The detection of gravitational waves – a triumph of science enabled by fossil fuels

Last week, the science world was abuzz with the news that gravitational waves had been discovered thanks to the LIGO project and the team of international scientists that made it possible. At WUWT, I covered the story here, saying that it was a “triumph of science”. Indeed it was, and still is, and the effects of this discovery on science will ripple into the future for decades and centuries to come.

I woke in the middle of the night as I sometimes do, for no particular reason except that my brain doesn’t always cooperate with my body when it comes time to sleep, and the LIGO project was on my mind, partly due to an email I got from a fellow who wanted to tell me about a colleague in China who was talking about Gravitons and the LIGO announcement here. It got me was thinking about how wonderful it was that we could detect a gravitational wave from the merging of two black holes 1.3 billion years ago:

A computer simulation shows the collision of two black holes, a tremendously powerful event detected for the first time ever by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO. LIGO detected gravitational waves, or ripples in space and time generated as the black holes spiraled in toward each other, collided, and merged. This simulation shows how the merger would appear to our eyes if we could somehow travel in a spaceship for a closer look. It was created by solving equations from Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity using the LIGO data.

The two merging black holes are each roughly 30 times the mass of the sun, with one slightly larger than the other. Time has been slowed down by a factor of about 100. The event took place 1.3 billion years ago.

The stars appear warped due to the incredibly strong gravity of the black holes. The black holes warp space and time, and this causes light from the stars to curve around the black holes in a process called gravitational lensing. The ring around the black holes, known as an Einstein ring, arises from the light of all the stars in a small region behind the holes, where gravitational lensing has smeared their images into a ring.

The gravitational waves themselves would not be seen by a human near the black holes and so do not show in this video, with one important exception. The gravitational waves that are traveling outward toward the small region behind the black holes disturb that region’s stellar images in the Einstein ring, causing them to slosh around, even long after the collision. The gravitational waves traveling in other directions cause weaker, and shorter-lived sloshing, everywhere outside the ring.

Wikipedia’a article on LIGO notes that on 11 February 2016, the LIGO and Virgo collaborations announced the first observation of a gravitational wave.The signal was named GW150914.The waveform showed up on 14 September 2015, within just two days of when the Advanced LIGO detectors started collecting data after their upgrade. It matched the predictions of general relativity for the inward spiral and merger of a pair of black holesand subsequent ‘ringdown’ of the resulting single black hole. The observations demonstrated the existence of binary stellar-mass black hole systems and the first observation of a binary black hole merger.

Image Credit: Caltech/MIT/LIGO Lab These plots show the signals of gravitational waves detected by the twin LIGO observatories at Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington. The signals came from two merging black holes, each about 30 times the mass of our sun, lying 1.3 billion light-years away. The top two plots show data received at Livingston and Hanford, along with the predicted shapes for the waveform. These predicted waveforms show what two merging black holes should look like according to the equations of Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity, along with the instrument's ever-present noise. Time is plotted on the X-axis and strain on the Y-axis. Strain represents the fractional amount by which distances are distorted. As the plots reveal, the LIGO data very closely match Einstein's predictions. The final plot compares data from both detectors. The Hanford data have been inverted for comparison, due to the differences in orientation of the detectors at the two sites. The data were also shifted to correct for the travel time of the gravitational-wave signals between Livingston and Hanford (the signal first reached Livingston, and then, traveling at the speed of light, reached Hanford seven thousandths of a second later). As the plot demonstrates, both detectors witnessed the same event, confirming the detection.

Image Credit: Caltech/MIT/LIGO Lab
These plots show the signals of gravitational waves detected by the twin LIGO observatories at Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington. The signals came from two merging black holes, each about 30 times the mass of our sun, lying 1.3 billion light-years away. The top two plots show data received at Livingston and Hanford, along with the predicted shapes for the waveform. These predicted waveforms show what two merging black holes should look like according to the equations of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity, along with the instrument’s ever-present noise. Time is plotted on the X-axis and strain on the Y-axis. Strain represents the fractional amount by which distances are distorted. As the plots reveal, the LIGO data very closely match Einstein’s predictions. The final plot compares data from both detectors. The Hanford data have been inverted for comparison, due to the differences in orientation of the detectors at the two sites. The data were also shifted to correct for the travel time of the gravitational-wave signals between Livingston and Hanford (the signal first reached Livingston, and then, traveling at the speed of light, reached Hanford seven thousandths of a second later). As the plot demonstrates, both detectors witnessed the same event, confirming the detection.

This is indeed a wonderful and marvelous thing, as is the dual LIGO observatory itself; one in Hanford, WA and the other in Livingston, LA, two identical observatories separated by 3,002 kilometers (1,865 miles) so that this distance corresponds to a difference in gravitational wave arrival times of up to ten milliseconds, making it possible to do triangulation to determine an approximate location.

LIGO-both_aerial

LIGO observatories, left, Hanford, WA, right Livingston, LA

Wikipedia also had this note about the facility and it’s history:

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) is a large-scale physics experiment and observatory to detect gravitational waves. Cofounded in 1992 by Kip Thorne and Ronald Drever of Caltechand Rainer Weiss of MIT, LIGO is a joint project between scientists at MIT, Caltech, and many other colleges and universities. Scientists involved in the project and the analysis of the data for gravitational-wave astronomyare organised by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration which includes more than 900 scientists worldwide, as well as 44,000 active Einstein@Home users. LIGO is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), with important contributions from the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council, the Max Planck Society of Germany, and the Australian Research Council. By mid-September 2015 “the world’s largest gravitational-wave facility” completed a 5-year US$200-million overhaul at a total cost of $620 million.

That’s quite an endeavor, combining global collaboration, two large nearly identical facilities, and decades of research and construction. It struck me that it wasn’t just human energy that went into making LIGO a reality, but scads of real energy, to support design, construction, and operation of LIGO over that time.

Speaking of construction, here’s a photo from 2011, showing what looks to be a vacuum vessel being offloaded from a semi truck by a portable crane truck. Obviously, the vessel was built elsewhere and trucked in, and you can say that about essentially every aspect of the two observatories, as there was nothing but barren land in their place before.

Workers prepare to install equipment at the LIGO facility in Hanford, Washington, in 2011.

Workers prepare to install equipment at the LIGO facility in Hanford, Washington, in 2011.

It looks like one of these units:

ligo-vaccum-equip

Imagine the energy involved, not just in construction and transportation to the site by truck, but in maintaining a near perfect vacuum in the 4KM dual legs of the observatory, such as the one seen below:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Northern leg of LIGO interferometer at Hanford, WA

The amount of power needed is substantial, and it must be clean and non-intermittent as this internal newsletter for the Livingston site suggests:

One of the challenges of our rural location is the availability of clean and stable electrical power. Initially we found our electrical supply experienced some instabilities. This prevented the proper operation of the air conditioning system and some of the vacuum pumps. As mentioned in Cecil Franklin’s article above, the local power company which supplies the observatory, DEMCO, has completed construction of a separate substation dedicated solely for LIGO use. This feature has dramatically improved the quality of electrical power and all electrical systems are now operational. In addition, this improvement significantly reduced power outages due to thunder and lightning storms. Thank you, DEMCO!

Imagine if the power goes out. How long would it take to re-establish the vacuum in that facility?

A quick look at DEMCO Electrical COOP in Louisiana says they use coal-fired power plants, such as:

The coal-fired Big Cajun Power Plant located in Pointe Coupee Parish was built jointly by Louisiana’s electric cooperatives in the 1970s to provide wholesale electrical power to cooperative members across the state. Today, the facility is owned by Louisiana Generating, a subsidiary of NRG Energy.

And, a plot of power generation sources in Louisiana suggests that fossil fuel (coal and gas) and nuclear power make up the lion’s share of power generation in the state:

LA-power-generation

For the Hanford LIGO site, the Washington state power generation balance is different, using more hydro than coal or gas:

WA-power-generation

The point here is that LIGO couldn’t operate without a stable power supply, and couldn’t run on a power grid fed primarily on solar or wind, but instead uses the most hated power generation methods of environmentalists; coal, gas, nuclear, and hydro. Try doing this sort of science with intermittent solar and wind power – you can’t.

This need for stable power to run LIGO may have been a factor as to why the Pasadena, CA based California Institute of Technology chose to put observatories outside of California, where the vagaries of wind and sunshine wouldn’t affect the grid, and they wouldn’t have to worry about environmental political issues as much.

And it seems, the LIGO staff are big fossil fuel enthusiasts themselves, where in Hanford, they have a hot-rod club at the Lab:

LIGO_hot-rods

Don’t tell the EPA.

 

374 thoughts on “The detection of gravitational waves – a triumph of science enabled by fossil fuels

    • I could be wrong, but I don’t think “clean electrical power” in this context means what you think it does. I think it refers to a stable voltage and amperage without a lot of “noise” or fluctuation. I don’t think it refers to the source of the power for the generation of the electricity being ‘clean energy’ vs. ‘dirty energy’ like in coal vs. hydro-power or whatever.

      • Exactly. That sort of power is harder to get than most folks realize. When I was a runner, I would work out on my treadmill during the winter at times. I live in the Boston area, so it is not someplace where the grid is totally out of control. At almost exactly 7:30 each morning, somebody would do something that caused a power glitch and would incompletely crash the micro processor on my treadmill. The treadmill would then switch up to a 6 min. mile. You do not need that sort of stuff when you are measuring things that are best expressed in terms of the Plank length. I suspect that they have some sort of flywheel storage or such on their system anyway, but “clean” sine waves of a known constant frequency to start with are a big help.

        Just do not try the LIGO in Britain. You can download the data on their grid from here: http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/download.php Yes, I know that frequency is one way that some of the grid tells other parts of the grid that they need more energy their way. But the “fur” on the frequency in GB is awful. Which makes me say that the darn Brits ought to go over to 60 Hz or higher from 50 Hz. They would lose an awful lot less energy in their transformers no matter what the energy source.

      • Well you might be wrong anyway.

        In this case, clean power means that it is ON all the time. You can go into Fry’s and buy your own AC Power cleanerupperer, to run your computer on.

        So long as the AC stays on, even if perhaps it missed a cycle you can reprocess it with all solid state equipment and make it so surgically clean, that absolutely no gremlins could live on it.

        If you don’t think that a cast of 1,000 engineers and scientists could figure out how to sanitize all the AC power they want to use, you probably haven’t read the paper yet.

        I don’t think they left too many loose ends hanging.

        Washington State is where the Grand Coulee Dam is, and the Columbia river didn’t een stop flowing during the Mt St Helens eruption.

        They can just pour another thimble full of water (liquefied greenhouse gas) into the lake, and keep those big Siemens alternators phase locked to a Cesium beam atomic clock.

        That part of Washington and Oregon gets a boatload of rain. It (The Columbia) hasn’t stopped flowing in any living person’s memory.

        G

    • With clean they mean stable electrical power with a pure sine wave voltage at 60 Hz without power spikes or dips. Has nothing to do with the source of the electricity..

      • “My Cray”, back when I managed a supercomputer site, used a motor generator set (three units in a gang) to turn 750 kVA 60 Hz supply into 400 Hz clean power. The large rotating mass soaking up minor glitches and the spikes not inductivly coupling.

        400 Hz makes for MUCH smaller and efficient transformers, so is also used in airplanes. Were I designing a power grid today, I’d push for about a 360 Hz frequency. The power supply in the Cray was deceptively small for the power it carried. We had a roughly 20 x 20 foot water tower to dump the waste heat…

        I’d expect the folks building that big a detector to know about motor gensets for power cleaning.

    • As mentioned “clean” power is about ensuring that the sine wave is in phase. The problem with all power generation is the variances in the constant rotation of the devices, as well as other mechanical deficiencies such as the losses attributed to transmission and stepping power down to the desired voltage. When you bring power together on the grid from different sources and then deliver it you get phase delays which are then regulated by large conducting structures at switching stations prior to delivery. Cleaning power is one reason why so called green power can get pricey, as you have to clean power from many small generators.

    • The Smart Meter does it, filtering out the dirty electricity from coal, natural gas, nuclear, and hydro. Only the pure untainted electrons produced by solar and wind are allowed to pass through. From time to time, the utility comes by, takes out the filter, and shakes out the dirty electrons like one would shake out a vacuum cleaner bag.
      (Some \sarc here, but you will have to pry it from my keyboard)

    • They seem to have built the western portion at Hanford Reach for most of the same reasons they built the plutonium production facility there in WW II. Remote, unpopulated, vast, flat dry terrain; abundant reliable cheap hydroelectric power; abundant clean cold water.

    • As I have already commented to a former post here, I am waiting for the moment a real signal arrives from outer space that can only be caused by a black hole falling apart.

      • ferdberple, I wouldn’t consider that ” falling apart “..that would be more like VERY slowly deflating ! And if I understand Hawkings Radiation Theory correctly, the Earth itself will have disappeared in an all consuming fireball long before this will ever happen ! Time does not play nice !

      • Marcus: nothing makes me think black holes fall apart. It would be absurd. What if a real signal shows during a short interval of time decreasing frequency and amplitude. That signal cannot be caused by two black holes spiraling to each other, unless we play the glossy movies (like the one above) in reversed time order. Signals with decreasing frequency and amplitude may exist.

      • @FredBurple. That is a hypothesis that has so far not been well tested. If time-space has granularity of (say) the Plank length, then I believe his radiation falls apart. In any event, the predicted “surface temperature” of a black hole for the purposes of blackbody radiation is so low that I doubt many reasonably massive holes would have “evaporated” since the big bang.

      • ShrNfr, from what I know (layman but very interested), the evaporation rate (Hawkiing radiation) of stellar/supermassive BHs is so low that even the infalling background microwave photons are enough to offset it. So a “net” evaporation of those BHs won’t occur until the universe has cooled practically to absolute zero (and assuming no more mass is falling into them). So not until many, many trillions of yrs will they begin to “net” evaporate.

      • Actually I believe that ” Hawking Radiation ” is actually quantum mechanical tunneling; so nothing has to fall apart or even open and close.

        It goes right through the BH wall just like magic.

        Better check on that yourself; I could be wrong. I think they talk about BHs ” evaporating ” but I’m sure that assumes that nothing else ever falls into the hole.

        G

    • I would like to see a series of confirming observations before concluding that the observation was truly a gravity wave and not simply random noise (natural variability) that mimicked the prediction.

      The LIGO detector recorded an event soon after it went into operation. This event matches a mathematical prediction of GR. But is this the only possible explanation for the observation?

      How likely is it that the event in question would just happen to be observed soon after the detector went into operation? If the detector had observed a second event in a similar time frame, then the observation becomes more plausible.

      However, if this remains a lone event, and the LIGO detector continues to operate without observing more events of a similar nature, then one would tend to believe that the signal was simply noise that co-incidentally mimicked the GR prediction.

      • One strong event is not ‘weak evidence”, but the other events [and all future events] will be published too.
        From NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/12/science/ligo-gravitational-waves-black-holes-einstein.html :
        “Shortly after the September event, LIGO recorded another, weaker signal that was probably also from black holes, the team said. According to Dr. Weiss, there were at least four detections during the first LIGO observing run, which ended in January. The second run will begin this summer. In the fall, another detector, Advanced Virgo, operated by the European Gravitational Observatory in Italy, will start up. “

      • Note Dr. Svalgaard’s response. I look at this much like the discovery of planets around stars using the wobble technique. At first people were rightly skeptical, then they were able to see other planets using the technique. Think about radio astronomy, we didn’t think stars emitted more than light less than 100 years ago, The initial detection of radio waves from an astronomical object was made in the 1933 when Karl Jansky of Bell labs observed radiation coming from the Milky Way interfering with long distance telephone communications and published his paper on it. Once we figured out how to listen to what Jansky observed, we discovered a cacaphony of radio signals and radiation signatures in the Universe.

        Beyond needing a much much better receiver than Jansky, this new science in it’s infancy is no different.

        Given the billions upon billions of stars in the Universe, such GW events are likely to be more common than we realize. I predict we’ll see more gravity wave events from LIGO and the soon to be running advanced VIRGO observatory.

      • Anthony..

        Hmm. Okay that is a fair prediction and costs nothing and may be correct. Puzzle me this: It should be calculate-able how many binary black holes there may be and what the range of the amplitude & pulse width should be observed here on earth. I conjecture that the detector should be sizzling with countless pulses. I further conjecture that other phenomena should yield other wave forms. By the numbers, there should be an estimate of the frequency of these events. Where is that?

      • There is also the fact that our detectors are essentially two dimensional. They will detect best the collisions that happen in the same plane and less so those whose ‘spiral’ is perpendicular to one of their detection arms.

        Or so I’d assume. ^¿^

      • Ferd, If you read the actual real paper that Dr. S gave us a link to, you will discover that they considered other possible events, such as a couple of neutron stars coalescing, or a BH and a neutron star, but they know how to calculate those from Einstein’s theory , and they already excluded all other possibilities; well at least the ones that a cast of 1,000 authors could come up with.

        But I’m sure that if you have a potential alternative event in mind, those guys would be overjoyed to have you tell them about it.

        And I think I already said, given how much crap there is to see in just the Hubble deep field dot on the 4pi sphere of the cosmos, I’ll bet there’s another signal coming along from some other place right now; might already be here from a mere 100 million years ago.

        I think it is going to get very gravitationally noisy out there in the big world, and we may have to put noise limits on, to stop everybody from listening to cosmic collision noises.

