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

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Phodges
February 14, 2016 6:28 pm

How many angels can dance on the point of a pin?
Modern physics is sad commentary on the death of Empiricism.

simple-touriste
Reply to  Phodges
February 14, 2016 6:51 pm

Wait… what?

Janice Moore
Reply to  Phodges
February 14, 2016 7:04 pm

For the first time, scientists have observed

“Exciting,” indeed.
What’s up with Phodges? Please explain yourself Madam or Sir.

Reply to  Janice Moore
February 14, 2016 8:49 pm

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.

Admin
Reply to  Janice Moore
February 14, 2016 10:15 pm

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

Mike McMillan
Reply to  Janice Moore
February 15, 2016 12:58 am

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.

SeanC
Reply to  Janice Moore
February 15, 2016 5:56 am

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

Reply to  Janice Moore
February 15, 2016 10:20 am

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.

Reply to  gymnosperm
February 15, 2016 10:22 am

Read the paper and find out. That things are not clear to you does not mean that they are not met.

Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 15, 2016 8:20 pm

True; ok.

george e. smith
Reply to  Janice Moore
February 15, 2016 6:03 pm

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

Reply to  Janice Moore
February 15, 2016 8:52 pm

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?

george e. smith
Reply to  Janice Moore
February 19, 2016 4:21 pm

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

Chip Javert
Reply to  Phodges
February 14, 2016 8:09 pm

Say what?

TG
Reply to  Phodges
February 14, 2016 10:32 pm

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

John Silver
Reply to  TG
February 14, 2016 11:55 pm

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.

seaice1
Reply to  TG
February 15, 2016 2:46 am

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

Chris Wright
Reply to  TG
February 15, 2016 7:08 am

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

Joecollins
Reply to  TG
February 15, 2016 9:06 am

they have a website.
https://www.ligo.caltech.edu/
Science daily does a good job with this.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160211103935.htm

george e. smith
Reply to  TG
February 15, 2016 6:25 pm

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

Alan Ranger
Reply to  george e. smith
February 15, 2016 7:13 pm

@
“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. “

Editor
Reply to  Phodges
February 14, 2016 11:22 pm

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.

Tomk
Reply to  Evan Jones
February 15, 2016 3:54 am

The theological answer would be: question is wrong as angels are not material entities.

Reply to  Evan Jones
February 15, 2016 6:59 am

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.

Mark
Reply to  Phodges
February 15, 2016 4:13 am

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.

Reply to  Mark
February 15, 2016 6:24 pm

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.

phodges
Reply to  Mark
February 16, 2016 11:08 am

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.

Michael 2
Reply to  Phodges
February 15, 2016 9:02 pm

“How many angels can dance on the point of a pin?”
One.

Lance Wallace
February 14, 2016 6:40 pm

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.

Steve Fraser
Reply to  Lance Wallace
February 14, 2016 7:09 pm

Yep.

Reply to  Lance Wallace
February 14, 2016 8:03 pm

I would have thought that if space was stretching the light would have stretched with it….?

anna v
Reply to  Leo Smith
February 14, 2016 8:49 pm

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.”

Toneb
Reply to  Leo Smith
February 14, 2016 11:52 pm

That’s why the lasers are arranged in an L-shape.

george e. smith
Reply to  Lance Wallace
February 15, 2016 6:32 pm

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

Paul Westhaver
February 14, 2016 6:41 pm

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?

Marcus
Reply to  Paul Westhaver
February 14, 2016 7:04 pm

They saw a wobble in a laser ??

Reply to  Paul Westhaver
February 14, 2016 7:25 pm

Why do they think the collision of those two black holes caused the waves they have detected?

Paul Westhaver
Reply to  JimB
February 14, 2016 7:44 pm

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?

Reply to  JimB
February 14, 2016 8:14 pm

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.

Stephen Richards
Reply to  JimB
February 15, 2016 1:01 am

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”

myNym
Reply to  JimB
February 16, 2016 1:56 am

Sorry for the tardy response.
The reason that they “believe” (weak word – “understand” would be more correct) the signal is that of two black holes spinning into one is the fact that the observation matches so closely the predicted signal.
The mathematically predicted wave as compared to the two observed signals is shown here:
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/12/science/scientists-chirp-excitedly-for-ligo-gravitational-waves-and-einstein.html

Reality Observer
Reply to  Paul Westhaver
February 14, 2016 7:26 pm

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…

Paul Westhaver
Reply to  Reality Observer
February 14, 2016 7:39 pm

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.

