurrence, we can expect [as there in fact are] many more events. Nothing unusual is going on. The occurrence rate is now a measured quantity

      • “The Advanced LIGO detectors officially began their first observing run, which is called O1, on 18 September 2015. The detectors are not yet at final sensitivity”
        paper should state that it was a test run at low sensitivity, and noting was found since.

        from Peter comment above: “The blind injection test worked great. The whole team got fooled. They wrote a paper. Perhaps all what we are seeing is another blind injection test. But this time w/o the envelope revealing that the events were staged.”

        It looks as they found nothing.

  65. It was strong !
    Everybody thought it was fluke
    listen at 3.30 min in

    It must have been if gravitational wave was recorded on September 14 at 9.50 UTC
    but LIGO become operational 4 days latter on 18 September 18.

    Mind boggles what is going on at the LIGO, if they did let us down, I’m done with science, moving to the pseudo-science, far more reliable. /sarc

    • …” It was strong !
      Everybody thought it was fluke
      listen at 3.30 min in ”

      Not there….? Wrong video ?

  66. Now that we have some experimental idea on the scale of the phenomenon, what can be done to tune the instrument:

    – add more axis’
    – vibrate the mirrors at a known freq. to dampen out local noise

    not to rank myself on the crackpot scale – but would this experiment work better on the geologically stable Moon? (Always looking for reasons to go back.)

    • “but would this experiment work better on the geologically stable Moon?”

      I like that, strain gage the moon! Temp change might be troubling?

      Do gravity waves reflect?

      • @ Paul:
        Gravitational waves (not gravity waves, those are VERY different) do not reflect, nor are they hidden or attenuated by intervening vacuum, matter or energy in their propagation.

        This is part of the reason a fair number of astronomers & cosmologists are keen to see this technology work: if an event producing measurable/detectable gravitational waves happens within our “time cone,” we’ll (theoretically, possibly, etc.) be able to see it, no matter what might be in the way — distance, dust, event horizons, you name it.

    • @jeanparisot (& Paul, Marcus):

      If I understand correctly, there will soon (1-2 years) be another pair of detection devices online which will give us the minimum 4 points of reference, which allow for (more) precise location of the source of these events in 3D space.

      Local noise is already a non-issue, as any signals not received at both detectors is automatically discarded.

      As to operating in space or on the Moon, etc., the LISA project was going to pursue the investigation of gravitational waves in an orbital environment, which (as you surmise, Marcus) would have removed seismic, atmospheric and acoustic interference from the picture. This would have inherently negated the need for the mechanical & computational gyrations in which LIGO must engage in order to cancel out those effects. (That is not be read as a statement in doubt of LIGO, only that LISA would have avoided those problems by design, as well as being significantly more sensitive from the start.)

  67. If you’re close to one of these black hole collisions, say within 10-100 lightyears, would the strength of the emitted gravitational waves be strong enough to, for instance, disrupt or pull apart stars and planets? Would it be like taking a spin inside an “Einsteinian washing machine”? Could it shatter rock into sand?

    • @belousov:

      At a certain point, yes, the stretching & compression of space-time would become noticeable even to one’s senses. However, as lsvalgaard points out, the tidal effects produced directly by the objects/events in question would render the GW effects… shall we say, moot.

      In a sense, it’s like being worried about a lethal dose of neutrinos coming from a supernova; such a thing does exist, but you won’t be around to see it thanks to all of the OTHER violence being perpetrated at the time!

    • lsvalgaard, Smoky

      Thanks.
      Another question: from rumours keaking out I’m guessing that these signals are being already detected quite frequently. So such mass catastrophe events may be reasonably common across the universe.

      (That’s yet another one of the awesome and beautiful things about LIGO astronomy – you don’t have to scan and search the sky for your signal; with LIGO the sky cones to you.)

      So if gravitational waves criss-cross the universe from multiple sources, how long will it be before the earth arrives at a part of space-time where two (or more) gravitational wavetrains meet. Can we expect phenomena such as interference, constructive and destructive. Interference fringes? This will open a new field of gravitational space-time “optics”.

      Finally: there is also talk of new LIGO devices. Would it not be ideal for a hanfdul of such devices to be distributed around the globe? The LIGO L-shapes need to be oriented to include all the 3d stereoangles. Rather than digging a huge expensive hole vertically down, LIGOs should be located aroung the globe, on all the continents and ideally not excluding the Pacific ocean (Tahiti, Kiribati/Christmas Island, Marshall Islands e.g. Arno Atoll ?)