        G

      • a potential alternative event in mind
        =======================
        the obvious answer is something as yet unknown. in an infinite universe there are an infinite number of unknown events, but only a very small number of known events. this argues that almost everything we observe “out there” is much more likely to be unknown than known. the further “out there” we look, the more likely everything we see will be “unknown”.

        so when someone tells me for sure this is two black holes of mass x and y colliding z billion light years away, I’m going to be skeptical. Maybe what we are really seeing is GR predicting itself, and the actual true values x, y, and z are nothing like what the models are telling us.

    • I mentioned this earlier. It seems that this experiment hinges on the distance to 2 mirrors being precisely understood but but but these gravity waves will be acting on the experiment as it is being constructed so I cannot see how the distance can be known.

      • The distance isn’t known. But it doesn’t have to be. It’s interferometry. You split the beam and check for a change in phase.

      • gravity waves don’t only affect the distance to the mirrors. they affect space-time, which means gravity waves will affect matter, energy and time. As such, not only is the distance to the mirrors being affected, the laser must also be affected. Since the laser follows the path of the arms of the interferometer, it is somewhat surprising that the effect on matter is not cancelled by the effect on the laser.

        In effect this is a large version of the Michelson–Morley experiment aether drift experiment, showing that the speed of light was invariant with motion. The LIGO interferometer is arguing that there is motion in the aether; only now the aether is gravity.

      • Interesting that Lief thinks that ‘one strong event is not weak evidence’ when he said on another thread that six years of research into the connection between solar activity and lighting wasn’t long enough.

      • Well zemlik, just because YOU can’t see how the distance between two mirrors can be known; doesn’t mean other people can’t.

        A case in point: Take two plane mirrors spaced 1.0 cm by a ground and polished fused quartz tube. Now you can measure the length of that quartz tube with a fairly ordinary micrometer, with an uncertainty of say a ten thousandth of an inch. I think that is 2.54 microns. Well let’s round it out to 10 microns. Well a red light such as a neon spectrum line might be about .65 microns wavelength, so lets say half a wavelength is 1/3 micron. Well that quartz spacer is about 10,000 microns or 30,000 half waves of the red light. But I can’t measure it closer than about 30 half wavelengths with my micrometer.

        So when I look at the interference fringes that are generated with those two mirrors, each 1/3rd micron shift in the spacing changes the number of the fringe (the ” order “) by one. I can measure the diameter of the circular fringes that I can make with that gizmo, and determine the fractional fringe that corresponds to a ring of zero radius right at the center. I can easily measure that to about 0.01 of a fringe +/- 30 fringes.

        So maybe I can say that my mirrors are spaced by 29, 947.37 half waves of that red light +/- 30 half waves. But I’m sure I got that .37 fringe correctly.

        So now what if I have some more wavelengths present simultaneously. The neon spectrum contains dozens of red orange yellow lines. I can crudely separate the interference fringes from the different lines, with nothing more complicated that a glass prism. Don’t even have to know anything about the prism. I have a slit cross-section of the different rings, and the sets of rings are separated at right angles to the slit.

        Each one of those spectral lines has a different wavelength so they make their own set of rings, and in particular each one gives me a different fractional order at the center of its ring pattern.

        So now I have fringe orders for my spectral lines of say:
        29,947.37 ; 28, 865.13 ; 27,421.92 ; 26,663.77 ; ….. I could have a dozen different lines each with its own order number, and ALL OF THEM uncertain to the tune of 30 fringes.

        I got those order numbers by dividing my mechanically measured but uncertain mirror spacing, by the half wavelength of the different spectral lines and adding on my MEASURED fractional order from the ring pattern.

        But when I multiply my order numbers by the wavelengths, , I find that only the first one I used has the correct fractional fringe. The others don’t match, so I try adding or subtracting one from each order number and recalculating using the same reference line to estimate the length.

        Eventually, somewhere in the range of that 30 orders, as if by magic, suddenly all of my fractional order fractions pop out with the correct value close enough.

        Now I know I have eliminated the 30 fringe 10 micron uncertainty in the length, because only the correct integer order for the real physical length will give me the correct fractional order for each of those spectral lines, that I saw SIMULTANEOUSLY through my spectrometer.

        I only need to know the wavelength of one of those spectral lines, and I don’t need to know that all that accurately. But once I get my fractional order pattern to match, I can now calculate those wavelengths easily to in this case one part in 10^7 (0.01 order)

        To get that good, I have to allow for the refractive index of the air. I have to allow for the wavelength variation of the refractive index of the air. I have to allow for the effect of the humidity.

        These chaps got rid of all that junk by doing it in a high vacuum.

        There is supposed to be a 180 degree phase change on reflection from a metal mirror surface (silver). Only it isn’t 180 degrees. There’s a phase shift due to the non infinite conductivity of the metal, so the reflected EM wave is nearly inverted but not quite, and the offset is likely wavelength dependent, so the group of spectral lines can’t be too wide apart.

        Well I did all of that 60 years ago, with exactly the gizmo I described. And I ended up measuring the wavelengths of about 24 lines in the spectrum of a neon discharge tube, to about one part in 10^7.

        Now Michelson measured the meter bar in Paris, with his interferometer, so he had 100 times the number of fringes (order) that I had, and he did it with several colored lines. One of them was the red line in the spectrum of Cadmium. If my memory serves; he got 6438.4696 Angstroms for that line. Dunno what it is today. If I misremembered it, somebody will correct me.

        Now with 1,000 labcoats working on this problem, I’m betting these guys are doing a whole lot better than I did 60 years ago.

        If you don’t know how these sorts of things get measured routinely in many branches of science; it is quite hazardous to speculate that they can’t do something, just because you can’t do it.

        G

      • Ferd,

        The mirrors in the LIGO interferometers are large masses. They are sensitive to gravity and gravity waves.

        The original laser, that is creating the light, is not 4km long and is also not likely to be oriented in some haphazard direction.

        The laser is all in one place effectively; the gravity antenna masses are 4km apart. They say it’s a YAG laser. I would guess it is not even a meter long. So the gizmo is 4,000 times longer at least, and that much more sensitive to gravity waves disturbance.

        G

      • The laser light that emerges from the YAG laser, has its properties determined inside the laser resonant cavity, which would be whatever length YAG crystal, they are able to grow, and it has something like a 2.7 refractive index which will raise the optical path by that amount.

        But the dimensions (length) of the laser cavity as far as the gravitational wave is concerned is simply the mechanical length of the crystal between its end mirrors. Well it could be an external resonator laser, with Brewster angle mirrors on the ends of the YAG crystal, instead of the resonator mirrors.

        Once the laser beam exits the laser resonator cavity, it is on free flight dependent on the physics of EM propagation and whatever effect gravity has on EM radiation. I don’t see that the gravitational wave is having an effect on the massless photons once they are launched.

        The total laser beam path length inside the LIGO is much longer than 4 or even 8 Km. The beam goes back and forth in the resonator in each arm many times; I thought I saw a 300 there somewhere.

        I don’t believe that the laser wave, is coherent over the whole 4 km length of the interferometer arms, let alone the 300 round trips. But I might be wrong on that.

        I think the laser beams bounced off the moon corner retro-reflectors use simply time of flight to measure distance to the moon. I don’t think they are counting fringes to get wavelength sized resolution of moon distance. Time of flight is simply a foot per nanosecond, so they could in principle be measuring to a few mils or better.

        But the LIGO resonators must have astronomically large Q’s. I’m sure that the vacuum tube and its trappings doesn’t have much to do with the situation, and each of the individual mirror slabs must be an independent object. I can’t imagine that those two mirrors 4km apart are hanging from some sky hook that is isolated from the planet surface.

        G

      • Next thing they will need is a space borne LIGOnometer.

        Get that sucker off this planet to remove the disturbances.

        G

    • While I believe that these facilities measured something, I believe there are many explanations of what that could be. Even if it was gravitational waves they sensed, I think it is a huge stretch to think that there is any confidence in their prediction of the cause.

      Running a computer model backwards is total BS. And the fact is that there is still a lot of debate as to whether black holes even exist. But somehow, not only do they know it was black holes, they know the size of each one.

      The fact is that the computer simulation they ran is representing a bunch of black hole/gravitational wave theory. Based on this theory, and only looking at this theory as a cause, they arrived at their conclusion. This would appear to me to be confirmation bias at its very worst.

      • Well Einstein’s theory predicted both the waves, and also how and why they exist. (if they do).

        So these guys calculated what should happen if Einstein’s theory is correct. What they observed agrees with what they calculated from Einstein’s theory. Whatever the hell they think they saw; they saw exactly what Einstein told them they would see, in crafting his theory.

        Maybe his theory isn’t a gravitational wave theory at all. Maybe its a “whatever ” theory.

        Well ok, these people have just observed a real live billion and a half year old Einstein “whatever” just as he predicted.

        G

      • Umm ! I think that was the whole idea to see if they could fit the experimental data to the theoretical computation of what it is supposed to be.

        So confirmation bias was the whole idea in doing this.

        Next round is. Whose got a different model (from Einstein’s) that they think is a closer fit to reality.

        All you need is to come up with your own gravitation theory, that still fits all the known and replicated gravitational physics, and is a better fit to the event that they just observed, or whatever comes next.

        The whole idea was to look for signals that agree with Einstein, or else disagree, thus showing him to be no good at gravitation theory. So bring on the strings and let’s see your shot at explaining what they just saw.

        G

    • “This means that the mathematical model in inverse form is extremely ill-posed and as such cannot be used to draw conclusions. To do so requires that all alternative explanations of the zero signal can be eliminated, and it is then not enough to just say that no other explanation immediately suggest themselves, that is to draw conclusions from ignorance with the precision of the conclusions increasing as the ignorance or stupidity grows.”

      Not unlike: “No other explanations for a century of gradual global warming suggest themselves … therefore we are increasingly certain man-made CO2 is causing it.”

      • Anthony a true “black” hole is according to definitions or theory as espoused by Hawking one where nothing can be emitting even information (Hawking). If a object in the universe emits x-rays, occasional light or even gravity waves (if they exist) then the object can not be a black hole. There are many papers written doubting black holes here is one http://ptep-online.com/index_files/2015/PP-43-06.PDF (there are many others in the journal Progress in Physics.) so it could easily be said that “black” holes are the imagination of some scientists. Just because it is possible to make (with various often conflicting assumptions) a mathematical model is no proof that something exists. So-called climate scientists have invented models for projecting global temperatures, and event fiddling with adjusted hindcast information they have been proved wrong. With a model of something billions of light years away which should not emit anything it can never be proved wrong by measurements made on or close to our Earth. Here is the website of one of the smartest mathematicians http://claesjohnson.blogspot.com.au/ if you follow what he does you can see how to build up some real models.

      • cementafriend, Gravitational Waves have no mass , there for they are not affected by Gravity Waves ! ( or something like that )

      • Gravitational Waves have no mass
        ==================
        then under e=mc2 they have no energy. yet we are told that the energy involved in this event was equivalent to 3 solar masses.

      • It’s an interesting technical point. The equivalent of 3 solar masses is supposed to have been converted to a gravity wave. That “information” has reached us, which defies the definition of an event horizon which would have defined the limit of each blackhole.

        so it looks like someone needs to change the rules a bit.

      • Anthony Watts wrote: “Mark, do you have proof of that? Or are you just blathering?”

        Well, it seems to me that the team is talking about two “black holes” mating into one “black hole” billions of light years away from here in the far distance past. It is all hat and no cattle — rather, it is all conjecture and no evidence. And yet you think I need to prove that they are dealing in conjecture?

        Marcus: “Anthony, he is an anarchist, so yes, he is blathering !”

        So you think that radical libertarians (Rothbardian even) have nothing to add to science on the very fact they believe that government is our enemy? Tell me what part of this you find wrong: http://archive.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard62.html

      • Cementafriend.
        “Anthony a true “black” hole is according to definitions or theory as espoused by Hawking one where nothing can be emitting even information (Hawking).”
        Hawking famously made a bet that information was lost in a black hole, and that black hole evaporation via Hawking radiation did not preserve information. That was something of a philosophical problem, since many interpretations of quantum mechanics mean that information cannot be destroyed.

        Hawking eventually conceded that he was wrong, and handed over an encyclopedia of Baseball to John Preskill, the winner of the bet.

        The upshot is that not only do black holes evaporate, the information they contain is not lost! They are not really black at all.

        Hawking made another bet about the existence of black holes. This was of a different nature, because he betted that black holes did not exist. He believed he would lose this bet. However, if he was proved wrong about black holes, he would at least have four years subscription to the satirical magazine Private Eye to console him for all those years of wasted effort. In an updated edition of A Brief History of Time he said: “Although the situation with Cygnus X-1 has not changed much since we made the bet in 1975, there is now so much other observational evidence in favour of black holes that I have conceded the bet. I paid the specified penalty, which was a one year subscription to Penthouse, to the outrage of Kip’s liberated wife.”

      • cementafriend February 17, 2016 at 4:50 am

        “Anthony a true “black” hole is according to definitions or theory as espoused by Hawking one where nothing can be emitting even information (Hawking). If a object in the universe emits x-rays, occasional light or even gravity waves (if they exist) then the object can not be a black hole”

        The x-rays are produced in the accretion disk not in the black hole.

      • Markstoval.
        “Tell me what part of this you find wrong:”

        This bit for a start “The social path dictated by the requirements of man’s nature, therefore, is the path of “property rights”” That is just invention. It only follows from his definition of man’s nature. There may be good justifications for property rights, but that ain’t it. “It should be equally clear that the coercive, exploitative means is contrary to natural law; it is parasitic, for instead of adding to production, it subtracts from it. ” He is mixing up his is’s and his ought’s. Even if coercion is parasitic that does not make it contrary to natural law (unless you define it that way – but that is circular argument).

        However good an economist Rothbard may have been, he is not much of a philosopher.

      • “However good an economist Rothbard may have been, he is not much of a philosopher.”

        We will have to agree to disagree here as this site is not for such augmentation. All I can say is that your saying he was not a good Philosopher is much like the man who said Newton was not much of a physicist. (ignorant in other words)

      • markstoval February 17, 2016 at 3:14 am
        The two black holes are in the imagination of the team of ‘scientists’.

        As I noted on the earlier thread we have discovered that double star systems are much more prevalent the previously thought.
        So is it also likely that double black holes are also going to be more common?

        Dr. lsvalgaard I’m I off base with this?

        also I added this late to the other thread for those you had some questions due to dates of announcements. It should clear up some doubts and confusion

        http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/info/press-releases/LIGO-panstarrs/

        michael

      • markstoval February 17, 2016 at 5:30 am

        Anthony Watts wrote: “Mark, do you have proof of that? Or are you just blathering?”

        Well, it seems to me that the team is talking about two “black holes” mating into one “black hole” billions of light years away from here in the far distance past. It is all hat and no cattle — rather, it is all conjecture and no evidence. And yet you think I need to prove that they are dealing in conjecture?

        Marcus: “Anthony, he is an anarchist, so yes, he is blathering !”

        So you think that radical libertarians (Rothbardian even) have nothing to add to science on the very fact they believe that government is our enemy? Tell me what part of this you find wrong: http://archive.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard62.html

        Both Anthony and Marcus have asked entirely reasonable questions. You posted a claim with absolutely no evidence. I think I speak for all reasonable blog owners, in that the purpose of the comments is so people can discuss, i.e. with reasons and arguments; not so someone can just throw smoke bombs into the room. You should have put the reasons you now proffer into your original post, otherwise you are just making mischief.

      • @ Ron House,

        I see you use the same line as the cAGW alarmists. If I say there is no physical evidence and it is all in the mind of the “scientists” (at least at this point in time) you claim I am a bad person (possible should be banned as a “mischief maker” unless I prove the negative.

        Ron, you @#$@$, please be advised that the scientists who claim there was once upon a time two black holes who mated and gave us gravity-wave-children need to prove that — not me!

        There are so darned many on this site who really don’t grasp what science is. People see conformation bias in others but not themselves!

        “… man sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest …” (singer Paul Simon)

      • I thought gravitational waves (gravity) traveled at >10^8C, I.e. ~Instantaneously. so 1.3E9 light years is at best misleading.

      • They travel at approximately light speed, so would require 1.3 billion years to arrive at earth from 1.3 billion light-years away.

      • David Schofield says:

        After 1.3 billion years probably far far away from the signal origin.

        True, but visually (visual, IR, radio, X-ray, gamma, etc) the culprit will be where the gravitational waves came from since all the radiation (gravitational or otherwise) is traveling at the same speed.

  1. Was thinking it was damn lucky that the detector was built in time to detect the ‘signal’…
    Guess someone is after the ol nobel gratuity.

    • After Obama won the ” Peace Prize “, before even becoming POTUS, the value of the Nobel became less than zero !

      • Yassar Arafat also won the Peace prize in 1994 so it was already valued at less than zero. But that is not the same as the Nobel in Physics.

      • It must have some value out there considering how many Alarmists have falsely stated they had one on their CVs and online resumes.

    • Biff,

      When two cars collide at an intersection; it stands to reason that they both were at the same point in space at the same time.

      There’s a hell of a lot of intersections out there.

      Gotta be a collision at one of them every millisecond.

      Take a look at the Hubble Deep Field Photograph, which is a smaller spot in space, than anything you can see with your naked eye.