Paul Mackey
Reply to  Reality Observer
February 15, 2016 2:29 am

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!

Richard G.
Reply to  Reality Observer
February 15, 2016 12:34 pm

“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.

hanelyp
Reply to  Reality Observer
February 15, 2016 2:04 pm

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

myNym
Reply to  Reality Observer
February 16, 2016 2:16 am

“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, http://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.

Paul Westhaver
Reply to  Paul Westhaver
February 14, 2016 7:35 pm

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…

Reply to  Paul Westhaver
February 14, 2016 7:50 pm

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.

Paul Westhaver
Reply to  Paul Westhaver
February 14, 2016 8:01 pm

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.

LdB
Reply to  Paul Westhaver
February 14, 2016 8:29 pm

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.

4TimesAYear
Reply to  Paul Westhaver
February 14, 2016 9:12 pm

I’m with you….I need more…and with the detection being so miniscule…*SMH*

Jay Dunnell
Reply to  Paul Westhaver
February 15, 2016 5:10 am

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.

myNym
Reply to  Paul Westhaver
February 16, 2016 2:19 am

A predicted signal, detected thousands of miles apart, by two detectors.
See the extremely tight correlations here:
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/12/science/scientists-chirp-excitedly-for-ligo-gravitational-waves-and-einstein.html

Reply to  Paul Westhaver
February 16, 2016 2:54 am

All very suspicious, see the end of the this web page

Reality Observer
Reply to  Paul Westhaver
February 16, 2016 7:12 am

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…)

Marcus
February 14, 2016 7:03 pm

..Why don’t I believe them ??

Janice Moore
Reply to  Marcus
February 14, 2016 7:06 pm

I know, lol, I know, Marcus. I am CHOOSING to believe them — this time.

Marcus
Reply to  Janice Moore
February 14, 2016 7:19 pm

..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 !!

Janice Moore
Reply to  Janice Moore
February 14, 2016 7:22 pm

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.

Janice Moore
Reply to  Janice Moore
February 14, 2016 7:23 pm

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…}

Marcus
Reply to  Janice Moore
February 14, 2016 7:35 pm

I found that strange also !! Oh well !

Marcus
Reply to  Janice Moore
February 14, 2016 7:36 pm

I’m sure you ( and your librarian mind ) will be missed by many !!

Reply to  Janice Moore
February 14, 2016 8:31 pm

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’?

Reply to  Janice Moore
February 15, 2016 2:42 am

@ 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

Just Some Guy
February 14, 2016 7:09 pm

Watch the 2 videos at the bottom.

Marcus
Reply to  Just Some Guy
February 14, 2016 7:20 pm

You mean their self promotional video’s ??

February 14, 2016 7:15 pm

I believe them. However do not confuse gravitational waves with gravity waves. The latter is in a local planetary environment.

PiperPaul
February 14, 2016 7:24 pm

Everybody stand up and cheer for the wave!

etudiant
February 14, 2016 7:34 pm

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.

Mike the Morlock
Reply to  etudiant
February 14, 2016 9:19 pm

etudiant
Thank you for the link.
I spent some time there. Glad I did.
michael

jeff
February 14, 2016 7:41 pm

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?

Smokey (can't do much about wildfires)
Reply to  jeff
February 15, 2016 1:57 am

@ 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.

February 14, 2016 7:42 pm

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.

Reply to  Paul Clark (@cbfool)
February 14, 2016 8:35 pm

Black holes suddenly stop orbiting?
Yes, because the two black holes collided and became one.

Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 14, 2016 9:27 pm

I see. They’re measuring something. But gravity waves?

ghl
Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 14, 2016 10:03 pm

And the center of mass was stationary the whole time.

Rainer Bensch
Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 15, 2016 2:40 am

You mean the speed of the center of mass was constant the whole time?

Daryl M
Reply to  Paul Clark (@cbfool)
February 14, 2016 10:28 pm

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!

paullinsay
Reply to  Paul Clark (@cbfool)
February 15, 2016 6:35 am

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.

Ignatz Ratzkywatzky
Reply to  Paul Clark (@cbfool)
February 15, 2016 6:55 am

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.

David Halliday
Reply to  Paul Clark (@cbfool)
February 15, 2016 12:28 pm

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

Reply to  David Halliday
February 15, 2016 10:20 pm

There are no black holes. Time is not a substance. There is no relativity.