  68. A most interesting thread and, in contrast to those who feel that it has laid bare how ignorant skeptics at WUWT are for being skeptical of the gravitational wave detection, I would like to point out that many, even the great lsvalgaard, have not made a distinction between the truly ignorant contrarianism (that in CAGW discussions gets deliberately lumped into skepticism by the faithful) and thoughtful, legitimate, skepticism that has been tempered by blatant scientific dishonesty and carelessness across a broad range of scientific disciplines over the past few decades.

    One must consider two levels of legitimate skepticism of scientific discoveries. One level can be that among thoughtful individuals who are not experts directly in the field. Frequency of fraudulent papers in medicine, for example should cause this group of skeptics to be skeptical at least of extraordinary research claims in this field.

    “members of the International Society for Clinical Biostatistics, was to assess the characteristics of fraud in medical research. The survey was performed between April and July 1998. The participation rate was only 37%. We report the results because a majority (51%) of the participants knew about fraudulent projects, and many did not know whether the organization they work for has a formal system for handling suspected fraud or not.”

    This part of the quote will resonate with CAGW research skeptics:

    “Different forms of fraud (e.g., fabrication and falsification of data, deceptive reporting of results, suppression of data, and deceptive design or analysis) had been observed in fairly similar numbers. We conclude that fraud is not a negligible phenomenon in medical research, and that increased awareness of the forms in which it is expressed seems appropriate.”

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0197245600000696

    “Piltdown Man” was a hoax in anthropology/paleontology lasting over 40 years and wasting resources and endeavors in the field. It was believed by the scientific community although there were many skeptics in the 5 years after its ‘discovery’. A geologist (Edmond) in the 1930s claimed the strata it was found in didn’t make sense and finally fluorine contents measured in 1953 showed parts of the skull to be modern – Edmonds, who had been ignored, reappears to put his end to it.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piltdown_Man

    Now, you can see that Edmonds was the odd man out so he would have been considered an “an illiterate ignoramus” by many of the attackers here, likely including lsvalgaard. It could have been argued that erosion had displaced the skeleton from its proper stratat. We live in an age of moral turpitude (do you doubt that) and it is prudent and intelligent for the default position to be skeptical at first site.

    Yes, they got the signal at two different places. Assuming(!) everything is above board and this tiny signal can’t be from a more mundane source, (I would check seismographic activity and whatever around the world, etc.) it may indeed be as claimed. Yes, there are those who are simply psychological contrarians and they pollute every site. But some very respectable skeptics have been impugned here on this thread.

    • this tiny signal can’t be from a more mundane source, (I would check seismographic activity and whatever around the world, etc.)
      The experimenters check that very carefully. About 200,000 ‘channels’ of noise [sensors around the site, worldwide seismic and other activity, etc] are monitored in real time and data that are clearly contaminated are eliminated.

    • One reason for the delay in reporting the detection was to make sure the signal wasn´t spurious or caused by some terrestrial event. The apparatus(es) were designed and improved to minimize, then eliminate such false signals.

    • Russell
      February 16, 2016 at 8:24 am

      Science is not about consensus. It’s about disproof, disbelief and skepticism. It’s not about consensus.

  69. Gary Pearse says:

    “This part of the quote will resonate with CAGW research skeptics:”

    Different forms of fraud (e.g., fabrication and falsification of data, deceptive reporting of results, suppression of data, and deceptive design or analysis) had been observed in fairly similar numbers. We conclude that fraud is not a negligible phenomenon in medical research, and that increased awareness of the forms in which it is expressed seems appropriate.

    No kidding. If there’s that much fraud in medical research, it’s probably doubled and squared in climate ‘science’. With the federal government alone pouring more than a billion dollars a year into climate grants, the temptation to spin the numbers becomes irresistible.

    That’s also because the universities that employ many of the same scientists are putting huge pressure on them to generate grants. And of course, we see almost daily how government agencies themselves put pressure on their bureaucrat employees to show rapid global warming when there is none.

    The corruption begins at the top. Big money is destroying honest science.

  70. Here’s hoping that in a couple generations, maybe less, we will have gravitational telescopy that would make LIGO seem quaint and crude.