      So now tell me, there is absolutely nothing going on anywhere that is coming our way, and will be here in just a few minutes.

      It won’t be long now before there will be laws to stop everybody from building their own damn gravity antenna, and posting pictures on the web of something we don’t want to see.

      The idea that this is the ultimate in sheer happenstance, and nothing would have been seen if we had our backs turned, is just loony.

      So just how long has CETI been burning the midnight oil and wasting megabucks looking for intelligent life.

      It’s a good thing they are looking ” out there ” for it, because if they look in here, they likely won’t find any.

      G

      • Total agreement with the principle of what you have said – but a small correction:
        “It (hubble deep field) covers an area 2.5 arcminutes across, about one 24-millionth of the whole sky, which is equivalent in angular size to a 65 mm tennis ball at a distance of 100 metres.”
        So, not quite as small an area as many would imagine.
        It would be visible if it were illuminated. Although clearly the contents are not visible. To the naked eye it is a small dark patch of sky. So, a visible size, but dark, too dark to see!!!
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubble_Deep_Field

      • “”””””……
        indefatigablefrog

        February 17, 2016 at 8:00 pm

        Total agreement with the principle of what you have said – but a small correction: …..”””””

        Thank you for the correction inde’, I overexaggerated in underestimating the size of the deep field. Yes your eye could resolve something 2.5 arc minutes across. Normal good visual acuity is about one arc minute. With my right eye, I can see about 8pi steradians. Plenty of light, but no resolution. A retinal “macular pucker” probably due to blasting my retina with a laser in my misguided youth.

        Still, can you just imagine a 4pi deep field photograph; would make great wall paper for a very large room.

        But think of all the C*** there would be in there for us to see with out new gravitational radio eyes.

        Just when we were beginning to think that the post Higgs physics field was just ho hum, we all get a new wake up and wonder call.

        G

    • Everything happens at just the correct time. Things happen when they can and not before. And everything happens immediately. Nothing waits before happening; stuff happens as soon as it is possible and once that has happened whatever can happen next will happen, sometimes it is only attoseconds before something else happens.

      What magic force would cause something to wait before happening ?? What would determine how long to wait.

      The universe happens in real time; no waiting.

      G

  2. No One is noticing, but Arctic ice extent (Thick ice) is completely back to Normal levels
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    [We have been watching other plots as well, Some (Cryosphere for example) still have arctic sea ice area consistent at about -1.2 to -1.5 million sq kilometers this winter. .mod]

    • Thank you, Eliza, good to see … or maybe not … according to some. You’ve relieved my cognitive dissonance involved in how matter falls under influence of mere G, exceeding speed of light to make something that shouldn’t thus exist, but is discussed as if perfectly real, with empirical something to back it up. :-)

    • …Who gets to decide what ” normal ” levels are ? Compared to 100 years ago ? 1,000 ? 1,000,000 ? Is there really such a thing as ” normal ” sea ice extent ?

      • dbstealey “RACook specified “thick ice”” What are you referring to? I see no contribution by RACook, nor any mention of thick ice.
        Brians356. The line is currently below the 2012 one. It does not appear to anyone with understanding that the ice has been growing for the last 4 years since 2015 is below 2014 and 2013.

        It is not a matter of convenience. The DMI explain that the 30% plot underestimates the extent because of coastal masks. The 15% plot is a better estimate of extent because it measures the actual extent of ice over sea better. You will notice that the 30% plot peaks around 10MKm2, whereas the 15% plot peaks at about 16MKm2. This is consistent with an underestimation.

      • The graph Eliza posted is not for “thick ice”. There is no accreditation, but it is the ice extent (30%) from DMI. Please correct me if I am wrong. This is not “thick ice”, nor anything like it.

      • 1oldnwise4me@reagan. Thank you for the info. Can you (or anyone) point me to the origin of the graph Eliza posted? It looks rather like the 30% graph.

    • Unless you use the one the DMI prefer, that is 15% without coastal masks. The we find the extent is about as low as it has ever been.

  3. “This need for stable power to run LIGO may have been a factor as to why the Pasadena, CA based California Institute of Technology chose to put observatories outside of California,”
    Or maybe it is because California suffers Earthquakes. If a truck driving by half a mile away can cause problems, I imagine a very small tremor on one of the myriad fault lines would be a bigger problem.

    If you have a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail.

      • Its the micro quakes that are the problem here. The early attempts to manufacture the FOG gyro’s in California were a victim of them.

        Big ones are a different problem.

    • Errrr, they needed a giant piece of flat land for each one of these in an isolated location. So a location like Hanford is perfect as it is flat and was inside the boundaries of a government reservation with controlled access.

    • At the extraordinarily small scale these guys are discussing there is no seismically quiet location on the planet. The globe continuously rings like a bell, driven by everything from earthquakes and magma movement to ocean waves and surf, the wind, and tidal distortions.

      • @ Duster, 10:27 am Feb 17, Totally agree. sounds like a another grant seeker: ” We have seen it once, we need more funds to see it again” The absolutely MINUSCULE measurements are ridiculous, no matter the math and the conformation of Einstein’s predictions. And please do not get me wrong Einstein’s and the people that are doing this incredible work are astounding
        BUT Boy, a fraction of the size of a proton? Come on let’s get real. I am always interested in science and love all of the advancements made that are usable, like computing power, carbon fiber, and so on and what those should ( and will eventually) mean for advancement in for instance bridge building, airplanes, solving problems in flood zones and agriculture and so on. But this gravitational research and the fact there is no calibration yet is not useful to our planet at this point in time. In no way should we stop research but the vast amounts of money ( and where does that money come from in the first place) needs to be looked at!
        Look, maybe I am short sighted, uninformed and ignorant but our civilization has larger problems than working out what gravitational waves mean at this time and what their uses could be. We need to dismiss the Global warming hoax, give access to cheap power to third world nations to get them to a better and healthier standard of living before we get to far ahead of ourselves. ( sorry about the rant).

      • Read Peter Sables (signal processing) comments on the original thread, as well as Smokey’s and others alleviate some of these concerns. Earthquake waves (two distinct wave forms) travel at a detectable rate, much slower then the speed of light, and could not have caused this signal

        Many potential factors could make such signals, some at one location, less at both locations, fewer at both locations within the reordered time frame between locations, some magnitudes larger, some smaller, etc, however it is the frequency detected in two locations matching in frequency and speed of detection to predictions using Einstein’s equations of what to look for, which eliminate so many other possible reasons for this particular signal and timing between locations.

        Could unaccounted for factors have mimicked said signal? Possibly, but what??? Could a micro earthquake between the sites, not detectable by seismographic instruments, have arrived at such a strength and timing?
        Atmospheric changes alter ocean water height by well over one meter, yet water being liquid has such tidal flux amplified or reduced at a rather steady rate. Land deformation under both lunar gravity and atmospheric pressure also occurs. Is this deformation as steady as water, or does it change in brief surges, minor rapid flux, such as how earthquakes release stress, only magnitudes smaller, and perhaps only detectable by these instruments? Could these have mathematically mimicked such a signal? Maybe, I do not know.

        However I consider such questions (skepticism) valid for learning and understanding, and I consider that some of the many scientist involved studied and planned for such things, and are therefore capable of answering such questions. Questioning, and assertion of positive disbelieve without deep understanding are two different things.

  4. Whilst I don’t agree on alleged black holes, it’s good to see the hypocrisy pointed out.
    NASA’s carbon footprint must be epic. But we know that already.

    Imagine CERN trying to run the accelerator on solar and wind!

  5. Kip Thorne was also an executive producer, and the scientific advisor for the film Interstellar. While it wasn’t without some flaws in logic, the images of gravitational lensing around a black hole are enough to make it worth watching.

  6. Tout the wonders of fossil fuels as much as you like, but stop deluding yourself that LIGO is anything other than a money pit, or that the people involved in releasing the claim are any better than the snake oil salesmen that infest climateolgy. This claim is a sham and a disgrace. A lie so big it has proved Goebel’s theory of propaganda by the number of blinded acolytes who can’t accept that anyone would have the gumption to tell it.

    • wickedwenchfan – No logic, no proof, no sense, and nothing to back up your wild assertions. Your comment is about as pointless and over the top as they come. The data is open sourced here: https://losc.ligo.org/events/GW150914/

      Feel free to inspect it and pronounce why it can’t be possible. Show your work.

      • I would point out that this announcement has fallen on skepticism because of the funding source and the timing. These scientists are being victimized by the “bad science” (I would add fiction) being done by the Alarmists, whose assertions in the MSM have reached the level of absurdity. They really have given science a bad name.

        While I am skeptical about the timing, I am perfectly content to let the scientific method work. I will save real excitement for when this experiment is repeated by others in the future. I would also point out that there have been a couple of gaffs in the Astronomy community recently.

        @www – you need to chill out. The emotional language in your post rises to the level of the Goebel-like propaganda you are accusing others of propagating.

      • It seems Anthony, that all of a sudden, a whole lot of WUWT visitors cloaking devices have stopped working properly, and revealed more about them, than they intended to show.

        That’s a revelation of some gravity, all by itself.

        G

  7. The 110 ms pulse event that is called gravity waves is very different from what I expected. I expected some fuzzy background signal that seemed to come from everywhere (like the background radiation a la Wilson and Penzias.) Since gravity is associated with matter and matter is everywhere it seems to me to be reasonable that time/space varying gravity “signals would be ubiquitous.

    The fact that this, quite literally a pulse, in the gravity detector, exists in both detectors in solitude, troubles me.

    It troubles me not because of the brilliant minds that put the machine together, rather the roll-out miasma. I smacked of …

    “you better believe this because before we tell you the underlying science we will awe you with all the awesome names of the awesome participants and that should be enough to stop ANY DOUBT”

    Well, science requires reexamination or data regardless of the pedigree of the investigators.

    I want to know why, with the vastness of the universe and the ostensible trillions of earth like planets logic stream, there are not trillions of binary stars and many many more of these so called, colliding binary black holes? Why have there been no other signals?

    Like I said I have no doubts about the machines. I have a great deal of doubt about the human being-funding relationship. ‘No bucks- no Buck Rogers” The weakness of science is the human contribution. Egos, glory, government funding. More important than the calibration of the equipment to measure a distortion of 1/000 of a proton diameter, is the impending need for justification to maintain the funding levels.

    What?… a scientist might exaggerate a signal to make the case for funding? Never heard of that before?

    I is all too convenient that the experiment yields a signal “identical” to a model of a common (but apparently rare) binary black hole collision. I, as usual. am happy to cheer on science and keep an open mind. I refuse to cheer on uncorroborated data based on celebrity. Especially when it buttressed by bullying braggarts.

    A single pulse does not make a theory validated. In the words of Einstein himself, “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.”

    So, proceed with with healthy skepticism and ask penetrating questions regardless of the efforts to shut you down. In other words, Practice SCIENCE.

    • The damage that CAGW has done to the trust in scientists from all fields will take a very long time to repair ! I agree with the above 100% , especially the last sentence.

    • This will be the first of many. They only just got the system up and working when it detected a strong signal.

      To be detectable, the waves have to come from our local region of the universe, even if powerful, like these from 1.3 billion lys distance.

      • The strong signal is actually my problem with the discovery. A brand new instrument comes online and immediately detects what it was supposed to, exactly in the way that the century-old models predicted?

        While I always like enthusiastic scientists, I have a problem with an instrument that hasn’t proved calibration making ground breaking discoveries? It took, what, 9 months of verification between “We think this signal is it!” and “We have repeated it and mathematically verified it!” for the Higgs boson, and that was on an instrument that was mature and had years of calibration and testing under it.

        This may be the greatest discovery since sliced bread, but I want to see verification over time before I get all sorts of excited. This could just be another OMG particle event.

    • All the other stuff in the universe makes gravitational-wave noise. However, the signals are very small, and the detector is only able to pull the very largest signals out of the noise. So every once in awhile, there’s an event that’s detectable. When I lived a couple of miles away from the railroad yard, every once in awhile I’d hear railroad cars banging together. I’m sure railroad cars banged together at other times, but I was far enough away I only heard the very loudest collisions.

      • Ochams Razor.

        The simplest explanation is likely the correct explanation.

        If I were a gravity researcher I would apply Popper’s falsifiable hypothesis criteria. In fact, I would drop a load of Play-Dough on a warehouse floor at a site half way between the two facilities and produce a myriad of instrument pulses as close to the binary black hole pulse model as possible. I would transmit RF from space that would induce simultaneous instrument response.

        Then I would invite my COMPETITORS to go over the data and shoot holes in it or detect one themselves and admit it.

        That is what I want to see. Self-deprecating joy and the love of science. What I see, is bombast, chest beating, bullying and argumentative pride parading in celebrity and NOBEL NOBEL NOBEL. Not science in my opinion.

        This reminds me of CAGW, Cold Fusion, Piltdown Man, SETI, Wow! event, and Kelvin’s Earth age blunder.

        Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

        Now.. the Lewandowski issue.

        Having a host of skeptical scientists buck convention and want proper science conducted in the face of a wave of celebrity presents a problem for Anthony. Lewandowsky is looking for political relief from his poorly constructed experiment characterizing WUWT readers as lunar landing skeptics. So I bet Anthony is walking on eggshells so to speak that we may inadvertently serve up what Lewandowski would characterizes as further evidence of the innate wackiness of the WUWT following. Well, ok but that is what big pants are for.

        Corroboration of the gravity pulse by another competitive laboratory is proper science. Even if it takes another 20 years. Yes and you heard it here first on WUWT, a web site that loves real science.

      • Paul Westhaver : February 17, 2016 at 9:36 am

        “Ochams Razor.
        The simplest explanation is likely the correct explanation.”

        That is not what it means.

      • The catholic monk who first posited the aphorism thereby engendering its name was William Of Ocham (pick your favorite spelling)

        his quote was “entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem”

        translated is:

        “entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity”

        My common parlance restatement is perfectly acceptable.

      • Tom in Florida,

        I suggest that if you are truly concerned with abuses of Ocham’s Razor that you deal with the cephus0
        February 17, 2016 at 8:56 am invocation. Or you can remain on point regarding corroboration and falsifiability.

      • Paul Westhaver February 17, 2016 at 10:46 am
        re Occam’s Razor
        “My common parlance restatement is perfectly acceptable.”

        Doesn’t make it correct. It is misleading to those who do not know the difference and then try to use it to justify simplistic ideas.

      • A reasonable phrasing is when exolaining something we no more assumptions should be made than necessary. It is interesting that when we turn this to AGW, the “natural” theory is in fact using an assumption – that there is something in nature that is responsible for every twist and turn. The AGW uses fewer assumptions because the forcing theory uses explanations for the forcings, nit merely assumptions.

    • Yes and the ground is so stable on those pair of 16 square km, and all the earthquakes and their aftershocks and the moon’s and planets gravity has been filtered out by the program. Timing between the two sites? Didn’t we have a ‘faster than light’ problem with timing a while back? Sure they got it all right.

    • Paul Westhaver,

      The beauty of this site is that so many very knowledgeable people comment here. For example, Dr. Lief Svalgaard, a published, peer reviewed author on closely related science.

      I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Svalgaard a couple of times (although he may not remember a nobody like me). He’s been immersed in the subject for decades, and he knows what he’s talking about. Certainly more than at least 99.97% of the population.

      So when Dr. S says gravity waves have been detected, I rely on that. There’s a reason we use expertise; that way we don’t all have to be experts on every subject.

      That’s not to say we shouldn’t question what the experts say. But those questions should be based on rigorous reasoning, and reasonable skepticism. Because the science part of it is good.

      I expect more such discoveries, and with each one we will have more confidence that it is what they say it is. I would be skeptical only if it’s a fluke; a one-off.

      • dbstealey,

        I frequent this sight and have for many years because of the participants desire to practice science and its criticism. On balance the conversation is convivial and informative, a tribute to A Watt’s leadership. I don’t listen to a thing LiefSvalgaard writes. There is nothing that he contributes that I can’t otherwise find. You see, science has context. It is the search for knowledge about the natural world on behalf of mankind. Man is the purpose. In my view, he has never appealed to me to be relevant in terms of that dominant component. Many people can do math, read journals and pump their own prestige. A small few, who are worth remembering technically, also evoked a kind of humanity that begged remembrance, science acumen notwithstanding. I am not a solar astronomer but I love science and conduct science professionally (not usually subject matter on this site). I have a great interest in the sun and may have become a fan. I also love the company of old men who know things. LiefSvalgaard’s treatment of people on the site is reprehensible. Not to me in particular. I have little if any interaction and I mostly ignore him. He is a bore begging for relevance. But I have noted many many cruel writings he has made about other good and curious investigators and I would say that most of them were unwarranted. So I regard him as an old cruel bully with little to contribute of interest to anyone. In advanced years, and quite possibly suffering medical problems, like Alzheimers or dementia his hostility can be explained or tolerated. One would think with the few years he has left he would use them better. Great men whom I admire have rarely engaged his colleagues as I have witnessed by him. That being said I can’t speak to his infirmities, only to what he has written.

      • I find it amusing tha you feel it OK to say “So I regard him as an old cruel bully with little to contribute of interest to anyone. In advanced years, and quite possibly suffering medical problems, like Alzheimers or dementia”, yet criticise DrS for being hostile. His contributions have been quite restrained and extremely informative.

      • Paul Westhaver,
        I agree about our friend Lief, he has a rather brutal way of dealing with people he does not agree with. He has his beliefs that he believes are true and written in stone, that is not the attitude that is required of a true scientist. Wayne

      • “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.”