Reply to  Paul Clark (@cbfool)
February 15, 2016 10:58 pm

And no rational thought on your part either.

george e. smith
Reply to  Paul Clark (@cbfool)
February 15, 2016 6:45 pm

Well the center of mass is always stationary in center of mass space.
g

brians356
February 14, 2016 7:45 pm

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.”

ggm
February 14, 2016 8:03 pm

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.

Reply to  ggm
February 14, 2016 8:37 pm

Almost nothing today is done without using computer models. They almost always work beautifully.

george e. smith
Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 15, 2016 6:55 pm

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

Gary in Erko
Reply to  ggm
February 14, 2016 9:05 pm

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.

Paul Westhaver
February 14, 2016 8:03 pm

Hi Janice. Made you look!

Paul Westhaver
February 14, 2016 8:07 pm

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)

Reply to  Paul Westhaver
February 14, 2016 8:45 pm

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.

Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 14, 2016 8:59 pm

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?

Reply to  davidmhoffer
February 14, 2016 9:13 pm

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.

Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 14, 2016 9:06 pm

Ls, agree. Sadly, that is part of the price of engaging the resolutely, willfully permanently ignorant.

Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 14, 2016 9:56 pm

@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!

Reply to  tobias smit
February 14, 2016 10:34 pm

So, you count yourself belonging to those unwashed masses and take offense at being found out. Your loss.

Mike the Morlock
Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 14, 2016 10:55 pm

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

Hoplite
Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 14, 2016 11:44 pm

@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.

Reply to  Hoplite
February 15, 2016 12:07 am

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.

John Silver
Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 15, 2016 12:25 am

“Scientists” are just glorified bondfangere.

Mike the Morlock
Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 15, 2016 12:56 am

Oops the gamma ray burst was .4 seconds not .04.
memory plays tricks.
michael

TonyN
Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 15, 2016 12:56 am

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?

george e. smith
Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 15, 2016 7:13 pm

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

Paul Westhaver
Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 15, 2016 7:41 pm

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:comment image
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.

Reply to  Paul Westhaver
February 15, 2016 7:51 pm

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.

February 14, 2016 8:08 pm

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…

Reply to  Sparks
February 14, 2016 8:45 pm

First part right. Black holes have a lot of mass.
Second part, provide some theoretical or experimental support. I call bunkum.

Reply to  ristvan
February 17, 2016 1:09 am

Young galaxies move toward each other and old galaxies move away from each other, why is that?

February 14, 2016 9:08 pm

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.

Reply to  higley7
February 14, 2016 9:14 pm

yet another illiterate puts foot in mouth…

Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 15, 2016 2:52 am

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

Tiburon
Reply to  higley7
February 15, 2016 12:14 am

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

simple-touriste
Reply to  higley7
February 15, 2016 1:06 pm

The light emission of black holes (Hawking radiation) has been observed.
Black holes are real.
Deal with it.

myNym
Reply to  simple-touriste
February 16, 2016 3:10 am

“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..

Reply to  higley7
February 17, 2016 1:42 am

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.

Steve Fraser
February 14, 2016 9:19 pm

Other article and info…
http://www.astronomy.com/bonus/gravity

February 14, 2016 9:38 pm

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).

george e. smith
Reply to  tobias smit
February 15, 2016 7:27 pm

What do you mean faster computers.
How about just computers for just about anybody who wants one.
g

F Ross
February 14, 2016 10:02 pm

This is really earthshaking news!
Groan…

February 14, 2016 10:04 pm

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.

February 14, 2016 10:38 pm

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.

Reply to  indefatigablefrog
February 15, 2016 2:57 am

“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?

Reply to  markstoval
February 15, 2016 7:31 am

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.

myNym
Reply to  markstoval
February 16, 2016 3:21 am

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

seaice1
Reply to  indefatigablefrog
February 15, 2016 3:02 am

“And I am surprised that so many comments here are critical of this result with no real analysis or evidence.”
I am not.

Reply to  indefatigablefrog
February 15, 2016 3:30 am

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!

pochas
February 14, 2016 10:38 pm

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

Peter Sable
Reply to  pochas
February 15, 2016 11:23 am

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.

pochas94
February 14, 2016 10:43 pm

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.

Reply to  pochas94
February 14, 2016 10:56 pm

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?

