For the second time this year, physicists at the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational Waves Observatory (LIGO) are giddy with excitement. They’ve just confirmed the second detection of gravitational waves, ripples in the fabric of spacetime proposed by Albert Einstein a century ago. It seems we’ve officially entered the age of gravitational wave astronomy.
In February, LIGO physicists made history when they announced that a large spacetime ripple had swept across their detectors in Livingston, Louisiana and Hanford, Washington on September 14th, 2015. The ripple emanated from the final stages of two merging black holes located 1.3 billion light years away and weighing 29 and 36 solar masses, respectively.