        Richard Feynman, “What Is Science?”, 1966 Address.

      • Paul, you must have never had a tough, disciplinarian professor (rare these days, I’d guess). Tough to deal with, but almost always the ones you learn the most from when you figure out how to ignore the acerbic stuff and bear down.

      • Beng, ignoring Leif’s snark is something I endeavor to do with our resident astronomer. However in reading Leif’s comments it is work to filter out the direct and general insults. In the gravity thread I learned more from numerous others, because they directly addressed the concerns brought up by others, ignorant or wise, but mostly avoided the insulting language. See the succession of about six comments here between Leif and I, where I tried to encourage him, to take a similar tack… https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/02/14/a-triumph-of-science-first-detection-of-the-gravitational-wave/#comment-2146306 Notice that Leif never responded to my last comment which was simply a scientific question.

        Here, https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/02/17/the-detection-of-gravitational-waves-a-triumph-of-science-enabled-by-fossil-fuels/#comment-2148214 I ask what I consider to be a crucial skeptical question, Could unaccounted for factors have mimicked the detected signal?

        Paul Westhaver above mentions that they should be doing all possible to mimic the signal. (Perhaps they have?) I would love to see a list of what actual signals were eliminated at each site to produce the remaining graphics that matched each other and Einstein’s predictions, and the size of the error bars for each signal eliminated. These instruments may be capable of detecting events that no seismograph invented can detect, opening the possibility that previously unknown and researched events (micro quakes, seismic, lunar or atmospheric pressure induced for instance) between the two sites could have produced a similar strength, timing and duration event.

        Skepticism should have imagination, and while cynicism is often unwarranted, social political observations of subjects like CAGW can mean that some cynicism is rationale. Where humans are involved, cynicism can be rationale. However it is likely that the scientists here did not know exactly what other signals would be required to be eliminated in advance, and could not post hoc change how they adjusted for the disparate factors which likely occurred at the time of this signal, and the result is intriguing.

  8. The title of this post makes no sense: “a triumph of science enabled by fossil fuels.” Yet the article itself shows that one of the detectors is mostly powered by non-fossil fuel generated hydro power. It is probably the only place in the USA where that could happen. If anything it is a ringing endorsement of non CO2 producing energy.

      • Who said anything abotu “green” ? Don’t misquote.

        It certainly ain’t fossil fuel, is it?

        Apparently it is not classed as “renewable” because …. it’s renewable. That would mean we don’t have to do anything in order to use more renewables : so it DOESN’T COUNT.

        Please stay awake at the back , there.

      • It is not considered ” renewable ” either ( by the greenies) but I was only pointing out the silliness of the greens. As for the title, it was BUILT with fossil fuels…period !

      • And, forget the CO2 released in the building of the dams, the steel for the generators, the entire grid infrastructure…

      • Marcus “Hydro power is not considered ” Green ” energy !”

        You are just making stuff up. From USswitch.com
        “What is green energy or renewable energy?
        Green electricity is generated from natural and renewable energy sources that have less of an impact on the environment than fossil fuels. If you’re looking for concreate examples of what is renewable energy, then energy produced using solar energy, wind energy and water power (hydroelectricity) all qualify. ”

        Hydro counts as green energy.

      • this is in response to seaice1….. actually only some “hydro” is considered renewable depending on the size and which state you live in. in California only small hydro is considered renewable and “imported” hydro energy since California has some sizable hydro generation the politicians didn’t want it classified as renewable so that they could push more subsidies to their preferred friend’s renewables ie wind and solar and the the “appropriate” kick backs and contributions to their political campaigns.

        aahhhh politicians pushing a bad “solution” who’d a thunk??

        Cheers,

        Joe

      • For seaice1: Hydro as renewable – this has been discussed at length in other posts. The US Federal Government officially recognizes hydro electricity as “renewable”. However, they do not encourage it and promote other power sources as renewable.

        See the “Renewable Portfolio Standards” promoted by the Federal Government, adopted by over 30 states and hundreds of cities according to this and other reports”

        http://www.governing.com/topics/transportation-infrastructure/gov-hydropower-renewable-energy.html

        http://www.governing.com/topics/transportation-infrastructure/gov-hydropower-renewable-energy.html

        A trend has formed in the creation of state governments’ “Renewable Portfolio Standards” (RPS) for electricity generation. Since 1994, some 30 states (and hundreds of cities) have adopted binding RPSs with a majority passing such legislation since in 2004. Seven other states have adopted non-binding RPS “goals.” These standards call for power providers in some states to increase their use of renewable energy by as much as 33% by 2025.

      • Hydro power relies on the energy that powers the sun: Gravitational energy.

        You put something up high (the sun even does that part for us too); then you let it fall, and turn a crank.

        Voilla ! instant electricity

        Can’t get any greener than that.

        G

      • Joe Civis and Wayne Delbeke. Thank you for the informative comments, complete with links. There is certainly some discussion about the sustainability of hydro. I think my point remains that it is not a fossil fuel, and thus the charts of generation source contradict rather then support the headline.

    • Greens in the PNW want to breach the dams for the sake of salmon.

      The big Columbia River dams most certainly have released CO2. Do you know how concrete is made?

      Plus, the region uses coal from Wyoming as the backup to its fish-killing dams and bird and bat-killing windmills.

    • You have to look at the bigger picture. The construction of all the equipment used fossil fuels. The transportation of the equipment to the locations used fossil fuels. The money to fund the project came from tax dollars which were stolen from we the people who originally produced those dollars using fossil fuels. The same can be said for all those windmills and solar panels.

      • Well it’s for damn sure that we would never have gotten here with just the renewable free clean green energy obtained from clambering around in fig trees, like our ancestors did.

        G

    • That hydro power did not forge the components or lift them into place or transport them from foundry to install point or mine the raw material or smelt the metals or make the concrete or…

      It does a nice job of powering the laser, vacuum pumps and detection and analysis equipment though.

  9. Yes, the whole thing is an absolute delight to contemplate. It is a fantastic experiment – it is admirable that such expensive experiment could be funded. Watch for the Nobel prize coming.
    And I hadn’t thought of the importance of reliable energy. Thanks, Anthony

    • Well Nobel prizes can be given (each year) to no more than three persons, for each prize; the ArafaGorBama prize excluded.

      So who among the 1,000 authors gets the prize ??

      I nominate one Albert Einstein, for the Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of Gravitational Waves.

      OOoops ! The recipient has to be present to win. Well can they make an exception because the evidence took a billion and a half years to get here.

      Bob Noyce was denied the Nobel Prize in Physics for the invention of the Integrated circuit, by not being here to get it. The person who did get it, Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments; invented an integrated circuit like my MIL invents a soup. She makes multiple ingredients at the same time, all in the same pot connected by water.

      Kilby made more than one transistor at a time, which was SOP at the time, making wafers of transistors, but instead of cutting them apart, and then wiring them together, he just left them together on the wafer, and soldered wires from one to another. An ersatz IC if there ever was one.

      So once again, Einstein will not receive his due for his discovery.

      G

  10. Slightly OT but don’t worry about waking up in the middle of the night.
    I’m coming to understand through real-life experience that is The Norm and absolutely fine.
    It is well documented from old (Middle Age) legal and other documents that talk about ‘Firste Sleepe and Second Sleepe.
    People would regularly do it and often called round on their neighbours who were likewisw wide awake at 3 or 4 in the morning.

    To my mind and experience (no alcohol and low carb hi fat diet), the thing about 8 hours minimum of solid sleep is quite wrong. Such sleep is brought on by, if not alcohol, the depressant effect of sugar and carbohydrate. They effectively knock you out.

    When you do rise from your ‘second sleep’, you are straight away wide awake & ready to go and not bleary-eyed and shuffling after cups of coffee to wake you up. Coffee in fact will give you what can only be described as a hang-over- assuming the carbs from yesterday didn’t do that already.
    This 8-hour sleep routine is one more Urban Myth, just like cAGW and CO2 and when repeated often enough it becomes= The Truth.

    • Wow, some dietary prejudice and random beverage advice in here, with the gospel according to St. Sleepy Sod, to go with the gravy waves and black impossibles to see. Gee, thanks.

  11. Astonishingly in this second LIGO thread the arguments from ignorance and incredulity still abound. I would have thought that in the interval between the two threads the witch doctors might have gone and done a little homework – but I guess not.

    For those who think it is likely that the perturbation in the signal over background was merely random I would bring two points to their attention. Firstly, the form of the signal is very close to exactly what is predicted by a theory which is one of the most exhaustively tested and confirmed physical theories of all time. One which is now so well confirmed that it is used in everyday engineering such as GPS and in more exotic applications like inserting space probes into orbit around outer gas giant moons. Secondly, the same – to a high degree of accuracy – signal was observed at two widely separated locations with an appropriate luminal delay between observations.

    For those who think the coincidence of making this observation so soon after firing up the upgraded system is just too much to be believed, I’ll offer this small analogy. This is equivalent to going outside on a clear night from a brightly lit room and gazing heavenwards only to see no stars. This is the pre-upgrade LIGO analogy. Now as we stand there looking up, our night vision starts to kick in which means that the photon sensitivity of our eyes is increasing. At some point in this process a star pops out of the blackness and then another and another … of ever decreasing absolute magnitude and so on as the night vision gain of our eyes is cranked up. That is pretty much what is happening with LIGO. With each increase in sensitivity the instruments are incorporating ever greater volumes of space over which they have sufficient sensitivity to detect certain events and these volumes scale with the cube of the sensitivity increases. In addition the magnitude of the events which it is capable of detecting gets progressively smaller within the nearer volumes. Therefore each sensitivity increase represents an enormously increased probability of making a detection of events which are inescapable consequences of general relativity . It is absolutely not very surprising that with this latest significant gain increase a detection was quickly made. Great, and doubtless serendipitous, that it panned out that way on an instrument workup dress rehearsal though not an amazing coincidence at all but more of a tribute to the engineers who worked so hard to make that possible.

    LIGO represents some of the most sublime science and engineering every contemplated by the human mind and has been running under the auspices of luminaries such as Kip Thorne for two and a half decades now without success. In this the moment of final vindication and massive future promise of such a huge effort by so many dedicated professionals I find it at once both vaguely funny and yet immeasurably sad to see some of the responses here. Please understand that LIGO has as much similarity to CAGW climate science as the large hadron collider has to ouija.

    • Bravo cephus0. Well put. I think the rabid blathering blogosphere has found and invaded Anthony’s blog. Arg…. More noise to filter out of my life.

    • ceppus0, What is you real name?

      1) Firstly, the form of the signal is very close to exactly what is predicted by a theory …. that in itself is not a proof. In fact, I see that as one of the troubling aspects. Why so few? There should be trillions of them…like the visible stars.

      2) Secondly, the same – to a high degree of accuracy – signal was observed at two widely separated locations with an appropriate luminal delay between observations.

      Appropriate luminal delay? Based on what assumption?

      2 of the the same may also be evidence of a design feature or a terrestrial source.

      • Paul, I prefer anonymity for discussions like this if you don’t mind. I treat such discussions as seminars and in a seminar names, titles, qualifications, publication history, egos and so forth are totally irrelevant. Only what is presented is important. In a seminar if the lay pensioner pushing the tea trolley asks a question and the Prof cannot provide a satisfactory answer – then that eminent Prof is in trouble.

        1) I did not say that the form of the signal is a proof. You may or may not know that there are no such things as proofs in science, although there most certainly are disproofs. Proofs only exist in mathematics and formal logic etc. where we make the rules. We do not make the rules for the natural Universe so all we can do is allocate probabilities of truth based on the evidence before us. Now a chirp is a wonderful thing and is fortunately also an exceeding rare thing in the natural world, at least outside of the realm of echolocating creatures anyway, so the fact that this observed signal has the form of a chirp – which is incidentally precisely what is predicted by one of our most powerful physical theories – is very, very strong evidence indeed in support of the interpretation of this event as a binary black hole coalescence.

        Why so few? How do you know it’s so few? They’ve only just switched the damned thing on! Give them half a chance would you? If you had a radio receiver with a crappy antenna and you’d been sitting there listening to static for a decade or so you might think about going out and buying a decent antenna which you retrofit to your radio. If you then switched on for a few seconds, caught a couple of bars of Bing Crosby singing White Christmas and then switched off again, would you subsequently be sitting there ruefully rubbing your chin and wondering why so few Bings? Pray do not be so ridiculous!

        2) The assumption is that general relativity is correct in its prediction that gravitational waves will propagate at light speed. This isn’t too wild of an assumption since there are no observed exceptions to the predictions of general relativity in a full century of looking for them very, very hard indeed.

        3) No. The same may not also be evidence of a design feature or terrestrial source. They thought about that you see at the design stage and in order to eliminate objections such as yours here went to the colossal expense and bother of building two of them at widely separated locations. The odds against a design feature/bug generating virtually identical signals – which just so happen to be precisely what general relativity predicts for binary black hole coalescence and at different locations with an appropriate time delay between the two which is also accounted for by general relativity – are so infinitesimally small as to be negligible.

        If you wish to propose a terrestrial mechanism to account for this twin detection then away you go and a Nobel prize assuredly awaits you should you succeed.

      • The burden of proof is not on me or anyone else to disprove the theory. You have the scientific method turned on it’s head. The burden of proof lies with the chief investigators of record to show that a binary black hole did collapse into one… somewhere since they are so abundant… and that the signal was not a consequence of something, anything else.

        Not my job. That is their job. You should know that.

        Since this fundamental concept of science escapes you I suspect that you may not make science your occupation. That is why I asked your name. I thought you just may be a troll begging attention.

        Proofs in science are in the form of an abundance of evidence, which is why I call for corroboration by competitive labs. A single signal does not a theory prove. BTW you did say “most exhaustively tested and confirmed physical theories” ……in my mind confirmed = proved.

        Back peddle away from your words obscured by your alias if you need to.

        Also, yes, they just switched the thing on and they should have been more cautious about proclaiming a proof without an abundance of evidence. A UN CAGW-esque funding ploy.

        No I am not satisfied that they did consider all terrestrial sources and space sources other than the abundant yet so rare, binary black hole collapse and null all ALL of them out and prove that they nulled ALL of them out and invite competitive laboratories to offer appropriate criticism.

        I understand the need to pile on and cheer on and make celebrity and heros. It is a common human need. All of this depends on faith. Faith in the unseen object in the sky that does what man wants it to do. Bullying by the priests and proselytizers of the new holy discovery is not science.

        In 1998 two independent projects, the Supernova Cosmology Project and the High-Z Supernova Search Team simultaneously obtained results suggesting a totally unexpected acceleration in the expansion of the universe by using distant type Ia supernovae as standard candles. This is highly credible because 2 competitive teams got unexpected and similar results.

        Since you want to remain anonymous and are shakey ground with respect to the scientific process I will not humor any more trolling. Good day.

    • Beautifully stated! I actually get a little emotional when contemplating the “gravity” of this discovery! Your elegant tribute to the engineering and science is warmly welcomed.

      To those skeptics of this science, PLEASE go spend a few minutes surveying the CalTech LIGO site https://www.ligo.caltech.edu/page/ligo-technology and marvel at the absolutely incredible engineering involved. All your silly notions about aberrant vibrations etc will be quashed.

      It really is breathtaking..

      • Yes wherever cephus0 hangs his hat, I hope he visits here often.

        We are talking about the positive isolation of signals that agree almost completely (remarkably well in my view) to something calculated mathematically from a theory presented 100 years ago, that we already rely on for valuable daily information (the GPS system).

        As I read the paper, the theoretical signals, are separately calculated for each of the two LIGO sites, and the isolated received signal at each site is a very good time resolved match to the calculated expected signal at that site, and then the time shifted signals from the two sites agree with the expected velocity of light propagation times for the purported Gravitational Waves, for a source in the sky region where the collision evidently took place.

        So this is not any juggling act until the balls all come down in some order. It’s a clear case, where actual experimental observations agree extremely well with a postulated theoretical event that Einstein’s theory is capable of mathematically computing

        As I have stated many times mathematics is pure fiction; we made it all up in our heads. But we can use it to describe pretty much exactly the expected behavior of our (also fictional) MODELS of what we think the real universe is like. And we create our models based on what experimental observations show and tell us, that the real physical universe seems to be doing.
        The mathematics has no connection to the real universe, none of it is observable anywhere. But it does perfectly describe our models, which is why we made it all up in the first place.

        We can twiddle the knobs on our model and calculate what will happen (or should happen).

        We can’t twiddle anything on the real universe; just observe it. But our models give us some ideas on what else might be out there to observe once we figure out how.

        We suddenly (well not all that sudden) have discovered a new ” entertainment medium ” just like radio or TV or even the internet, that we will be able to use to look for a whole bunch of new things about which we currently have no idea.

        It’s like having a whole flock of new bands on your short wave radio.

        I have always felt sorry for the bulk of those persons, who don’t understand, just what the manned moon expedition added to our knowledge, and how it benefits all of us. As a silicon valley participant, I’m also sorry for those who cannot ken just what all goes on in this place; it is truly mind boggling. Just yesterday, while driving my wife to a part of San Jose, that I never visit, we found (by mistake) a single large building complex, that had on it side by side by side, the placards, and offices for about 200 individual businesses, about half of them high tech, and none of which I have ever heard of.