Kev-in-Uk
Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 15, 2016 12:46 am

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?

Reply to  Kev-in-Uk
February 15, 2016 3:58 am

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.

Khwarizmi
Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 15, 2016 1:04 am

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.:

Smokey (can't do much about wildfires)
Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 15, 2016 2:09 am

@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.

Kev-in-Uk
Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 15, 2016 4:27 am

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…..

Reply to  Kev-in-Uk
February 15, 2016 4:44 am

The way science works is to make a prediction from the theory. If the observations match the prediction, we gain confidence in the theory.

Paul
Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 15, 2016 4:43 am

“Wave you[r] hand in the air and YOU generate gravitational waves.”
Wouldn’t those be AGW?

LdB
Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 15, 2016 4:59 am

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.

ratuma
February 14, 2016 11:01 pm
Being and Time
February 14, 2016 11:05 pm

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.

Tiburon
Reply to  Being and Time
February 14, 2016 11:43 pm

Pithy note, Being and Time. I found this interesting, and rather directly on point.
Wave Bye-Bye https://www.thunderbolts.info/wp/2016/02/12/wave-bye-bye/

Tiburon
Reply to  Tiburon
February 14, 2016 11:57 pm

“LIGO is said to measure ripples instigated by the vibration in spacetime as they pass through the Earth. What effect are those ripples supposed to cause? An expansion of the planet smaller than one-ten-thousandth the diameter of a proton (10^-19 meters).”
Hmmm. Possible, certainly. Probable? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinite_monkey_theorem

Smokey (can't do much about wildfires)
Reply to  Being and Time
February 15, 2016 2:25 am

@ 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! ^_^

joshv
Reply to  Being and Time
February 15, 2016 10:39 am

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.

Keith Minto
February 14, 2016 11:06 pm

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.

February 14, 2016 11:12 pm

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?

February 14, 2016 11:13 pm

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

Editor
February 14, 2016 11:41 pm

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.

Editor
Reply to  Mike Jonas
February 14, 2016 11:44 pm

Oops, format error. Italics should end before “Now either there was ..”.

rko
February 14, 2016 11:48 pm

it’s disgusting to read these comments.
please read: http://milesmathis.com/liego.pdf
maybe you understand that.

Tiburon
February 15, 2016 12:03 am

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?

Smoky (can't do much about wildfires)
Reply to  Tiburon
February 15, 2016 4:59 am

@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.”

Reply to  Tiburon
February 15, 2016 5:00 am

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.

Peter Sable
Reply to  wickedwenchfan
February 15, 2016 11:39 am

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

Wu
February 15, 2016 12:14 am

Silly people… that was just God sneezing.

tomo
February 15, 2016 12:24 am

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?

NZ Willy
February 15, 2016 12:43 am

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.

James Strom
Reply to  NZ Willy
February 15, 2016 5:05 pm

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.

Pierre Lalanne
February 15, 2016 1:04 am

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/

myNym
Reply to  Pierre Lalanne
February 16, 2016 6:42 am

“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
February 15, 2016 1:05 am

So EM radiation cannot leave a Black Hole but gravitational radiation can. Anyone got a succinct explanation of why not one but the other?

Smoky (can't do much about wildfires)
Reply to  Mike Borgelt
February 15, 2016 2:47 am

@ 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.

Alan Ranger
Reply to  Smoky (can't do much about wildfires)
February 15, 2016 5:29 pm

@ 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

Smoky (can't do much about wildfires)
Reply to  Smoky (can't do much about wildfires)
February 16, 2016 6:31 am

@ 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. ^_^

Alan Ranger
Reply to  Smoky (can't do much about wildfires)
February 16, 2016 6:48 am

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).

charles nelson
February 15, 2016 1:06 am

Hey, we have no idea what gravity is..or how it works.
But we found waves in it.
hurray!

Reply to  charles nelson
February 15, 2016 2:59 am

+ 1

Paul
Reply to  charles nelson
February 15, 2016 4:49 am

“Hey, we have no idea what gravity is..or how it works.”
Same with magnets.

Reply to  charles nelson
February 15, 2016 7:56 am

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.

Reply to  indefatigablefrog
February 15, 2016 10:35 am

He wrote: “… we have no idea what gravity is..or how it works.
Our knowledge of physics is highly overblown. (and I was guilty of teaching it once)

Reply to  markstoval
February 15, 2016 4:46 pm

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. 🙂

February 15, 2016 1:07 am

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.

