Astronomy’s ‘Rosetta Stone’: Merging Neutron Stars Seen With Both Gravitational Waves And Light (Synopsis)

“It’s becoming clear that in a sense the cosmos provides the only laboratory where sufficiently extreme conditions are ever achieved to test new ideas on particle physics. The energies in the Big Bang were far higher than we can ever achieve on Earth. So by looking at evidence for the Big Bang, and by studying … Read more

5 questions you were too embarrassed to ask about the expanding Universe (Synopsis)

“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.” -Rachel Carson The idea that the spatial fabric of the Universe itself is expanding, and that’s what’s behind the observed relationship between redshift and distance has long been controversial, … Read more

America’s Previous Coast-To-Coast Eclipse Almost Proved Einstein Right (Synopsis)

“Astronomers are greatly disappointed when, having traveled halfway around the world to see an eclipse, clouds prevent a sight of it; and yet a sense of relief accompanies the disappointment.” –Simon Newcomb On August 21st, a total solar eclipse will travel coast-to-coast across the United States, bringing darkness during the day to portions of 14 … Read more

Ripples In Spacetime: From Einstein To LIGO And Beyond (Synopsis)

“The years of searching in the dark for a truth that one feels but cannot express, the intense desire and the alternations of confidence and misgiving until one breaks through to clarity and understanding, are only known to him who has himself experienced them.” -Albert Einstein In 2015, for the very first time, gravitational waves … Read more

How uncertain are LIGO’s first gravitational wave detections? (Synopsis)

“We hope that interested people will repeat our calculations and will make up their own minds regarding the significance of the results. It is obvious that “belief” is never an alternative to “understanding” in physics.” -J. Creswell et al. Three times now, the LIGO collaboration has produced very strong evidence that black hole pairs, from … Read more

Was It All Just Noise? Independent Analysis Casts Doubt On LIGO’s Detections (Synopsis)

“What’s really exciting is what comes next. I think we’re opening a window on the universe — a window of gravitational wave astronomy.” -Dave Reitze, executive director of LIGO It revolutionized our view of the Universe when the LIGO annoucements – and we’re up to three, now – came out. They indicated the direct detection … Read more