        So for those of you who can’t grasp ANY element of this amazing new revelation, well my sorrow turns to real pity.

        I can only caution you to not walk off a cliff, or onto a railway track, while playing around aimlessly with your finger toys.

        G

    • I have NO basic fingertip understanding of how to manipulate the mathematics of Einstein General Relativity, to describe the expected behavior of ” black holes”, nor to describe the behavior of Gravitational waves caused by the collision of two such objects, but apparently quite a lot of people can actually do that.

      And they have as a result calculated what should happen if a black hole (A) of mass M1 collides with a black hole (B) of mass M2 after approaching each other under the influence of (Einstein) gravitation, and thus deduced what the generated gravitational wave signal would be.

      So these guys received a signal; apparently from some previously perceived black holes, and were able to fit the M1 and M2 values to the mathematical calculations to find what A and B must be.

      Now if Einstein was all wet, and there’s no such thing as Einstein gravity; Newton Rocks, and Einstein’s whatever is something else; well then these folks clearly have discovered an instance of whatever it is that Einstein’s theory predicted.

      But given that Einstein’s “whatever” seems to look like gravity in some other predicted ways; why complicate the picture in the Occam sense, and insist that these aren’t just very ordinary Einstein gravitational waves, which is what he chose to call them.

      Why insist on calling a spade, a shovel, or denying that spades even exist.

      G

      PS Yes I do have quite a bit of fingertip understanding of how the LIGO works, but not in all details. The resolution still astonishes me, but not to the point of incredulity.

      • George, does this instrument record signals all the time which must be eliminated to find that which remains?

        I have little doubt, although I mention a couple of possibilities here… https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/02/17/the-detection-of-gravitational-waves-a-triumph-of-science-enabled-by-fossil-fuels/comment-page-1/#comment-2148879 …that the signal shown is remarkable. I am trying to understand what was actually (not theoretically) eliminated at each site to get the signal that remained, and to understand if other conditions, terrestrial or astronomical, could cause such an event of similar size and timing at two locations.

        I have mentioned that we may be detecting vibrations we have never considered, seismic affects on earth’s crust magnitudes smaller then what any seismograph can detect, coming from lunar forces, coming from land deformation from atmospheric changes. Conventional earthquakes are the result of stress, prior to the release the stress is there and building in micro movements, perhaps thousands or millions or billions or trillions of micro movements go into the larger quakes detected by seismographic instruments, but are too fine for those instruments, but perhaps not too fine for this instrument. Could such a micro quake, located between two LIGO sites, produce a graphic of similar magnitude, duration and timing between the recordings.? is this even a reasonable question?

    • @cephus0
      “Astonishingly in this second LIGO thread the arguments from ignorance and incredulity still abound. I would have thought that in the interval between the two threads the witch doctors might have gone and done a little homework – but I guess not.”

      Well summarized. I injected a few facts into the first thread, for the benefit of those obviously in total ignorance of black holes, relativity (GR & SR) and quantum physics. But it seems the same brick walls here have not bothered to even try to actually learn anything. I was tempted to supplement some facts on Hawking radiation, black hole evaporation and information conservation. But I won’t bother now because I have high confidence that the futility factor will remain unchanged.

      For the non-dogmatic sceptics, there is a pretty good summary on the confirmations of GR here:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tests_of_general_relativity

  12. I note that according to the charts, less than half (47.2%) of the power across the 2 states comes from fossils, the rest is nuclear or renewables.

    • Hydro is not considered a renewable green energy by the fanatical green activists ! They don’t like dams because they actually work to provide cheap power !

      • Hydro is actually defined as non-renewable so they can get federal money for being able to say X% of energy comes from renewables. It is a shameless scam. Because we have so much hydro here we’d never qualify for a position at the federal sow without the fabrication.

  13. Black holes of about 30 earth mass size. Emmm……….. That is not logical. How can 30 Earth mass size result in a Black hole? I like the experiment and the public publishing of the results. The more I hear and think about the less I buy the conclusions…pg

    [harrydhuffman referenced that “30 earth masses” erroneously in his snipped comment, the reality is 30 solar masses, per this sentence in the caption for the video “The signals came from two merging black holes, each about 30 times the mass of our sun, lying 1.3 billion light-years away.” – pay no attention to his claim -mod]

      • I thought that the general physics of how neutron stars and black holes happen (under current theory) and the range of properties, size, mass, Temperature etc. was pretty much ho hum; which is not to say I understand it; I do have some of it in a book.

        If you think 30 solar masses is not enough, then what exactly does your view of black holes think is a necessary and sufficient size to do this.

        You can’t have an intelligent position on what is satisfactory, unless you already have some knowledge about what range can work.

        G

      • See – Tolman–Oppenheimer–Volkoff limit
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tolman%E2%80%93Oppenheimer%E2%80%93Volkoff_limit

        “Often referred to as the Landau-Oppenheimer-Volkoff limit (or LOV limit), the Tolman–Oppenheimer–Volkoff limit (or TOV limit) is an upper bound to the mass of stars composed of neutron-degenerate matter (i.e. neutron stars). The TOV limit is analogous to the Chandrasekhar limit for white dwarf stars. It is approximately 1.5 to 3.0 solar masses corresponding to an original stellar mass of 15 to 20 solar masses.

        In a neutron star less massive than the limit, the weight of the star is balanced by short-range repulsive neutron-neutron interactions mediated by the strong force and also by the quantum degeneracy pressure of neutrons, preventing collapse. If its mass is above the limit, the star will collapse to some denser form. It could form a black hole, or change composition and be supported in some other way (for example, by quark degeneracy pressure if it becomes a quark star). Because the properties of hypothetical, more exotic forms of degenerate matter are even more poorly known than those of neutron-degenerate matter, most astrophysicists assume, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, that a neutron star above the limit collapses directly into a black hole.

        A black hole formed by the collapse of an individual star must have mass exceeding the Tolman–Oppenheimer–Volkoff limit. Theory predicts that because of mass loss during stellar evolution, a black hole formed from an isolated star of solar metallicity can have a mass of no more than approximately 10 solar masses.[4]:Fig. 21 Observationally, because of their large mass, relative faintness, and X-ray spectra, a number of massive objects in X-ray binaries are thought to be stellar black holes. These black hole candidates are estimated to have masses between 3 and 20 solar masses.”

        From there, the black hole can accrete material and grow to whatever mass you want.

        Trivia: There is an upper limit to the mass of an elementary particle – the Planck mass – about the mass of a speck of dust. Beyond this you get a black hole. These are the kinds of micro black holes they (non-experts) waffle about being created in the Large Hadron Collider.

  14. How do the LIGO folks know that the earth’s crust did not just “burb,” which would cause an instantaneous change in the distance to the mirrors from their light source/ beam splitter and thus cause the “anomalous” interference pattern?
    After all, earth is always active – seismically speaking, even though the vast majority of time this activity cannot be felt (or measured with standard seismic measurement devices?) .
    The strain measurements – on the order of 10 ^ (-21) are so infinitesimally small – that it seems a stronger than normal eruption of the Yellowstone hot geysers (located about half way betwixt the LIGOR sites) could cause such small displacements in the earth’s crust.
    Any help on this will be appreciated !!!

    • Sure thing John. Have a look at the form of the signals received at the two detectors separated by > 3,000 km http://www.drobnxs.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/LIGOsignals.png. Firstly note that they have the form of what is called a ‘chirp’, meaning the frequency of the signal is changing with time. Bats generate ultrasonic chirps for echolocation purposes and these are often of surprisingly complex form but in essence it means a short pulse of ultrasound which increases rapidly in frequency over a short time. The gravitational chirp detected at LIGO has a rising frequency – and amplitude – varying over a millisecond timescale and this is precisely what is predicted by general relativity for a pair of massive coalescing compact stellar objects like black holes or neutron stars.

      In order for it to be a geological ‘burp’ you would need to hypothesise some geological process capable of generating a chirp signal like that and over such very short timescales. Beware here – rocks don’t generally do major bulk movements on millisecond time scales. Having done that you would then be faced with explaining how a signal which should propagate at sonic speed through the 3,000 km of intervening rock has managed to do so at light speed. Again – a tricky proposition.

      I suggest that Occam’s razor demands that we go for now with an explanation which neatly fits all of the best theories we currently have along with the exquisitely accurate observations we now have to compare them against and note the precise match, rather than just making stuff up without any decent theory or supporting empirical evidence. The latter after all is the mainstay of CAGW climate science and we wouldn’t want any of that to rear its hideous head in astronomy now would we !?

      • To Cephus0:

        Thank you for your response !!
        My question was motivated purely by my ignorance; in no way was I suggesting that the LIGO results were wrong or some sort of misrepresentation, intentional or otherwise.
        At least there are some scientists who actually use and believe in the scientific method; they actually carry out a real experiment and compare it to theory. What a novel idea.
        Maybe these LIGO folks can “move over” into the science of terrestrial climate; at least we would see some honest work. .

        Thanks again.

      • So a gravitational ” chirp ” is just like a whistler, howler, dawn chorus, or similar lightning triggered radio atmospheric signal is ? I just need to buy myself a new gravitational ” radio ” so I can listen to some new music myself ! So this really IS an entirely new ” informational communicational ” medium, with a whole huge bandwidth to explore.

        Seems like I need to find a GR gravitation book, to try and understand how they even calculate such behavior.

        G

      • Cephus says,
        =========================================================================
        “Beware here – rocks don’t generally do major bulk movements on millisecond time scales. Having done that you would then be faced with explaining how a signal which should propagate at sonic speed through the 3,000 km of intervening rock has managed to do so at light speed. Again – a tricky proposition.
        ============================================================================
        In my comment above I address some of this..
        “I have mentioned that we may be detecting vibrations we have never considered, seismic affects on earth’s crust magnitudes smaller then what any seismograph can detect, coming from lunar forces, coming from land deformation from atmospheric changes. Conventional earthquakes are the result of stress, prior to the release the stress is there and building in micro movements, perhaps thousands or millions or billions or trillions of micro movements go into the larger quakes detected by seismographic instruments, but are too fine for those instruments, but perhaps not too fine for this instrument. Could such a micro quake, located BETWEEN two LIGO sites, making light speed unnecessary as we would then be measuring the arrival time distance, not the wave propagation speed, (Or coming from land deformation resulting from Lunar induced movements) which could possibly produce a graphic of similar magnitude, duration and timing between the recordings.? is this even a reasonable question?”

        These micro quakes must exist. Their frequency must be quite common as millions of events must go into the formation of a larger conventional quake. The duration and wavelength of such tiny movements must be far smaller then conventional quakes and of immense variety and timing. These two instruments may be the only instruments capable of such detections. These micro quake movements may, like conventional movements, happen in their own time, not resulting when the stress or lunar force first acts upon the earth, but when the tiny energy release happens within the earth. Suppose millions of these micro movements happen, then the chances that one may mimic the expected result greatly increase, and we simply data mined for that result.

        What signals were eliminated at each site to leave the discovery graphic represented? What is the error margin for the adjustments made? Did the initial movements recorded at the time look anything like what is left? BTW, I think the results may well be solid, but truth is not afraid of questions?

    • …distances are wrong in the Yellowstone example. The propagation delay measured by the instruments would need a specific combination of distances and wave transmission characteristics for the measured delay to occur. When the 3rd system comes online, much better source location triangulation should be possible.

    • They’ve apparently thought of or know every possible cause of such an infinitesimally small perturbation and we should trust in their reassurance that it is most definitely from two black holes colliding 1.3 billion light years away 1.3 billion years ago.

      How much doubt have these scientists cast on their findings like any good scientist should?

      • deebodk I don’t know what you mean. Once again, not “AN infinitesimally small perturbation” but “TWO infinitesimally small perturbations” separated by the confirmatory light speed governed time interval. They have taken a full six months from observation to announcement in order to check every conceivable thing they possibly could. At the end of all of that they are left with a superbly clear observation matching a likewise clear prediction of no lesser theory than general relativity. What exactly more is it you are wanting them to do? There is a fine line between honest informed skepticism and just plain willful donkeyism. If everyone were to proceed according to your specifications we’d still be sitting around waiting for an apple to fall skywards out of a tree.

    • Oh and one more thing. The most significant problem in this kind of work is signal to noise ratio which means that you have to keep the noise in the equipment down to a level where you can see the desired signal above the background noise. They are well aware of seismic noise along with all manner of other sources of noise and the seismic vibration damping mechanisms and detection and elimination protocols are quite breathtakingly sophisticated and effective.

    • I am not a physicist but I have visited the Hanford LIGO facility and talked with the scientists there. They have public tours and lectures every now and then. They have been running the facility at lower sensitivities for many years and have used that time to detect and identify effects from small earthquakes, wind, human acitivity etc. I was told that the ocean waves hitting the Pacific coast of the US can be detected as well as trucks hitting the expansion joints on the Interstate located a few miles away. They know what these signals look like and have been very careful to identify them and eliminate them.

      But more than that, to be identified as a gravity wave the detection must be identical and must occur at the same time (taking in to account the time it takes to get from one detector to the other at the speed of light) in BOTH of the detectors (Washington and Louisiana).

      By combining the nature of the signal with the timing of detections at both facilities small earthquakes and other spurious signals can be identified and eliminated.

      Having visited and talked to the staff at Hanford I am pretty certain that the detections are from gravity waves. That they found signals so soon after upgrading the sensitivity is like getting a pair of glasses and suddenly being able to read. Galileo found the moons around Jupiter and the phases of Venus soon after acquiring a telescope–he hadn’t the sensitivity of detection to do that before the instrument was developed.

      Time will tell of course, but I don’t think this is any “rush to a Nobel”. This is a discovery that has taken decades to achieve.

      • Regarding this…
        ====================================================================
        “But more than that, to be identified as a gravity wave the detection must be identical and must occur at the same time (taking in to account the time it takes to get from one detector to the other at the speed of light) in BOTH of the detectors (Washington and Louisiana).”
        ==================================================================

        Yet the actual speed of the wave causing this signal is not known, as the angle of the incoming wave is not known. Leif actually acknowledged this on the other thread. I quote him here, https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/02/14/a-triumph-of-science-first-detection-of-the-gravitational-wave/#comment-2146306

        So it occurred within the RANGE of light speed and is assumed to have traveled at light speed because that is the theory. Now of course the angle or direction can then be somewhat computed from the actual recorded interval, (ignoring other possibilities) but triangulation from a third or fourth source would help tremendously.
        Now we actually have bi-angulation only.. (-;

  15. I always felt that MSM discussion of CERN was a little too thick on the activities of “string theorists” and thin on the hard work (and often the practical problem solving genius) of the engineering side of the operation.
    Here, for the sake of balance is a nice straight forward (some may say,boring, but not me.) article reporting the expansion of the electrical supply side to TWO 100 MEGAWATT transformers.
    Question: How many huge 1 megawatt wind turbines or vast 1megawatt solar parks would it take to reliably source 100 megawatt of grid power.
    Answer: Ahahaha – trick question. It can’t be done. Hydro and Biomass (and maybe Geothermal) are the only renewables which could ever perform such a task.
    “The 400 kV substation on the Prévessin site brings in the electricity that powers CERN’s accelerators and the majority of the Laboratory’s installations. It was originally built in the 1970s for the SPS, and is one of only five privately owned 400 kV sub-stations in France. Three of the others belong to the national railway company, SNCF, supplying the Paris-Marseilles TGV line, the other is at the Cadarache research centre near mouth of the Rhone. After nearly thirty years of service, CERN’s substation has just undergone a complete overhaul.
    The electricity supply for the original Prévessin substation was from the 400 kV EDF network, delivered through three 90 MW transformers at 18 kV to the SPS pulsed network, With the arrival of LEP, two 110 MW transformers were added to supply the new accelerator. ”
    https://cds.cern.ch/record/45207?ln=en

  16. lsvalgaard
    February 17, 2016 at 7:52 am
    “Has nothing to do with the event horizon. Even the Earth in orbit around the Sun emits 200 Watt as gravitational waves.”

    So to what % has LIGO reliably verified said 200 WATT or any other gravitational waves?

      • But… but… they’re being emitted 1.3 billion light years away. Does the inverse square law apply? If so, it seems that 200 Watts from eight light minutes away should be detectable.

        I’m being serious, and I think you’re the best one to ask.

      • Compared to the solar output of 3.846×10^26 W?
        ============
        200 w of gravity waves at a distance of 8 light minutes is the equivalent of 1.5 * 10 ^26 watts of gravity waves at a distance of 1.3 billion light years by my quick calculation.

        It seems a rather amazing co-incidence that this would match the solar output so closely. To even be within the same order of magnitude is really bizarre.

      • The 200 Watt is gravitational wave energy, but if you want to measure that energy it is overwhelm by the EM energy. If you try to use something like LIGO which is 4 km long then you will intercept a 200 millionth of the 200 W or about 0.000001 Watt.

      • db

        The ratio of the Coulomb (electrostatic) force (repulsive) to the gravitational force (sucks) between two electrons is about 10^41 or thereabouts.

        Anywhere thereabouts is quite large. So gravity ” Really sucks ” which is why we will never have the energy of the stars down here on earth. But it sure works wonderfully out there in the big world where there is lots of room. Man is there ever a lot of room out there !

        And the beauty of gravity powered stars, is that you couldn’t stop it if you wanted to. Just put enough mass of hydrogen in a small enough space, and it will just suck itself into the right configuration.