Peter Sable
Reply to  vukcevic
February 15, 2016 11:43 am

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.

myNym
Reply to  vukcevic
February 16, 2016 6:58 am

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.

Hari Seldon
February 15, 2016 1:35 am

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…

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Hari Seldon
February 16, 2016 10:44 am

It’s always in the last place you look.

biff
February 15, 2016 1:53 am

What a load of bollox, all I can see is research hunting for more funds, sorry state of modern astronomy…

February 15, 2016 1:57 am

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.

Editor
Reply to  cephus0
February 15, 2016 2:25 am

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.

Smoky (can't do much about wildfires)
Reply to  Mike Jonas
February 15, 2016 3:04 am

@ 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.

Editor
Reply to  Mike Jonas
February 15, 2016 5:11 am

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.

Smoky (can't do much about wildfires)
Reply to  Mike Jonas
February 15, 2016 5:18 am

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 the Morlock
Reply to  Mike Jonas
February 15, 2016 8:47 am

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

Alan Ranger
Reply to  Mike Jonas
February 15, 2016 5:45 pm

@
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.

seaice1
Reply to  cephus0
February 15, 2016 3:16 am

“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.

Editor
Reply to  seaice1
February 15, 2016 5:18 am

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.

seaice1
Reply to  seaice1
February 15, 2016 7:38 am

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.

Reply to  cephus0
February 15, 2016 5:22 am

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.

HelmutU
February 15, 2016 2:11 am

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.

Mark
Reply to  HelmutU
February 15, 2016 2:20 am

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

Mark
February 15, 2016 2:16 am

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.

MCourtney
February 15, 2016 2:26 am

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.

etudiant
Reply to  MCourtney
February 15, 2016 2:55 am

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.

etudiant
Reply to  etudiant
February 15, 2016 2:58 am

sorry about the caps on MY, two finger typing often leads to glitches.

Reply to  etudiant
February 15, 2016 3:13 am

“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.

seaice1
Reply to  MCourtney
February 15, 2016 3:22 am

“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.

David A
Reply to  seaice1
February 15, 2016 4:55 am

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.

Reply to  David A
February 15, 2016 5:01 am

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.

Editor
Reply to  seaice1
February 15, 2016 5:35 am

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?

Reply to  Mike Jonas
February 15, 2016 5:38 am

There are many more events in the pipeline to be published. A bit of luck doesn’t hurt either.

Marcus
Reply to  seaice1
February 15, 2016 5:59 am

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

Editor
Reply to  seaice1
February 15, 2016 1:11 pm

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.

Reply to  Mike Jonas
February 15, 2016 1:30 pm

several per month. based on preliminary data.

george e. smith
Reply to  seaice1
February 15, 2016 7:52 pm

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

Reply to  seaice1
February 16, 2016 8:10 pm

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.

Reply to  MCourtney
February 15, 2016 3:30 am

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),

Reply to  vukcevic
February 15, 2016 7:49 am
Peter Sable
Reply to  vukcevic
February 15, 2016 11:54 am

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

george e. smith
Reply to  vukcevic
February 15, 2016 8:04 pm

“””””….. (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

Julian Braggins
February 15, 2016 3:27 am

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)

February 15, 2016 3:46 am

I am pleased the “real” scientists over the last 100+ years didn’t just accept the consensus that Einstein is brilliant but went on to prove his vision.

February 15, 2016 3:48 am

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
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LIGO.gif
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

Lee Osburn
Reply to  vukcevic
February 15, 2016 5:56 am

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.

Reply to  Lee Osburn
February 15, 2016 8:10 am

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.

Reply to  vukcevic
February 15, 2016 8:21 am

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].

Reply to  Lee Osburn
February 15, 2016 8:59 am

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.

Reply to  vukcevic
February 15, 2016 9:04 am

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.

Reply to  vukcevic
February 15, 2016 6:03 am

It is not possible to synchronise two signals as shown in the LIGO’s
Original image
They are clearly different frequency

Reply to  vukcevic
February 15, 2016 6:32 am

As usual you don’t know what you are talking about.
Here is the original Figure:
http://www.leif.org/research/Grav-Waves-Figure.png
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.
Nothing to be ‘skeptical’ about in the sense of rejecting the finding. You can be skeptical about your understanding of the event.