  71. Bottom line here is they interpret their findings as positive.

    BICEP2 data and a paper that followed has already been retracted.

    It’s like the Quartz gyroscope experiment all over again. The actual data does not pertain to black holes and gravity waves but interpreted findings.
    With the Gyroscope experiment, the actual experiment failed, utterly. There was too much interference, which was not foreseen. So the guys played with the data, for 5 years, and subtracted and massaged data for those 5 years to provide a positive result. That’s ambiguous science at best.

    Like AGW, if you are not a relativist in astrophysics, you are a denier :D

    If you don’t look at the data through the filter of relativity, different interpretations are possible. If you already are convinced of something (a something Einstein himself did not conclude possible) then you will only interpret the data one way.

    I am so tired of the omission of inconvenient truths. Like the Hydrogen gas I mentioned passing the alleged SMBH, how did the relativists explain why the hydrogen was not consumed?

    Well they hit the maths again and cooked up a binary star pair in the gas cloud, one they could not detect but.. because relativity is how they see the universe, then that was the only answer they had. Again they turned mathematics into something physical, relativists have a habit of turning purely mathematical constructs into physical entities, dark matter, dark energy, black holes, big bang, singularities.

    Add to that the list of things that completely defy theories, just get shelved. Like stars forming with 20% of the mass. Stars forming along strings of plasma, stars with so much helium that they cannot form according to theory, the distinct lack of light distortion in space. Completely different red shift objects next to each other, connected, NASA tried to debunk this with a photo, but when you turned the photo negative you could see the connection between quasars. That was outright dishonest by NASA.

    Theoretical astrophysics and astrophysics, in many parts are a long running joke.

    The best though is the way the relativists jump from Newton to Einstein seamlessly without it seems ever noticing, when trying to explain relativity.

  72. Marcus

    Congratulations!

    Your stubborn refusal to face and acknowledge the clear facts of this case, indulging instead in frivolous paranoic nay-saying for its own sake, has probably caused a number of people to think again about the real nature and value of “scientific skepticism” at this website.

    Because of you, a number of people will probably reassess their opposition to the political consensus of CAGW.

    You may also achieve a few percentage point decrease in traffic to WUWT because of this.

    Not a bad day’s work, mate!

  73. Even phlogiston was a successful theory…for a time.

    The relativists have invested their lives and careers in a massive work of mathematical deduction. Of beautiful theories, it is the fairest of the fair. And what hath Feynman to say of beautiful theories…?

    • @ Michael J. Dunn
      “The relativists have invested their lives and careers in a massive work of mathematical deduction. Of beautiful theories, it is the fairest of the fair. And what hath Feynman to say of beautiful theories…?”

      “It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.” – Richard P. Feynman

      Fortunately, relativity agrees beautifully with observation and observations with its predictions. It is therefore rightly regarded as one of the most successful theories ever in science.

  74. It’s proper to be skeptical, but this experiment and the results are quite well grounded. Just dissing it offhandedly isn’t skeptical, it’s just dumb. And there are several other earlier results that, thru further analysis, may be weaker events but still valid occurrences of the waves.

  75. OK, here’s what is likely just the first analysis of what LIGO may have measured, and to this layman it appears Wal Thornhill’s presentations of alternative explanations are fully as credible, if not more, than the posited ‘detection of gravitational waves’ that all must believe, for fear of being lumped in with The Willfully Ignorant and Illiterate Crowd.
    Thornhill also brings forward some basic history, including Albert Einstein’s own view of his mathematical work looking back over his career and thought…as well as some central questions that to my ear require cogent address – not meaningless ‘hand waving’ (or gravitational waving, if you prefer).

  76. A travesty of pseudoscience. Even Einstein didn’t believe his gravity wave theory. He submitted a paper retracting the claim, but, ironically, it was rejected.

  77. Too bad there’s no ‘follow-up thread’ up top…because, albeit I’m hardly one of the cognoscenti, it appears to me there’s some room for a bit of discussion? “A wise man … proportions his belief to the evidence” (David Hume in 1748)
    A podcast w reading of a letter from Dr Hilton Radcliffe, “The Dissident Astronomer”. He presents an excellent analogy towards a lay perspective over the LIGO claim: – Imagine a device that can determine a variation of the thickness of a human hair between our Sun and the nearest star ~40 million million kilometers.
    Also presents a very cogent alternative as to what was measured, something much much closer to Home.

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