        Truly marvelous is Gravitation

        G

    • RE: ” We see that all keys have 32 seconds of ‘1’, ” …Hmmm…I see zero’s on 9th line ?

      Contents of all the key, value pairs in chan_dict
      NO_BURST_HW_INJ
      [1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1]
      NO_CBC_HW_INJ
      [1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1]
      CBC_CAT1
      [1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1]
      BURST_CAT2
      [1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1]
      BURST_CAT1
      [1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1]
      CBC_CAT2
      [1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1]
      DEFAULT
      [1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1]
      CBC_CAT3
      [1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1]
      NO_CW_HW_INJ
      [0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0]
      NO_STOCH_HW_INJ
      [1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1]
      NO_DETCHAR_HW_INJ
      [1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1]
      BURST_CAT3
      [1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1]
      DATA
      [1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1]
      We see that all keys have 32 seconds of ‘1’, meaning the data pass all data quality flags
      and have no HW injections, except there are CW injections in L1.

    • It’s a pulse, an impulse, or bleep, or a wiggle, I say. And I don’t a give crap what lsvalgaard demands I call it.

  17. Just speculating…every elliptical galaxy either already has, or will eventually produce a pulse like this.

  18. Real science gets expensive validation effort. Climate science gets the expense and expensive PR treatment.

  19. This is a milestone discovery. The accuracy needed to tickle out the results is mind-numbing but what truly boggles the mind is the amount of energy released by that event. The model of that merger indicates energy just in the form of gravitational waves was greater than the energy from all the stars in the universe (for that time interval).

    Impossible to wrap one’s mind around.

    • i think there is a vast difference between models designed for a different purpose then bastardised for climate simulations where they are not fit for that purpose vs mathematical models designed specifically for the task in hand .
      really looking forward to seeing this project expand when the european facility comes on line.

      • The black hole itself is a model. Just recently a few papers have been published, including one by Stephen Hawking, saying that the event horizon does not work. This stuff is unverifiable, so who knows what else they got wrong.

        A meaningless explanation for a meaningless problem that they could have solved by realising that electricity is important.

  20. If the event happened 1.3 billion ly away and 3 solar masses were converted to gravitational waves in 0.1 second, then power flux density of radiation here was 2.8 mW/m², which is huge. EM radiation power flux density is about the same 0.1 ly away from the Sun, which would make it very visible.

    That’s how hard to detect gravitational waves.

    The event delivered 360 GW to Earth for 0.1 seconds, next to none of it was absorbed.

    However, I wonder what would happen, if it occurred nearby, let’s say 1300 ly away. In that case power flux density of gravitational radiation would be a trillion times higher, that is, 2.8 GW/m². Which is 2 million times more than power flux density of EM insolation at ToA. If only a tiny fraction of it gets absorbed, we are doomed indeed. Is the universe that dangerous a place after all?

    • It is very possible that the Universe is a dangerous place. A nearby Gamma Ray Burster would also sterilize the Earth. Perhaps the dangerous and violent Universe explains why Extraterrestrial Life has not been detected: We are alone.

      • Thanx, that’s reassuring ;)

        But I wonder at what distance the clicking sound of this black hole merger event would get audible? It generates mechanical waves in bodies after all, in the frequency range of hearing.

      • peter, you want to know in what distance one can hear a crunch with the ears as response to this event? Sometimes in the minds of some follower here, I’m afraid. :-) When one reads the arguments full of ignorance… ;-)

      • Leif, don’t you think the far more likely explanation is threefold?

        [1] Space is HUGE
        [2] Signal intensity is a function of 1/huge² … which is ‘preposteriously small’.
        [3] Right conditions → life → intelligence → communication … window … is short.

        Combine those, and for no other reason that statistical probability, the likelihood of us being close enough to hear a civilization, at the right window of time and looking the right direction(s) is vanishingly small. Even if one posits that there is a communicating-style civilization utilizing EM waves of some assortment of wavelengths that we just happen to be able to intercept … one per square arcminute of the sky, uniformly distributed EVEN if you assume that, all but one or two in the entire observable sphere will be close enough to have a discernible signal even with all our radio-telescopes and other sensors pointed the same direction at the same time.

        Which… produces the terribly depressing result: N (close enough) in 47,000,000 chance of actually detecting one, today, right now.

        Since we’re only scanning some 1% of the whole sphere any given year, and since we’re NOT concentrating on every square arcminute of the heavens with terribly much time (in order to integrate a discernable result), it stands that we’re looking with rather stark futility.

        Then there’s that darn communications window. Mankind’s is nearly closed. We might have started out with large and fairly few AM transmitters, and then thousands of FM, VHF and UHF sources … but at this point we’re heading toward a kind of “noisy mixed emission” that might be broad spectrum anomalous from afar, but hardly discernable as the emission spectrum of a (barely) advanced civilization. The trend-line on this is just as depressing as the 1/huge² problem. As we covet ever more bandwidth, ever less power will go into beaming the bandwidth around – per channel. Externally, we’re evolving into a ball of noise.

        Just saying.
        GoatGuy

      • That would be the case if those civilizations were at our level. But most of them would be billions of year ahead of us, and possibly engaged in reconstructing the stellar environment [Dyson Spheres] or in war fare [Galactic Empires]. Turn the question around: the occurrence frequency of Gamma ray bursters in a galaxy is one very 500 million years, and if one happens all surface life would be gone. So any given galaxy would sterilize surface life every 500 million years, just about the time it takes higher life to emerge from the oceans and evolve to where we are now…

      • lsvalgaard says:

        Life has not been detected: We are alone.

        Seems possible at galactic scales. I am continually amazed at how many favorable “goldilocks” events had to occur to end up with “us”. The list is too long to post…..

  21. Nice piece to keep the echo chamber full. Energy is nice including all that required to make the cement and steel needed in the LIGO construction. You can’t roller skate in a buffalo herd and you can’t make commercial quantities of cement and steel from solar and wind.

    Fermilab just outside Chicago ran the Tevaton for many years discovering the top quark (1997?) as powered by nukes (70%) and dirt burners (30%). You can still see a huge capacitor bank at the property boundary (Google Earth) used to condition the electric power flowing into and out of the facility.

  22. A bit more cautious publicity claims by the LIGO fraternity could be preferable to many people; the next event would increase degree of certainty enormously but even then not absolutely. Next event may occur any day now, or we may not see another one in our lifetime.
    Fundamentals of science could not built on a single event, in religion yes, they call it miracle.

    • As usual, you do not know what you are talking about. Up to the end of January, four events have been found already, and singular events do happen, e.g. life on Earth, creation of the Moon.

      • life on Earth, creation of the Moon.
        ============================
        one time events are one time because they don’t happen very often. finding gold the first place you dig is never convincing.

      • And the gravitational events are not rare. They happen somewhere in the Universe every second. We don’t see most of those because most are too far away and we are not in the orbital plane in most of them, but there are enough to make observation every few weeks a reality.

    • Isn’t this kinda like the CAGW alarmists argument ? : ..” We don’t know what else it could be, so it must be CO2 “….and this : ” We don’t know what else it could be so it must be a Gravitational Wave ” !

      • No, Marcus. It is like this:
        General Relativity [which we all use every day] has met all tests thrown at it. From the theory we can compute what the signal of two colliding large masses should be. When we finally build an instrument sensitive enough, it is no surprise that we actually see such a [and more] signal right away. It gives us even more confidence that GR is correct.

      • I have absolutely no problem with General Relativity or Special Relativety at all..It’s the scientists I no longer trust !

      • Isvalgaard said, “General Relativity [which we all use every day] has met all tests thrown at it.”

        Couldn’t the same be said of quantum theory? And yet as I understand it, quantum theory and relativity theory are not consistent: as it stands, both cannot be true, despite (many) decades of attempts to reconcile them.

        If both seem like successful theories, yet both cannot be true, how do we choose which is correct, or whether either is?

      • Every theory has a ‘domain’ of applicability. General Relativity is valid in the very large, while Quantum Mechanics is valid in the very small. Normally there is no conflict between the two. During the Big Bang when the very large was also the very small we do have a conflict that is not resolved. Perhaps one day it will be resolved. It is good that Physics has some unsolved problems.

      • “Isn’t this kinda like the CAGW alarmists argument ?” Marcus- you have hit the nail on the head! It is very similar.

    • Vukcevic,

      Reflecting on the inadvertent discovery of the background radiation by Wilson and Penzias (though predicted by others), and reflecting of the many blunders made by scientists (Cold Fusion, slowing expansion rate of space), one would think that the discipline of science and caution would preface claims for the Nobel prize or egg on face.

      “Fundamentals of science could not built on a single event, in religion yes, they call it miracle.”

      Science is no longer knowledge. It is the religion of modernity. You know it when you are criticized for being curious and critical. Being curious and critical are essential to practicing good science. Curiosity and criticality are frowned upon by the purveyors of blind religious adherence to sciencism and their demigods. Can you feel the frown?

      • I’ve about had it with site, sorry to say … the man-worship going on here is just intolerable to me . .

      • Yes, marcus, complete with Prophesy;

        “At WUWT, I covered the story here, saying that it was a “triumph of science”. Indeed it was, and still is, and the effects of this discovery on science will ripple into the future for decades and centuries to come.”

      • ..So JohnKnight, are you saying you hate Humans as a whole….or just the male part ? You are not being very coherent !

      • It’s either hate or worship?

        ????

        “You are not being very coherent”

        I don’t understand what you’re having difficulty with . . I’m skeptical of big science . . What’s the problem?

  23. I noticed that they quote a red shift factor,presumably a dispersion relation linking wavelength and wave velocity similar to that em waves means that any phenomenon characterised by a wavelength will be affected by the expansion of the universe. As the technology is refined could it provide another way of determining the Hubble Constant in addition that obtained from radio and light astronomy. This is far more exciting than the Higgs boson ,IMO.

      • Or not.

        It’s not gravity that matters, that’s just wave energy propagation in something else. The discrete physical properties of that something else is the holy grail. Gravity provides key clues to an underlying material we call space.

        In space no one can hear you scream … it’s indifferent to rants … handy stuff. :-)

  24. ” Imagine if the power goes out. How long would it take to re-establish the vacuum in that facility? ”

    The effort must really suck mightily. (bu-dum … pa!)

    • Nah, they are going to get astronauts to collect jars of vacuum during spacewalks outside the ISS.
      Vacuum doesn’t weigh all that much so they can store them in hand-luggage on the return trip, without having to pay a charge for excess baggage weight.
      Once we have those jars of pristine vacuum back on earth then they can just open up the LIGO laser tube and tip them in… :)

    • So is there an earthquake filter to view somewhere? If they are screening out so many noise factors, they must have sets of filter logs.

    • Numerous earthquakes reported on Sept 14, 2015. []… just so y’all know

      Having read the paper I can now tell who has not, by when they make by cynical comments like this.

      In the paper they discuss that they have access to the earthquake database and analyzed it for earthquakes that happened at the same time.

      Same goes for a pile of other stuff that they’ve been measuring over the years. They have a really darned good idea of the signal to noise ratio of their equipment. There’s even of a graph of noise spectrum that points out root causes for various noticeable noisy areas of the spectrum are (e.g. like 60Hz). Their best signal noise ratio is between 100Hz to 200Hz, right in the range of this collision signal.

      Go on, read the actual paper already. They do an excellent job of discussing all the ways they could be wrong, and then debunking all those possibilities. You know, like a real science paper should.

      If you want to be a skeptic instead of a cynic, read the paper, and cite chapter and verse where you think they are wrong.

      Peter

      • I don’t practice cosmology. I do practice acoustics. I have had the pleasure of creating real-time noise cancelling devices for very sophisticated clients. 10Hz to 24kHz range. The devices are a mixtures of hardware and adaptive software. So I have had to engage the subject analogously and cope with significant non-periodic events. So I am neither cynical nor skeptical. Rather sensitive to the scope problem. Further, I believe I know how difficult the “filtering” is. I also know how much easier it is to not have the burden of real time response. Running analysis on data file for weeks/months at a go, provides a contemplative framework that I seldom experience.

        I do know that the extremely varied nature of seismic events and of their extremely broad spectral content, and am aware that the detector itself and various components have response behavior and modalities. I know for a fact that certain bolts used in the vacuum chamber itself can suffer resonances in the ~150Hz range. It is not reasonable to presume that all step inputs to a system have been modeled with non-idealized boundary conditions. eg a seal ring bolt under torque spec…or a non idealized weld.

        The detector was made. It does not live in a modeled world. It has a “personality” so to speak that is a reflection of the man, materials, measurements, methods, that put it together. So. dDo you really believe that every earthquake scenario is accommodated for in the filtering process? No of course not. Do you believe that the detector and the thousands of parts (in all modes) are design perfect and understood?

      • Peter or Paul, your more learned response to my question/assertions on this thread articulated here would be appreciated.

        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/02/17/the-detection-of-gravitational-waves-a-triumph-of-science-enabled-by-fossil-fuels/comment-page-1/#comment-2148903

        I am considering the possibility that within the noise of these super fine instruments, we may be recording literally thousands or millions of micro movements of different arrival times from micro quakes of vastly different strength frequency and location, never before recorded, resulting from Lunar and Solar affects on the earths crust, and or build up of tectonic stress to conventionally recorded quakes many magnitudes larger Millions of these may occur, and we may be simply data mining for one which mimics the Black Hole signal. Is this possible?

      • It is not reasonable to presume that all step inputs to a system have been modeled with non-idealized boundary conditions. eg a seal ring bolt under torque spec…or a non idealized weld.

        They didn’t just model the noise. They measured it. Over periods of years to decades. There isn’t a noise spike at the frequency you’ve mentioned. Look at the graph.

        If you think you have two identical seal ring bolts under torque spec resonated exactly speed of light time apart at two detectors and they’ve only done it exactly once in a decade of data gathering…I think that would be in cynic category.

      • Peter,

        Surely you accept the general assertion of ignorance of the breadth system response given the myriad of possible inputs from spurious sources. A tedious criticism of an almost arbitrary example for purposes of explanation isn’t all you are relying on to assuage the obvious fact that the detectors are artifacts of human creation? Including the filtering algorithms? I suspect that the filtering systems, therefor the 2 filtered results, will be similar. You may want to jump all over the algorithms, or the next of 1000s of objections to avoid the central proposition of what I am saying. Ok. so forget the algorithm, a human contrivance, and state for the record then, that this assemblance of machinery, occupying 2 locations is perfect and with no defects either in its contemplation, its conversion to design, its conversion to materials and systems, and hardware, its operation by people, on a variable platform. It therefore is perfect. It is not cynical for me to assume in all levels of implementation that perfection has not be achieved. It is likely.

        Rather than assail the metaphors and straw men, deal with that inevitable truth.

        Better you ask the systems engineers who are responsible for the detectors maintenance and calibration testing who will reveal to you their reservations.

      • Hubble’s mirror flaw. A famous example of a perfect, expensive, well-designed and well-engineered flaw. And a perfectly repeatable flaw. If 2 machine s are designed the same, and built the same, the same flaw’s they will give the identical flawed results. It is the nature of repeatability.
        eg Lexus floor mats and software, ford pinto gas tank, audi accelerations, neon head gaskets etc. All cases where different cars failed identically given the same conditions. Machines designed and built the same will exhibit the same behavior given the same inputs.

      • The two LIGO detectors did not register the same signal, but almost opposite signals [not exactly opposite, because the two detectors have only approximately opposite directional sensitivity]…

        Educate yourself a bit by reading http://www.leif.org/EOS/Noise-in-LIGO.pdf
        “We have ruled out environmental influences and non-Gaussian instrument noise at either LIGO detector as the cause of the observed gravitational wave signal”
        and LEARN from it.

      • There is series of prominent ‘noise’ spikes on Hanford data spaced at 20msec just before the main event.

        Similar spikes are also present in the delayed and inverted Livingston data, coincident with Hanford’s spikes along time scale, but not so prominent within the rest of noise
        Since the spikes are of much shorter duration (less than 1 msec) than the BHs expected spectrum signal, I would suspect they are electromagnetic nature, external to the system and most likely from space.

  25. I may be “pissing into the wind”, but seriously folks: conspiracy theories suggesting that somehow there’s been a coincidence of seismic signals at the pair of LIGO sensors is just wickedly off-kilter. It would be one thing … if the signatures looked like seismic signatures. They don’t. Neither of them. It would be another if they were substantially different in envelope, duration and spectral content. They aren’t. It would yet another if they were seconds or minutes apart (WAY more than likely for coincident seisms) … but they aren’t. The ‘distance’ is almost exactly that predicted by a gravitational wave propagating at “c”, at the time and distance of the event, relative to the position of the LIGO sensors, here on Ball ‘o’ Dirt.

    Point is – the increasing amplitude PLUS increasing frequency PLUS millisecond delay PLUS relaxation-of-impulse trail-off has no other reasonable explanation outside the obvious, simple, and mathematically supported one.

    GoatGuy

  26. Anthony Watts stated above …

    “Think about radio astronomy, we didn’t think stars emitted more than light less than 100 years ago, The initial detection of radio waves from an astronomical object was made in the 1933 when Karl Jansky of Bell labs observed radiation coming from the Milky Way interfering with long distance telephone communications and published his paper on it. Once we figured out how to listen to what Jansky observed, we discovered a cacaphony of radio signals and radiation signatures in the Universe.”