Reply to  vukcevic
February 15, 2016 8:46 am

If I were you, I would retract that embarrassing comment, but considering the flood of such embarrassments that you continuously spout, we probably will not witness your moment of seeing the light.

Reply to  vukcevic
February 15, 2016 6:44 pm

I wonder if the early periodic table, had it been posted on the internet, replete as it were with clearly blank yet modeled yet-to-be-found elements, would have generated similar responses.

Robin Hewitt
February 15, 2016 4:23 am

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.

Peter Sable
Reply to  Robin Hewitt
February 15, 2016 12:01 pm

A two pixel,
Better stop listening to digital music. Digital music these days is one pixel (bit, really) turning on and off rapidly. Yet it seems to work.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delta-sigma_modulation

george e. smith
Reply to  Peter Sable
February 15, 2016 8:46 pm

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

February 15, 2016 4:31 am

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.

Smoky (can't do much about wildfires)
Reply to  Rik Gheysens
February 15, 2016 4:45 am

@ 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!

Bill Illis
February 15, 2016 4:41 am

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.

Paul
Reply to  Bill Illis
February 15, 2016 4:59 am

“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?

Reply to  Paul
February 15, 2016 5:05 am

The size of their orbits depends on their masses, see e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orbit

Reply to  Paul
February 15, 2016 8:00 am

And how do we know the size of their orbits? We invent them!

Reply to  1gr8world
February 15, 2016 8:05 am

No, we measure them from the frequency [and its change over time] of the observed waves.

David A
Reply to  Bill Illis
February 15, 2016 5:07 am

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?

Gloateus Maximus
Reply to  David A
February 15, 2016 6:33 am

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

belousov
Reply to  Bill Illis
February 15, 2016 5:57 am

Bill Illis
+ 1.3 billion!

Mike
Reply to  Bill Illis
February 15, 2016 7:21 am

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.

February 15, 2016 4:46 am

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

belousov
Reply to  Chris B Reeve
February 15, 2016 5:11 am

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.

paradigmsareconstructed
Reply to  belousov
February 15, 2016 10:21 am

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.

Peter Sable
Reply to  Chris B Reeve
February 15, 2016 12:16 pm

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

Marcus
February 15, 2016 4:56 am

The damage the CAGW fraud has caused to the belief in scientific integrity is beginning to show !!

Reply to  Marcus
February 15, 2016 5:27 am

I don’t think people’s stupidity is caused by CAGW…

Marcus
Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 15, 2016 5:43 am

..So, if some one doesn’t exactly agree with you, they are stupid ??? You must be a liberal !

Reply to  Marcus
February 15, 2016 5:44 am

People don’t need me to expose their stupidity. They do a marvelous job on that all by themselves.

Marcus
Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 15, 2016 5:53 am

Here, let me correct that for you. It should have been ” I don’t need people to show me how arrogant I am, I do a marvelous job all by myself ! “…There, fixed it for ya !!

Reply to  Marcus
February 15, 2016 5:56 am

You put yourself firmly in the know-it-all-based-on-nothing group.

Marcus
Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 15, 2016 6:04 am

Please show me where I even hinted at knowing anything ??

Reply to  Marcus
February 15, 2016 6:08 am

so you admit you don’t know anything…

Marcus
Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 15, 2016 6:14 am

Hmmm, let me make it simple for you..Show me where I claimed to be a know it all arrogant buffon like you !!

Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 15, 2016 6:47 pm

Now that is funny!

belousov
February 15, 2016 4:59 am

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.

paradigmsareconstructed
Reply to  belousov
February 15, 2016 5:10 am

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.

Peter Sable
Reply to  paradigmsareconstructed
February 15, 2016 12:21 pm

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

LdB
February 15, 2016 5:13 am

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.

Reply to  LdB
February 15, 2016 5:21 am

layman saying I don’t believe is going to look rather stupid.
Perhaps it is useful to have that stupidity exposed for all to see…

David A
Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 15, 2016 5:44 am

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… http://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,

Reply to  David A
February 15, 2016 5:47 am

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.

Marcus
Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 15, 2016 5:57 am

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

Reply to  Marcus
February 15, 2016 6:02 am

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.

Marcus
Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 15, 2016 6:07 am

..I, in no way, REJECT it, but I am SKEPTICAL of their claim !! Your argument made no sense !

Reply to  Marcus
February 15, 2016 6:11 am

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.

TonyN
Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 15, 2016 6:13 am

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?