    Anthony, here is the part of the story you have left out, from radio astronomer, Gerrit Verschuur’s “The Invisible Universe” …

    “2.1. Caught between Two Disciplines

    In 1933 John Kraus, then at the University of Michigan, attempted to detect the sun by using a searchlight reflector to focus the radio waves. He failed because the receiver was not sensitive enough. This was the first use of a reflector-type radio telescope. At the Serendipity meeting, Kraus stated that meaningful accidental
    discovery occurs only as the result of “being in the right place with the right equipment doing the right experiment at the right time.” Another noted astronomer, R. Hanbury Brown, added that the person should “not know too much,” otherwise the discovery might not be made!

    This summarizes a very interesting phenomenon. Many research scientists, especially the theoretically inclined, “know” so much that their chance of making a lucky or creative discovery may be severely curtailed. If we know too much, our vision is sometimes narrowed to the point where new opportunities are not seen.
    Jansky knew a little astronomy, but not enough for it to get in his way and cause him to reject the possibility that radio waves originating in the cosmos might be real.

    Grote Reber, a professional engineer and radio ham in his spare time, was one of the few people who recognized the interesting implications of Jansky’s discovery. Reber was certainly not hampered by any astronomical prejudices about whether or not the cosmic radio waves could exist. Instead, he was interested in verifying their existence and followed up on Jansky’s work. To this end, Reber built the world’s
    first steerable radio dish antenna (Figure 2.1) in his backyard and mapped the Milky Way radiation during the period 1935–1941. Figure 2.2 shows an example of Reber’s data. He pointed out that the newfield of radio astronomy was originally caught between two disciplines. Radio engineers didn’t care where the radio waves came from, and the astronomers

    ‘. . . could not dream up any rational way by which the radio waves could be generated, and
    since they didn’t know of a process, the whole affair was (considered by them) at best a
    mistake and at worst a hoax.'”

    I do believe that the lesson you have somehow generated is very different from the lesson that radio astronomer, Gerrit Verschuur, conveys. The actual historical lesson seems to me more about the failure of expertise and “knowing too much” to actually follow the evidence where it leads. It is the fact that stories like this are so common, actually, that is the reason why I pay attention to the Electric Universe.

  27. Just watch. Vuc will find a way to match this observation with a coffee-filtered string of temperature data.

  28. Faking Data for a Good Cause
    http://www.realclearscience.com/blog/2016/01/ligos_fascinating_trial_by_fake_data.html

    “A thousand or so scientists work on LIGO. Out of this group a handful are chosen for a special mission: the injection team. They are allowed to manipulate the raw data from the LIGO instruments. They may choose to hide fake detection signals in that data without telling anyone else. The rest of the project operates entirely in the dark. Unaware, the whole collaboration may find the signal and believe that they are on the verge of a scientific breakthrough that will earn them a Nobel Prize. They may also realize that the detection is a fake or else fail to catch it at all.” —> Why actually it was done?

    “The fake is introduced in a particularly smart way: the injection team is allowed to directly wiggle the mirrors in the detector to imitate the movement caused by a true gravity wave flowing through the detector. Hence, the only way to know if a signal really came from black holes smashing together millions of light years away is to finish an entire scientific study of the event and then ask the injection team to reveal whether the data was faked.” —-> The fake was done on analog level through actuators moving mirrors. Thus virtually undetectable if there was no record of commands sent to actuators preserved. Keep in mind they know how “true” gravity wave looks like. After all they have GRT models, right?

    “When a potential gravitational wave signal was detected on the instrument in September of 2010, the entire LIGO team went to work. Through six months of late nights, they looked at every last detail and wrote up scientific reports of their finding. When the paper was complete, a mass vote was held to decide whether to submit that paper to the eager scientific journals of the world. The vote was a unanimous yes. Dramatically, the team responsible for injecting events dramatically opened an envelope to reveal whether the event was real or an injected fake.” —->They were ready to publish! The whole team!

    Can we be certain that 2015 discovery was not fake data injection? Was the team under pressure? They discovery came 5 months after $200 million upgrade of the detection system. Could they make available the paper written in 2011 based on 2010 fake injection. How much the “true” gravity waves measured in 2010 differ from the true gravity waves measured in 2015?

  29. What I find perplexing about this event is that it lasted only 0.25 seconds. I would have thought there would have been a significant time dilation as the two objects accelerated around each other to the point of impact. However long the collision took in the frame of reference of the black holes, I would have thought it would have taken significantly longer in our frame of reference.

    Isn’t the orbital speed at the event horizon equal to the speed of light? In which case we would never see an orbiting object cross the event horizon. It would be accelerated into our infinite future.

    • “I would have thought it would have taken significantly longer in our frame of reference.”

      Exactly the question that came to my mind when I first read about their observation: Why just a quarter of a second? And why exactly when they were able to observe it? Can it be observed again and again? If not, the whole thing doesn’t qualify as a reproducible scientific experiment.

  30. Quick Gravity Question for anyone who has the info.

    The last time I looked into it the theory was that Gravity propagated at the speed of light, but that it had never been tested because Gravity Waves had never been detected. Has this detection of Gravity Waves from colliding black holes she’d any light on the theory?

    And sorry for the pun. ^¿^

    • For the umpteen million time, it was Gravitational waves detected not Gravity waves. Several links to the difference have been posted on the two threads. Just search gravitational waves vs gravity waves and read for yourself.

      • gravity waves
        ============
        “gravity waves” are a corruption of the English language. The term means a wave in gravity, just like “ocean waves” means waves in the ocean.

        The correct term is something like “gravity assisted waves”, because ocean waves are not simply the result of gravity, they also require the wind.

        a whole lot of processes on earth are gravity assisted. consider the flow of a river and the resultant meander and sedimentation. or rocks rolling down from the top of a mountain collecting at the bottom. these are gravity flows just as much as atmospheric and ocean processes are gravity waves. but gravity is only part of the story.

        gravity waves, gravity flows. this sounds like the pompous language of PhD’s, designed to impress more than explain, and in the process hides the true nature of the process involved.

      • Well ocean gravity waves are just that; waves in the ocean surface (depth) due to vertical (radial) disturbances of the surface. The key point is that the water particle restoring force is gravity; the weight of the displaced water; and that gravity restoring force is CONSTANT and independent of the amplitude of the wave.

        BUT water surfaces that are disturbed from flat, are also affected by surface tension, and the surface tension restoring force is not independent of displacement. Now it is independent of the surface area stretch, but that does not linearly relate to the vertical wave height displacement.

        One of those kinds of waves is non dispersive, and the other is dispersive (velocity changes with frequency). I don’t remember which is which. But as a result, the waves travel at a different speed depending on water depth, and the higher frequencies go faster in shallower water.

        So when waves come in towards a beach, and the water gets shallower, the high frequencies go faster, so water runs up to the leading edge of the wave, turning it from near sinusoidal to near saw tooth, until the front of the wave actually tips over itself as the wave breaks on the beach.

        So some kinds of water waves are gravity waves, but not gravitational waves. Water also propagates longitudinal waves, which are a common form of sound waves. Gravity waves are transverse waves.

        G

      • I think this is a problem of timning. The term gravity wave is already in use for atmospheric phenomena. I suspect (but am not sure) that if the term had not already been in use then “gravity wave” would have been an acceptable term for these gravitational waves. Any comments DrS? Is the term “gravity wave” somehow misleading or wrong, apart form the fact that it is already used for something else?

      • Well when I went to school (high school) one of my physics instructors was a nut about waves on water. No matter what the curriculum subject was at any time in any lecture, this chap, at the drop of a hat could switch the discussion over to talking about waves on water. If you sneezed, or dropped something on the floor that made a noise, he could switch on the water waves.
        So that was 60 years ago, that he told us in great detail about gravity waves, and surface tension waves, and longitudinal waves in water.

        So I don’t care when or where modern folks first heard or used the term gravity waves nor for what purpose.

        For a long time that term has been used in connection with ocean waves.

        And no he never ever suggested that gravity was warping our minds, or the fabric of space.

        Gravity was simply providing the restoring force, that was trying to maintain the surface of the water flat to an atomic layer flatness, except with about a 4,000 mile radius of curvature.

        g

        As for the Columbia river headwaters region receiving a boatload of water, you can go down to Astoria, and watch it all go sailing by out to sea.

        Hanford is not in Oregon, but there are also some dry and arid regions out in north eastern Oregon, and that doesn’t stop the Columbia river from getting a boat load of water.

  31. It is important not to lose sight of what has been actually observed, and what is a pure conjecture. Most probably, some slight space-time ripples were observed, caused by the interaction of two galactic mass centers (NOT black holes, since black holes were never observed). This result needs multiple confirmations, though, before it could be accepted as a fact.

    Similarly, a single observation of the Higgs’ boson cannot be accepted as a fact before this experimental result is reproduced many times within several different facilities.

    In my opinion, the most fundamental observation is that all that sensitive instrumentation, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, did NOT register any space-time ripples that should, allegedly, be caused by the so-called “Big Bang” event. Nothing, zilch, nada. this negative experimental result confirms a theory proposed by Hoyle, Arp, and Narlikar.

    The rest is annoying hype and pep-talk.

  32. Just a question :
    I assume that two sets of instruments at both locations are identical, and produce identical response to any disturbance to the optics. That is what engineering adjustments and tests should have insured.
    The Gravitational Wave has travelled billion+ light years distance, so its impact on both Hanford and Livingston (should not have change across light milliseconds distance).
    Raw signal should be almost identical at both locations and yet it is not. As the graph shows it is not just meter of the local noise, either system is not setup correctly or it could be that signal origin is far more localised, e.g. of solar origin and intensity is function of the location – sun direction angle at the time of the impact etc.

    • Since orientation of the equipment at location is different Livingston signal has to be inverted and delayed

      coincidence is good, but Hanford peaks are up to 20% stronger.

      • And finally
        It appears that Livingston signal continues with some oscillations post event, or either has high level noise preceding and following the event. It is assumed that there are no oscillations post event then the useful section of data (outlined in red, period with signal higher than the post-event noise) is indeed very limited

        I think for a high degree of certainty one more event might nail it down.

      • coincidence is good
        ==============
        the signal is not a whole lot stronger than the noise level. I’d like to see how often such peaks or larger occur without being correlated, because if such peaks are common then eventually two will coincide by chance.

      • Hanford peaks are up to 20% stronger
        ======================
        given that the wave propagates in the orbital plane, Hanford must have been considerably closer to the event.

      • Hi ferdberple
        Despite coincidence being good, noise is a problem worth looking into, correlation during the period of critical 50 msec and the spectral composition are both rather weak, .
        It could have been what they say, but equally could have been something else.
        My view on the collision of two black holes is for time being reserved, but if you happen to see one coming
        get the hell out of their way.

      • No, it is wrong to conclude that it “equally could have been something else”.
        Your argument is like “I bought a lottery ticket and lost, but I could equally well have won”.

      • Mr Sable, if you are still around,
        Before applying filtering indiscriminately, consideration has to be given to what is eliminated and what is left in.
        If you are interested in comparison of the filtered signals it is clearly displayed in the article (second image) and I don’t think I could improve on that,
        If you read paper carefully, calculations show that incoming oscillations are low frequency from few Hz progressively increasing towards the kHz range, reaching crescendo and then instantly ceasing, after that point only noise present. However if you look at the top panel you would see that the post event has considerable presence of frequencies that fall into the range of incoming signal’s frequencies.
        Filtering of one of the signals you can see here, with the filter transfer function given:
        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/02/17/the-detection-of-gravitational-waves-a-triumph-of-science-enabled-by-fossil-fuels/#comment-2147587
        and as you can see there is considerable post event left over, which if noise, nothing has been achieved by filtering, if part of the incoming signal it invalidates the paper.
        As I have already stated time coincidence of two signals is good, save for the amplitude differences, so filtering would achieve nothing in that respect.
        In this specific case comparing two non-filtered signals is a correct way, and I am sorry to say despite any expertise you might have, in this case you are plainly wrong.
        In addition calculating correlation of two filtered signals leads to a wrong conclusions.

        Just talking from the sidelines and doing nothing to contribute to the understanding of the signal, may impress casual observers, but if you wish to make an impact, why not put your money on the table, filter the whole length of at least one of the signals, and than explain the filter’s leftovers post the event.
        If it is noise, nothing has been achieved by filtering; if it is the signal it invalidates whole of the LIGO experiment.
        I’m looking forward to see your result and your interpretation of it.

      • Peter Sable: “Comparing two signals in the time domain, with the noise not filtered out. Good grief.”

        Good grief, no sign of Mr. Sable, quick on criticising slow on results.

      • I’ve stopped talking about ” Gravitational Waves ” so I don’t really care if such things exist or not.

        BUT ! I have suddenly gotten really interested in what, for the want of a better term, I am going to call ” Einstein Waves ” , or ” Einsteinian Waves ”

        Einstein Waves, are a completely hypothetical theoretical kind of wave disturbance, that falls out of the completely fictitious mathematical manipulation of the equally fictitious Einstein theoretical MODEL that he concocted a hundred years ago, and gave the goofy name of ” General Theory of Relativity ” to.

        So it just so happens that the way he described his “General Relativity”, he was able to concoct out of thin air, a notion of a wave disturbance in some who knows what entity that was a part of his fictitious model that he called general relativity.

        Well a lot of people started spending a lot of time dabbling with this new math of Einstein waves, largely because they didn’t have anything better to do.

        So it got to where these chaps lost sight of the fact that Einstein waves are just fictional things that came out of applying fictional mathematics to Einstein’s silly idea of general relativity. Presumably this means more or less, that ” generally, this is related to, or relative to that. ” Whoopey, who would have guessed that this is related to that.

        So these chaps eventually started to imagine that Einstein waves were actually real things; total lunacy if you ask me.

        And they started spending a whole lot of money trying to build a machine to listen to Einstein waves and find out if they liked the music.

        Well it’s like as if you spend a whole lot of money trying to squish hydrogen atoms into helium atoms thinking you can actually make energy that way.

        So naturally this contraption they built didn’t find anything at all, well other than earthquakes, and trucks roaring by and stuff like that. For 20 years they played with this thing (gotta feed the family somehow), and they never heard hide nor hair of any Einstein waves, but still they kept at it, and adding more bells and whistles to their white elephant machine.

        Finally, just last year, they actually heard a noise that sounded just like what an Einstein wave was supposed to sound like (in certain circumstances)

        And their buddies over in a different part of the country, who also had one of these gizmos, they called over and said they heard the same noise.

        Only it wasn’t quite the same noise, but then they realized; well the earth curves over a 3,000 km distance, so even though both of these contraptions were built flat on the ground, because they are on a sphere, they are not actually co-planar in 3-D space, and so the Einsein waves floating around, if there was any such thing, would come at each machine from a different direction, so they wouldn’t ever expect to get exactly the same noise, but they would be related to each other, and they might not both hear the noise at exactly the same time, if it took time for Einstein waves, or whatever the racket was, to get from one place to the other.

        So both of these fellows seem to have heard the same disturbance; whatever the heck it was, but what they heard seems to be exactly what those idle mathematicians said that an Einstein wave should look and sound like.

        Now I can’t see or hear or feel Einstein waves, but if you believe what these folks say they heard with their contraptions, evidently something does exist, that behaves exactly like what Einstein said an Einstein wave should do under similar circumstances, if in fact real Einstein waves existed.

        Well I have no idea just what would cause that to happen, but evidently these folks heard/saw/ measured/whatever, something that behaves exactly like what an Einstein wave would sound/look/whatever like if such things even exist.

        Maybe one day, we’ll understand what causes these noises, and we’ll start to call them something else as we get to know them better. But in the meantime, well we might as well stick with the name Einstein waves, because what they have found; and they have found something, behaves for all the world just like Einstein waves, that of course he made up in his head from his generally relative theory a hundred years ago.

        G

      • Went on a holiday, missed the fun.

        I assume that two sets of instruments at both locations are identical, and produce identical response to any disturbance to the optics. That is what engineering adjustments and tests should have insured.

        Your assumption is incorrect. The two detectors aren’t identical. The Livingston detector has a significant noise spike at ~180Hz and ~400 Hz and Hanford does not (Figure 1). The Hanford detector has a significant noise spike at ~1500Hz and ~1900Hz, the Livingston detector does not.

        I think it’d be more accurate to do a 2D correlation calculation on the spectogram (Figure 10). A time domain correlation calculation doesn’t make sense for a shifting signal in a noisy system where the spectrums of the noise are different.

        Source: https://dcc.ligo.org/public/0122/P1500238/022/P1500238_GW150914_noise_characterization.pdf

        Peter

  33. Me, I’m a skeptic.

    With billions and billions of stars out there, there also are billions of years of possible dates for interactions of relatively rare black holes. I expect that the odds of them turning on their machine and immediately just happening to observe the moment when two black holes became one are… astronomical.

    I’d like some follow up which checks to see if this is a case of confirmation bias.

    • Think of it as a near sighted person putting on glasses for the first time, perceiving at once what was always there, but before then, not discernible.

  34. By mid-September 2015 “the world’s largest gravitational-wave facility” completed a 5-year US$200-million overhaul at a total cost of $620 million.
    ==============
    nothing like a huge budget overrun to get results.

  35. In a scientific laboratory, ‘clean’ power means a stable voltage and a stable frequency, free of variations or spikes. When you are trying to measure relativistic contraction over a light path several km long, parts per trillion variation in frequency or amplitude are HUGE, and noise spikes are as potentially damaging as lightning strikes.

  36. I saw this link from Mile Mathis who explains it as an error of measurement:

    http://milesmathis.com/liego.pdf
    Very interesting points:
    – the measured “chirp” was very small – 0.004 the diameter of a proton – therefore in quantum area
    – the event was very far away, 1.3 billion light years -> wondering why don’t we get “chirps” from something happening a bit closer?

    “If you study the published diagrams, you find they are reporting a signal peak at around 128 Hz and a strain of 10-21. Again, that strain is so small you should find it highly curious. It puts the signal way
    down at the quantum level. ”

    Further:
    “Intuitively, you would look for atomic wobbles or quantum fluctuations at that level of size, not gravity waves or star collisions. In fact, from the strain alone we can tell that the signal isn’t caused by any motion of the mirrors as a whole: it is caused by motion within the mirrors.
    It is basically a signal of the light interacting with the electrons themselves.
    Since the frequency is 128 Hz at .42 seconds, that is a frequency of about 300 at one second, and that corresponds to a wavelength of about 10**6 meters.
    Well, how long is the antenna? Oh, that’s right, it’s around 10**4 meters (the light has to travel up and back, so the length is doubled). We may then assume the effective wavelength of the electrons inside the mirrors is something around 10**2 m, which, when multiplied by the wavelength of the tunnel, gives us a resonance on the order of 300 Hz.

  37. “That part of Washington and Oregon gets a boatload of rain.”

    It is semi-arid getting about 9”/year. This is the nevergreen part of the evergreen state.

    The Hanford Reservation is far from barren, it is surrounded by very productive farmland. It is not farmed because the government took it away from the farmers to make make nuclear weapons during WWII. Because of it defense status, the Hanford Reach is the last free flowing part of Columbia River. Great canoe trip.

    Also on the Hanford reservation is the Columbia Generating station. When I worked there is was called WNP-2. EnergyNorthwest used to be called woops (WPPSS). Nearby is Priest Rapids, Ice Harbor, McNary Dams. Navigable from Hanford, Idaho to the Pacific.

    “Hanford gets coal power from Oregon as well as Washington State:”

    You could say Seattle and Portland get coal power in winter but Hanford does not.
    An alternative way to look at where power comes from is what happens in a cascading blackout. There was major west coast outage in 1996. Richland and Hanford did not lose power because the nuke plant rode out the transient. Boardman could not send power because of the failure of the transmission sytem.

    There is an alternate, alternate way to look at it. All the power plants are running full bore except Boardman. LIGO demand power and Boardman supplies it.

    My point is avoid wild leaps of logic about distant places least you sound like the warmist.

  38. I assume that by now everyone has moved along, but I’ll post this just in case
    Among LIGO data there is a column marked ‘cwb’, but in the paper there is no mention of it or explanation what it is suppose to represent.
    If anyone knows what it might be it should help understand its graphic representation

    I have added red ‘arcs of a circle’ to emphasise rise and fall of this particular ‘signal’ before and after the event.
    Whatever ‘cwb’ data represent, if anything, it is doubtful that it is directly related to collision of two black holes.

    • Vuc,

      I don’t know what the signals represent in terms of Einstein General Relativity, but from all that I have seen in print, including here at WUWT, I get the idea that mathematical theorists have calculated what sort of Einstein waves should be emitted when two black holes collide; IF Einsten is correct.

      Now I can imagine two massive objects attracting each other and spiraling towards each other, to eventually collide, and coalesce. Just in a Newtonian universe that seems like a plausible event, that even I could calculate given some time to brush up on stuff long forgotten.

      In any case, these teams knew what they were looking for as one type of event, and they knew that it would be distinguishable from a neutron star/black hole collision, or a NS/NS collision.

      But the important point is that for a BH/BH collision, they knew what signal to look for, if Einstein is correct, and objects of suitable masses happened to oblige.

      I DID pick up a word in the paper, that nobody else has mentioned here that is an important clue:

      ” Matched Filtering ”

      In several places in the paper they say they did matched filtering.

      What is matched filtering ?? Well if you are searching for a signal buried in noise, and you know exactly what the signal is supposed to (as they do here) then there is one unique filter that will maximize the signal to noise ratio for THAT SIGNAL, and that filter is the matched filter. It is matched to the KNOWN incoming signal shape.

      Now the signals shown in the paper, and in your graphs, look surprisingly like the KNOWN signals that are/were transmitted in the LORAN-C/D navigation system. They are NOT the same, but the are quite alike.

      In the Loran-C navigation system, the transmitted signals from land based vertical polarized antennas, have a carrier frequency of 100 KHz, atomic clock referenced. They transmit a series of amplitude modulated pulses of the 100 KHz carrier. So it is NOT frequency chirped, like the two black holes speeding up their spiral.
      The amplitude modulated envelope of the loran signal is exactly specified by an exponential function, (I’ll try to find it). It is a rapidly rising front edge, with a longer tail decay. Looks quite like these signals but reversed in time.
      The loran system sends a group of eight pulses at one millisecond spacing (there might be a ninth pulse at a different spacing. They have two versions of the 100 KHz carrier 180 degrees out of phase. Some pulses send the + phase, and some send the – phase, and they form a code pattern. The codes are different for different loran stations. And all of the pulses in any loran network are all locked to an atomic clock, so it is accurately known WHEN the pulses are sent.

      So the receiver is only turned on to listen WHEN the known pulse is expected to arrive, and the received signal is filtered by a matched filter, that is matched to the known loran pulse shape.

      So you are only integrating random noise for the time that you are listening for the pulse, and the receiver is silent between pulses. Well the acquisition problem is to search systematically in time for the known signal that is buried in the noise. The carrier phase encoding helps search for a specific station. Well no need to go through the whole loran strategy; the point is that very efficient noise elimination filtering can be done IF you know the expected shaope of the signal you are looking for.

      I used to belong to an organization called “The Wild Goose Association”, which is a bunch of Navigation system geeks, of which I was one, at the time, working on a receiver for the ” OMEGA” global navigation system. Loran-C is a local networks system; Great Lakes, Pacific Coast, Mediterranean etc. Well we all prayed to the Navigating Goose as it migrated.

      So the key thing is that the mathematicians who DO understand the math of Einstein waves, if they exist as he theorized, Can predict what a candidate even signal should be so they can program a matched filter (probably all digital) for such a signal.

      So people shouldn’t be suspicious that they are salting the mine, by having calculated the expected signal. That is the good news, that they can use the a priori information to aid in the detection.

      The Loran-C wavelength is 3,000 meters, and it is commonly picked up by a short antenna, namely an eight foot long vertical whip. It’s nowhere near an efficient dipole, but you do have a ground reflection image as well. It is entirely a ground wave signal, hence the 100 KHz, but you can listen for a sky wave, which would be ionospherically corrupted, but might be easy to find early in the lock on phase.

      So I don’t know what all other noise elimination schemery they are using to squish the noise, but that matched filtering mention, is just not some idle chatter; I is important.

      G

      • After reading up a bit on the ‘matched filtering’ I can see point you are making.
        In your and your friends example (same for radar and x-ray) frequencies to set up filter for are known in advance.
        Since I assume that the spin rate of two near-colliding BHs will depend of the masses involved, and the timing of the event incoming signal parameters are not known in advance, here the selection of the filter’s frequencies has to be after the event

  39. Since this thread has somewhat moved off the fossil fuels use topic….

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

  40. In January 2015, There were a few articles in the press that the detection of the pulses was a result of an “injected” signal used to simulate the response to an event so that the researchers could evaluate the system response. There was some question as to whether the signals in question were real or simulations.

    At what point in the system was the signal “injected” and what was the wave form of the simulated signal? I presume that the LIGO folks did not generate a disturbance in gravity, rather it was introduced after the interferometer and before the signal processing.

    I would like to see what that wave form looked like and how it compared with the “modeling” and the Sept 15th pulse or chirp. What quality control procedures does LIGO have in place such to assuage the speculations that the signal was an errant simulation? Presumably they have a log of the testing regime, and hard lock-outs to prevent tampering and mistakes?

    Here is a quote frpme the article:

    “However, we must regard this with caution at the moment. In the past, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (Ligo) management team has “injected” signals into the data to check whether the team can actually recognise them. The most recent of these “blind injections” occurred in 2010.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/science/across-the-universe/2016/jan/12/gravitational-wave-detection-could-be-a-false-alarm

    So, what did the simulation data set look like? How different or similar is it compared with the model and the real signal?

    • “The fake is introduced in a particularly smart way: the injection team is allowed to directly wiggle the mirrors in the detector to imitate the movement caused by a true gravity wave flowing through the detector. Hence, the only way to know if a signal really came from black holes smashing together millions of light years away is to finish an entire scientific study of the event and then ask the injection team to reveal whether the data was faked.
      …….
      When a potential gravitational wave signal was detected on the instrument in September of 2010, the entire LIGO team went to work. Through six months of late nights, they looked at every last detail and wrote up scientific reports of their finding. When the paper was complete, a mass vote was held to decide whether to submit that paper to the eager scientific journals of the world. The vote was a unanimous yes. Dramatically, the team responsible for injecting events dramatically opened an envelope to reveal whether the event was real or an injected fake.”

      • Seriously? So it is possible and it is practice to circumvent the entire filtering system? ! So. the mirror wiggling was done by the team with absolute knowledge of the computer models, how the mirrors would move if they encountered a real GW. Furthermore, the injection team did this at both sites. Now there are people involved, in between truth and fiction in every instance of an event. It is no wonder then that the fake pulse looked so much like the never-before-observed double black hole collision that came from a computer. Really … an envelope? Was it opened by a CPA firm at a podium? :) No bucks, no Buck Rogers.

      • Pauol,
        You have this completely backwards. The ‘injection’ procedure was instituted to check that the system works, and adds immensely to the reliability of the finding. Needless to say, no injection was performed for GW150914.

      • The gravitational waves were detected on Sept. 14, 2015 at 5:51 am Eastern Daylight Time , Washington state time would 3:51 am.
        Question is what is manning at two control rooms at this hour, is it possible that an individual (or group of individuals) with knowledge and access to injection codes and procedures, close to retirement wishing to see their name published in the scientific press after years of fruitless search for the feeble gravitational wave. Einstein himself suspected that it is so weak that it may never be detected.
        I have known of pre-retirement manipulations, to the company small but to the pension fund much larger detriment, in order to enhance individual’s retirement financial benefit.

      • Vukcevic,

        I did a little search of “Scientists fake data” and the results were so numerous and too broad to compile. (WUWT had a few of the articles already) They ranged from fake HIV vaccines, and gene therapy data lots of fake climate data, fake PhD thesis data, on and on and on. The conclusion is simple, where there are human beings, there will be deception and the motives are as numerous as the stars in the sky.

        So time will tell if there are actual gravity waves, chirps or pulses based on the preponderance of inscrutable data by objective or competitive laboratories. As I noted above, the case of the discovery accelerating expansion of the cosmos ie the fact that the data was so different from what was expected, thereby defeating the hypothesis that the data would confirm a slowing expansion, lended to its credibility.

        With people clandestinely in between truth and fiction wrt GW gives me no comfort that the machine is perfect. Too much is at stake. Especially based on the original press release published in WUWT and its tone of the “litany of saints” and the subsequent chortling of Nobel Prizes. I suppose I could list the long and sad list of scientists who lied about their data….but I doubt it will influence those who have bought-in without thoughtful pause and temperance. Here is my infavorite lie… Michael Mann’s Nature Trick.

  41. Faking Data for a Good Cause
    http://www.realclearscience.com/blog/2016/01/ligos_fascinating_trial_by_fake_data.html

    “A thousand or so scientists work on LIGO. Out of this group a handful are chosen for a special mission: the injection team. They are allowed to manipulate the raw data from the LIGO instruments. They may choose to hide fake detection signals in that data without telling anyone else. The rest of the project operates entirely in the dark. Unaware, the whole collaboration may find the signal and believe that they are on the verge of a scientific breakthrough that will earn them a Nobel Prize. They may also realize that the detection is a fake or else fail to catch it at all.” —> Why actually it was done?

    “The fake is introduced in a particularly smart way: the injection team is allowed to directly wiggle the mirrors in the detector to imitate the movement caused by a true gravity wave flowing through the detector. Hence, the only way to know if a signal really came from black holes smashing together millions of light years away is to finish an entire scientific study of the event and then ask the injection team to reveal whether the data was faked.” —-> The fake was done on analog level through actuators moving mirrors. Thus virtually undetectable if there was no record of commands sent to actuators preserved. Keep in mind they know how “true” gravity wave looks like. After all they have GRT models, right?

    “When a potential gravitational wave signal was detected on the instrument in September of 2010, the entire LIGO team went to work. Through six months of late nights, they looked at every last detail and wrote up scientific reports of their finding. When the paper was complete, a mass vote was held to decide whether to submit that paper to the eager scientific journals of the world. The vote was a unanimous yes. Dramatically, the team responsible for injecting events dramatically opened an envelope to reveal whether the event was real or an injected fake.” —->They were ready to publish! The whole team!

    Can we be certain that 2015 discovery was not fake data injection? Was the team under pressure? They discovery came 5 months after $200 million upgrade of the detection system. Could they make available the paper written in 2011 based on 2010 fake injection. How much the “true” gravity waves measured in 2010 differ from the true gravity waves measured in 2015?

    • “How much the “true” gravity waves measured in 2010 differ from the true gravity waves measured in 2015” THAT in my opinion is the true question isn’t it. From what I have seen, and it is not much, the model and the result are very similar.

      Maybe the underlying story here is that gravity pulses of sufficient magnitude to reach earth all look exactly alike and look exactly like the computer models and exactly like the injected signal.

    • “Can we be certain that 2015 discovery was not fake data injection?”

      Apparently the reason the entire LIGO collaboration is certain GW150914 was not the result of a blind injection is because they had only just begun to collect data and the blind injection software had not yet been properly set up for Engineering Run 8.

      • G,

        So they only know that the blind injection did not happen because of the absence of software update?

        I think a disciplined scientific team needs a bit better control than that. Certainty of a scientific discovery, a big one, is dependent on the absence of something that is otherwise done routinely? So if something is not done, it is not documented as not done. So there is no evidence that it was done or not done, therefore there are gravity waves that look just like the injected signal? That is twisted logic. I am waiting for a competitive lab to objectively replicate the results, as all good scientists ought.

      • How about a “Practical Joke”?

        According to Richard Muller, Prof Physics, UCBerkeley, author of “Now-Physics of Time” (2016)…


        The possibility that it was a practical joke was taken seriously by the LIGO team. I’ve been told that they worried that someone was playing a trick, and had through access or hacking artificially inserted this event on both systems.
        One reason for their concern was undoubtedly that the observed event appeared to be far more distant and far more intense and therefore far more exciting than anyone had anticipated.
        After careful study, they concluded that even a very good practical joker could not have pulled it off.
        There is an interesting historical example that is similar in nature. When Carl Anderson discovered the first positron (an anti-electron, the first form of antimatter ever observed), he was concerned that someone had inserted a mirror into his apparatus that would make an ordinary electron appear to be a positron. Here is an excerpt from my new book, Now — The Physics of Time:
        “My mentor Luis Alvarez knew Anderson and greatly admired his work. He told me about one of Anderson’s concerns that I don’t think has been previously reported. The
        1930s were an era when the practical joke was in high fashion among college students.
        Alvarez himself was proud of some pretty clever tricks he had pulled on other
        physicists, particularly on arrogant professors. So Anderson, armed with his
        first photo of an anti-electron, worried that someone had played a trick on
        him. All a jokester had to do was insert an extra mirror in front of Anderson’s
        automated camera, and an electron would have appeared to curve the opposite
        way. So, he carefully reexamined the photo and compared it with the apparatus,
        but he concluded that the photo was indeed legitimate. He published, and
        history was made.”
        Anderson was awarded a Nobel Prize for his discovery.

      • No fake injection, no practical joke. Perhaps we should be somewhat grateful to eliminate the possibility of blind injection, no doubt it saved them some time, and it saves us the speculation.
        From what I have read, there may be good reason why the gravitational wave detected and the predicted waveform look so similar: robust modeling. Researchers from several countries contributed to advancing the BBH models from the more ‘simple’ signals to what was needed to accurately describe binary black hole mergers.
        With their attention to detail, they seemed to have ruled out any other reasonable explanation. But I’m always open to suggestions. Personally, while awaiting further data, I’ll remain cautiously optimistic and lean towards the likelihood that decades of hard work, ~1000 collaborators, and some rather inspired engineering, has resulted in the direct experimental observation of gravitational waves.

  42. Love the analogy Dr Ratcliffe produces, because it makes things clear to the Hoi-Polloi: – Measure the distance between Sol and the nearest star. Say 40 million million kilometers. Now, create an incredibly accurate measuring device that will determine when this distance has varied by the width of a human hair.

  43. LA Time Feb 26th..

    quote:

    The LIGO researchers even worried that a member of their own team had faked it.

    “They decided it would have to be somebody who really understood the instrument well enough and the data well enough,” Harrison said. “And they found all such people and interviewed them and determined that in fact nobody had any motivation to do this. So they thought of everything to really vet that this was real.”

    http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-gravitational-waves-ligo-history-20160222-story.html

    “nobody had any motivation to do this”… sure a Nobel Prize and a big pay check wouldn’t be a motive at all. People kill for less than that.

Comments are closed.